Sport-Specific Weight Training for Swimmers
While swimming is a good full-body exercise, it’s no substitute for weight training, which not only increases lean muscle mass, but also helps increase bone density. Hypertrophy, however, is not the ultimate goal for swimmers as putting on too much muscles might only result in added resistance once you’re in the water.
Nevertheless, through dry-land exercises in the gym, a swimmer can build his strength and stamina, which is essential for the sport. Trying to mimic specific swimming pool movements in the weight room is one of the smartest ways to go about this.
Frequency and Intensity
For beginners, it is vital to have a certified personal trainer to help you with your fitness goals. Muscle soreness is not ideal, so it is important to avoid overtraining, and stick to exercising 2-3 times per week, leaving enough time for muscles to rebuild. To gain optimal results, try not to stay longer than 30-45 minutes in the weight room and focus on lifting low weights with higher repetitions.
Analyzing the Workout
While split-body approach had been proven effective in the world of bodybuilding, Olympian swimmer Jason Lezak suggests doing supersets, which are comprised of 12 exercises that pair different muscles groups . Taking into account that there are different phases of training in swimming programs for contest preparations, he emphasized that a workout must lean on the foundations of endurance, strength, and speed improvement.
For a month of endurance training, for example, begin with 3 sets of 12 repetitions and building up to higher repetitions. In doing a workout to improve strength, start off with 3 sets of 12 repetitions and lowering the number of repetitions as the weights lifted increases. With regard to speed advancement, start high with 3 sets of 21, and gradually decrease it to 1 set of 10 repetitions while increasing the length of rest time. Rest time should be 30 seconds at the beginning and end up to 2 minutes, but still keeping the speed of 1 second per repetition. Recovery is crucial for your muscles, so you may want to consider a post-workout supplement for men to reduce muscle breakdown and enhance repair processes.
Upper Body Exercise
In freestyle swimming, a swimmer pulls their arms through the water as they move forward. With gym equipment like high pulley machines, you can recreate these movements with pull down exercises such as front pull, rear pull, lat pulldown, and swiss ball body pulls.
Equipment Used: Lat Pulldown Machine
Make sure you attach a long bar to the lat pulldown machine and hold the bar with a wide grip. Sit upright, leaning back slightly from the hips. Pull the bar in front of your face to the top of your chest and squeeze your muscles with the movement. Release the bar slowly by straightening your arms and return to the starting position
Equipment Used: High Pulley Machine
Simply kneel down on one knee to the side of the machine. Pull the handle down as you lower your arm across your body in a revolving motion until your hand is actually next to the opposite hip. Smoothly bring the bar back to the start position.
Lower Body Exercises
The leg movements swimmers perform in-pool resembles a Leg Kick, where the hamstrings and the gluteal muscles extend while the hip flexors contract the leg exactly at the hip. A few of the lower body workout that can replicate these motions are hip extension, hip flexion, and seated leg press.
Seated Leg Press
Equipment Used: Leg Press Machine
Sit down on the leg press machine and put your legs on the platform at a shoulder-width foot stance. After you lowered the safety bars, perform your starting position by pressing the platform all the way up, extending your legs completely. Then, gradually lower the platform, creating a 90-degree angle with your upper and lower legs, and repeat.
Equipment Used: Low Pulley Machine
Attach an ankle strap on your leg and stand in front of the machine. Slowly lift your leg off the floor and put your weight on your other leg. You may hold onto the machine to stabilize your movement. Extend your leg backwards as best as you can, watching your form and keeping you’re back straight. Once you are already leaning forward with a tight posture, bring back you leg into the starting position and repeat with the other leg.
Please Share Your Thoughts:
- Improve Your Bench Press: 8 Fitness Tips
- How to Build Chest Muscles: 6 Men’s Fitness Tips
- Taking creatine can help increase muscle mass when used as part of a weight-training routine
- 6 Best Weight-Lifting Tips for Men
- How to Gain Weight: 5 Muscle-Building Tips