This article will illustrate some dryland exercises that might be recommended but should actually be avoided at all costs by swimmers. In contrast, try the exercises we recommend which are specifically for swimming.
When it comes to swimming, it is crucially important, for example, to focus specifically on technique or, more precisely, on your race pace. This concept also translates out of the water where your workouts should also be specifically designed to achieve a certain level of performance or strengthen the muscles required for a particular swim stroke.
Nevertheless, some trainers, particularly those who do not have a background in swimming, advise swimmers to perform exercises borrowed from other sports that can often cause more damage than they are worth. This article will illustrate some exercises that might be recommended but should actually be avoided at all costs by swimmers. In contrast, try the exercises we recommend which are specifically for swimming.
The first exercise to avoid are so-called BENCH DIPS. You will definitely find this exercise in most gym workouts, but it is a dangerous exercise for swimmers. The starting position is with your arms extended behind you resting on a bench with your glutes raised off the floor and legs extended. The exercise is then performed by bending your arms and engaging first your shoulders and then your triceps until your glutes almost touch the floor.
The problem with this exercise is that your rotator cuff is over-strained during the downwards motion which can result in injuries, particularly if the exercise is performed incorrectly.
So, what is the right exercise for your triceps for all four swim strokes? TRICEPS KICKBACKS WITH A RESISTANCE BAND.
Place a resistance band beneath one of your feet and grasp it with one hand. Bend forward at the waist until your upper body is almost horizontal to the floor and bend your knees slightly. Starting with one arm perpendicular to the floor with the resistance band tight, extend your arms backwards until they reach shoulder height. After completing this movement, return to your start position. Perform this exercise for both sides of the body.
This exercise is specifically designed to strengthen your triceps and will help strengthen the coalface of your swim stroke.
The second exercise are LEG RAISES LYING ON THE FLOOR. This is another popular exercise in the gym, but it can cause injuries. Performed incorrectly, you can damage your lower back or abs.
You can get better and more targeted results performing PLANKS. Resting on your elbows and toes with your body parallel to the floor, make sure your head is facing forwards. You can also perform lateral planks by twisting your body so your shoulders are perpendicular to the floor, balancing on your elbow and the outside of your foot.
This exercise will teach you how to use your abs, which is so important for proper posture when swimming all four strokes or diving in.
The final exercise to be avoided are DEAD LIFTS. They can be particularly harmful when performed using heavy weights. They should be avoided because, if performed incorrectly at an early age, they can cause serious damage to your gluteus maximus and hamstrings.
LUNGES are a safer option. Starting in a standing position, take a step forwards and bend your knee until your thigh is parallel to the floor. Make sure your rear knee is not touching the floor. After completing the movement, straighten your bent leg and return to a standing position.
This exercise works on all the main muscles in your lower body and will help improve your leg kick, dive and tumble turn.