Even though swimming is fantastic exercise in as of itself and regular practice is the best way to become a better way to become a better swimmer, there are still ways to improve your swimming away from the pool. We’ve teamed up with our partners at Zoggs to bring you
THE IMPORTANCE OF A GOOD DRY LAND WORKOUT PROGRAMME
I snapped out of it, I’m a PT, I was a swimmer throughout my childhood and teenage years. We spent just as much time working on strength and mobility as we did in the water. I know all too well that dry land training is equally important and I’m sure many other swimmers will need a helping hand with exercising from home.
I had work to do!
Apart from being efficient in the water, swimmers require technical skill, strength, stability, endurance and mobility. We do not acquire all these traits from swimming alone. When properly applied, dry land training can improve performance as well as reduce risk of injury.
Working on our muscular strength will enable us to be more efficient, powerful swimmers.
A good dry land programme will include posterior chain exercises (think shoulders, back, glutes, hamstrings and calves). Building strength and balance in these muscle groups will help to protect us from commonly injured areas, including the shoulders and lower back.
It’s also important to maintain a streamlined position in the water and developing a strong core is crucial. We must also build strength in the legs to kick as well as support the core. To do this, we must be able to properly engage the core, glute and leg muscles to prevent the legs from sinking, which increases resistance in the water and creates drag.
RESISTANCE AND FLEXIBILITY EXERCISES TO HELP YOU STAY SWIM-READY
Another way we can improve our performance in the pool is to incorporate plyometric or explosive movements. This type of training will help us to produce explosive starts and fast turns from the wall. Training plyometrics can also help with coordination and efficiency of powerful, explosive movements which is greatly beneficial if you’re a competitive swimmer.
As swimmers we also rely heavily on good mobility and flexibility, particularly in the ankles, calves, hamstrings, hips and shoulders. Focusing on stretching and improving mobility outside of the pool will help improve performance and reduce the risk of injury.
Full body stretching and mobility routines are great for improving our performance but let’s not forget they also have excellent mental health benefits.
Stretching stimulates receptors in the nervous system that slow the production of stress hormones. Stretching reduces tension in the muscles, releases endorphins and helps to stimulate blood flow, giving us that “feel good” feeling. Something I’m sure we all really need right now!
CARDIO WORKOUTS TO HELP YOU STAY SWIM-READY
As well as strength training and mobility from home, keeping up with the cardio is also something we should be doing. I’ve swapped my pull buoy for my push bike while the gyms are closed and running is a great option too.
So instead of worrying that we’re missing out on pool time, let’s focus on the things we CAN do to stay swim fit at home.
If you need a helping hand with some ideas for at home strength and mobility routines, I’ve created a series of helpful exercise videos that can be done from home with no equipment required to help you stay swim-ready.