Get familiar with your muscles and know which ones to build up!
Close your eyes and imagine you are swimming your favourite stroke.
Now, can you name the muscles you are using during your favourite stroke? Could you point out your lats, pecs, abs and obliques on your body?
You don’t need to be an anatomist, but having a basic understanding of the functions of your joints and muscles will help you be a better swimmer in two ways. First, it will allow you to appreciate your body’s framework and stroke mechanics. Second, if you want to swim competitively, it will help you identify which muscles, in particular, to target and build upon dry land in order to swim your favourite stroke faster and more fluidly!
Did you know? The term muscle is derived from the Latin musculus meaning “little mouse”. This might be due to the shape of certain muscles or because contracting muscles look like mice moving under the skin!
For competitive swimmers, dry land exercises are essential to avoid muscle imbalances and get an edge in the pool. These exercises can be tailored to your stroke. For example, backstroke swimmers can do flutter kicks on an exercise mat to strengthen their external obliques, abs and rectus femoris. For butterfly swimmers, crunches on a physioball will work these same muscles but in a more targeted way that will improve the undulating movement in their stroke. Breastrokers, who depend on strong hips, can work out their glutes and tensor fasciae latae doing hip rotations or lateral shuffles with resistance bands. Freestyle swimmers might want to do dumbbell shoulder presses to work their deltoids and pecs.
Did you know? There are about 700 muscles in the body!
There are hundreds of exercises designed to isolate and work each muscle.
If you want to start incorporating a dry land workout into your swim training, a good place to start looking for resources is online. Ask your swimmer friends what – if any – workout routine they have and find a gym buddy. If you are recovering from injury, are a young swimmer or a beginner: remember to only start with exercises appropriate to your level, and to warm up and cool down properly! Don’t hesitate to contact us for more tips and workout ideas.
If you are daunted by doing dry land workouts, you can instead begin by getting an awareness of your muscles and their different functions to get you in tune with your body!
And finally, if you need more inspiration to start dry land workouts, check out our video below where we explain why and how swimmers massively benefit from these exercises!
Did you know? A stitch is a build-up of lactic acid in the muscle, caused by eating or drinking a bit too much and too quickly. To avoid stitches during exercise, don’t gulp down water all at once: take sips from your drink instead.
Thanks for reading! We would love to hear your feedback, please leave any questions and comments below.