Swimming Strength Training Considerations – by Nicolai Morris

Swimming Strength Training Considerations

Swimming has long accepted dry land as part of a regular training schedule, but more often than not it is based purely on body weight training. Whilst body weight training is still great, swimmers should also incorporate strength training to get the best out of their performance.

Strength training can improve muscular balance, coordination and proprioception as well as decreasing injury risk through more resilient joints and muscles. It also can develop power, stability and explosiveness to maximise your potential in the water. Most importantly, it can improve your swimming performance. The biggest gains are made through starts and turns as the increased power in your legs allows you to increase efficiency and maximise your technical ability.

Some of the most common exercises used by swimmers include:

  • Squats
  • Hinging (deadlifts, RDL’s, Good Mornings)
  • Chin Ups/Lat Pull Downs
  • Plyometrics (jumping exercises)
  • Core Strength (see upcoming blog on core strength)

Position in turns is the same as in a squat

Some other considerations when deciding to incorporate strength training into your program is to make sure you have a qualified coach (strength and conditioning, exercise scientist, exercise physiologists and some personal trainers). The coach does not have to have a history in competitive swimming but an understanding of what is involved and the differences between coaching land based and water based sports. They do however, have to be willing to learn, willing to listen, focused on good movement and be appropriately educated. A strength program should be properly periodised so you can adapt to the training, be warned those programs that change every session, and are only intended to flog you will not help you in the long run.

For any questions on strength training for swimming or inquiries about online training programs, please email me at nicolai.morris@uqconnect.edu.au. Happy training!

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