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8 Exercises to Improve Your Swimming

8 Exercises to Improve Your Swimming

8 Exercises to Improve Your Swimming

Key Takeaways

    • A proper warm up can help swimmers get ready for meets and competitions while reducing their chance of injury.
    • Resistance bands are a great way to warm up for triathlons and competitions that don’t let you get in the water before the event begins.
    • Try these 4 resistance band warm up exercises and 4 strength training exercises to become a stronger swimmer!
    • Find out how to cool down and 3 ways to reduce soreness after working out, without getting in the water.

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Even though swimming isn’t a contact sport, swimmers are still at risk for injuries, especially in their shoulders. A quality warm up and proper technique can improve your health and ability. For competitions and triathlons that don’t let athletes in the water before the event begins, there is a proven way to avoid jumping into the water with your body unprepared – you can use resistance band stretches!

Not only is the resistance band a quality alternative to a water warm up, it can improve the strength of supportive muscle groups, too. Swimmers can easily develop muscle imbalance between the major muscle groups that get worked in the water and those muscle groups that do not. Giving attention to the supportive muscle groups can reduce your chance of injury and also improve your stroke mechanics.

Follow the steps to these resistance band stretches and workouts to warm up and build strength.

Warm-Up Exercises

For some of these exercises you will need a door anchor to set your band at varying heights. Using a resistance band with loops will help with specific muscle recruitment used in the swimming stroke. These exercises are meant to be part of a light warm up before your event, so they should not be too taxing. If you are feeling overly strained, move closer to the attachment point to lessen the resistance, or choose a band with a lighter resistance level.

TheraBand CLX

TheraBand CLX

CLX Door Anchor

CLX Door Anchor

Pull Down

  • Position: anchor the band at chest height. Hold the end of the band in each hand facing the anchor point with your arms extended in front of you.
  • Motion: Pull both your arms to your chest then release, extending your arms back toward the anchor. Make sure to squeeze your shoulders during this movement.
  • Time: 30 seconds, rest and repeat.

Lateral Raise

  • Position: Place your feet in the center loops of the CLX band, holding the end loops in each hand with your palms toward your body.
  • Motion: Keeping your knees slightly bent, raise your arms so that they are straight out to the side at shoulder level. Slowly lower them back down to the starting position.
  • Time: 15 seconds, rest, and repeat.

Row

  • Position: Anchor the band near the ground. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and a slight bend in your knees. Hold your arms out facing each other, in the direction of the attachment.
  • Motion: Pull your elbows back so that you feel a squeeze in your shoulder blades. Release back to your original position.
  • Time: 20 seconds, rest and repeat.

Chest Fly

  • Position: Place the CLX band behind the back at chest height. Holding a loop in each hand, extend the arms at shoulder height.
  • Motion: Slowly bring the hands to center. Make sure to squeeze the chest as you perform this movement. Return to starting position with your arms extended.
  • Time: 20 seconds, rest and repeat.

Strength Training Exercises

The goal of these next exercises is to strengthen your external rotators and scapular stabilizers. For some of these sets, a door anchor is helpful. For others you will just need a resistance band with loops. As you perform the reps, go slowly, inhaling as you pull and exhaling as you release. You can begin with three sets of ten for each exercise and increase reps and resistance as you build strength. Follow these exercises to improve your time at your next swim meet!

Bicep Curl

  • Position: Stand on the center of the CLX band with your feet hip width apart. Hold a loop in each hand near your hips with your palms facing up.
  • Motion: Bend your elbows to bring your hands towards your shoulders. Hold before returning to your starting position.
  • Time: 20 seconds, rest and repeat.

External Rotation

External Rotation

  • Position: Anchor one loop at chest height. Turn your left shoulder to face the anchor and hold one loop in your right hand, leaving your hand open. Keep your bicep close to your body and your hand in front of you with your elbow at a 90 degree angle.
  • Motion: Keeping your bicep close to your body, swing your arm away from yourself. Hold before returning to starting position. Alternate sides after each set.
  • Time: 20 seconds, rest and repeat.

Internal Rotation

  • Position: Anchor one loop at chest height. Turn your right shoulder to face the anchor and hold one loop in your right hand, leaving your hand open. Keep your bicep close to your body and your hand towards the anchor with your elbow at a 90 degree angle.
  • Motion: Keeping your bicep close to your body, swing your arm laterally towards your abdomen. Hold before returning to starting position. Alternate sides after each set.
  • Time: 20 seconds, rest and repeat.

Flaps with a Squat

  • Position: Stand on the center of the CLX band with your feet hip width apart. Hold a loop in each hand with straight arms above you head. Lower into a deep squat. This is your starting position.
  • Motion: As you rise up from a squat position, pull down so your arms are parallel to the ground, similar to a wing flapping motion. Return to starting position.
  • Time: 20 seconds, rest and repeat.

Cool Down

After a workout in the pool or on land, it is always a good idea to care for any of the muscles you worked with a massage, ice, and Biofreeze. Taking care of your body after exercise can reduce your chances of injury or soreness. Injuries are not always preventable, but being smart about your regimen can decrease your likelihood of injury and improve your swimming performance.

References 

  1. Evangelista, D. (2017, July 12). Why All Swimmers NEED To Use Resistance Bands. Retrieved June 28, 17, from https://bit.ly/2GDyvGX 
  2. Greier, D. (n.d.). Surprising statistics about swimming injuries. Retrieved March 18, 2019, from https://bit.ly/2nuQqrs
  3. McLarty, S. (2015, August 18). Warm-Up Without Water: 4 Stretch Band Exercises – Triathlete. Retrieved March 18, 2019, from https://bit.ly/2FkmiY6 

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