Pump Iron Out of the Pool to Get Strong and Lean

Weight training is an important part to swimming success

Weight training is a vital part of any swimmer's conditioning, and while the notion of spending valuable free time away from the pool and in the weight room is a disconcerting one for serious pool junkies, it is nevertheless essential in building strength and preventing injury.

Weight training is also a good way to prevent pool burnout and maintain a well-rounded athletic base.

Weight training needs to be practiced in moderation, and I suggest no more than three weight workouts a week. It is also preferable to have access to a pool immediately after your workout, so you can loosen up with a few hundred meters and offset lactic-acid buildup and muscle tightness.

Weights can be started by swimmers in their early teens, and continued throughout most of their adult life. The basic outline for my suggested weight workout can be adapted by swimmers of any age and level of skill. The only variant is the amount of weight and the number of repetitions per set.

Swimmers need to be strong yet lean, powerful yet not bulky. Achieving this delicate balance takes precision and discipline in the weight room, and the workout below will help you achieve the strength you will need to maximize your swimming ability. The workout is designed to be done in about an hour, with little rest between sets, so get ready to sweat and enjoy the benefits of a cardiovascular workout and a weight workout rolled into one!

Warm-up: Dumbells

Start with a comfortable weight, ranging from 10 to 20 pounds, and build up slowly to your threshold weight; you should not exceed 30 pounds regardless of your strength capabilities, as that would mean you are probably too bulky for your own swimming good.

  • 11 reps, alternate bicep curls.
  • 11 reps, dual overhead extensions
  • 11 reps, tricep extensions
  • 11 reps, bench press (again, pick a weight you can comfortably repeat 11 times)

Do the above circuit three times through.

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