Perform more “explosively”

Training & Technique
Written by: arena coaches at 24 March '15 0
You are reading: Perform more “explosively”

How long do you spend at the gym each week?

If you are a competitive swimmer, gym work is a vital part of your training plan, but if you are a master’s swimmer, amateur or triathlete, the time you spend at the gym is time taken away from other activities.

Choosing the right training plan could help you save time through shorter but more effective training sessions. A balanced training plan can increase your strength and power without any noticeable increases in body mass. This will not only improve your performance, it will also help prevent injuries.

We all know that it is not easy to find time to devote to gym work in addition to training sessions in the pool (or out running and on the bike!). Nevertheless, the right kind of strength work – more precisely explosive strength – will allow you to make enormous improvements while investing only a small amount of time and without feeling exhausted.

The key is to concentrate on quality without focusing too much on quantity and without over-exerting.

The conventional approach to gym work is to perform between 1-3 sets x 6-10 reps “to exhaustion” (i.e. until you cannot do even one or more rep) working most muscle groups.

This method certainly produces results, but it also causes considerable neurological and muscular fatigue, so it is not really ideal for those athletes who need to be in good shape for their training sessions over the next few days (like, for example, triathletes).

A better method for non-competitive swimmers and triathletes is based around explosive strength or, in other words, exercises carried out against a resistance (dumbbells or bars) performing the movements as quickly as possible. Explosive muscle contraction will help increase your strength. In this case you will only perform 1 or 2 sets of a small number of reps (from 3-5) using a weight you can handle without reaching exhaustion point, so about 70%-80% of your maximum.

You will notice your strength increase within just a few weeks, without feeling over-exerted and spending less time at the gym.

In conclusion, strength training is vital for improving your performance, so remember:

  • Use lighter weights. This will improve the speed of your movements and, hence, your muscle contraction rate, increasing your strength.
  • Reduce the number of reps in each set by approximately 30% compared to conventional training.
  • Perform one or two sets for each body part and focus on the most important muscle groups.

If you would like to find out more, keep following us, because we will be looking even more closely into this fascinating world in forthcoming articles.


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arena coaches

Swim coaches, trainers and experts will give you all kinds of tips for performing at your best in both training and races.