8 Core Exercises To Improve Your Swim
Try these eight exercises one to two times per week to power through the swim leg of your next triathlon.
Bird Dog1 of 14
Why it works: builds contralateral strength and balance (opposite hip to shoulder) needed for extension and power in freestyle stroke.
1. Get down on your hands and knees. Maintain a neutral spine and keep your back flat.
Bird Dog Continued2 of 14
2. Extend your right leg straight out. Do not extend your leg above the height of your back.
3. As you extend your right leg, simultaneously raise your left arm and extend it straight out in front of you.
4. Hold for three to four seconds. Return to the starting position and repeat by extending the left leg and right arm.
5. Complete two to four sets of eight to 12 repetitions.
Wheel Rollout3 of 14
Why it works: builds trunk strength to help maintain posture in the water and prevent overreaching caused by fatigue.
1. Starting on your knees, place your hands on an abdominal wheel. Keep your head and spine in a neutral position.
Wheel Rollout Continued4 of 14
2. Roll forward. Make sure to maintain a tight core by tightening your abdominal and gluteal muscles.
3. Roll as far forward as you can while maintaining that tight core.
4. Return back to the starting position.
5. Complete two to five sets of five to 10 repetitions.
Weighted Plank5 of 14
Why it works: builds core endurance necessary for medium- to long-distance events.
1. With a partner close by, get into a plank position.
2. Have your partner place a weight on your back. Start off with 2 to 3 pounds and increase as necessary. Ankle weights are ideal.
3. Maintain a tight core throughout and hold for 15 to 45 seconds, depending on your current fitness.
4. Complete three to six sets.
Tip: To make this exercise more challenging, extend one arm in front of you.
Medicine Ball Side Throw6 of 14
Why it works: develops the oblique muscles and builds rotation strength needed for breathing strokes during freestyle.
1. Holding a 5- to 10-pound medicine ball, position yourself in an athletic stance with the knees slightly bent.
2. Bring the ball to the side of your body farthest from the wall.
Medicine Ball Side Throw Continued7 of 14
3. Using your hips for power, toss the ball against the wall as hard as you can.
4. Catch the ball off the wall and repeat the movement.
5. Complete two to four sets of five to 10 repetitions.
V-Sits8 of 14
Why it works: builds abdominal strength that will improve your power in the pull phase of the swim stroke.
1. Start in a seated position. Raise both legs up to a 45-degree angle.
2. Keep your arms straight out in front of you, reaching your hands toward your knees.
3. Hold for 10 to 30 seconds, depending on your fitness.
4. Return back to starting position and repeat three to five times.
Scissor Crunch9 of 14
Why it works: strengthens your lower back, abdominal, gluteal and leg muscles for a more powerful kick.
1. Lie on your back and extend your legs flat on the ground. Keep your hands down by your side.
2. Raise your right leg straight up toward the ceiling. Keep your left leg four to five inches off the ground.
3. With your left arm (opposite), reach for your right foot. Hold for 10 to 30 seconds.
4. Reverse your steps back to starting position. Repeat, this time raising the left leg and reaching with the right arm.
5. Complete three to five sets with each leg.
Stir the Pot10 of 14
Why it works: builds rotational strength for the exit phase of the swim stroke.
1. Begin in a modified plank position with your forearms on a stability ball and your knees on the ground.
2. Tighten your glutes and core, roll the ball slightly forward and lift your knees off the ground, leaning forward on the balls of your feet. Your position should be similar to a normal front plank but with your forearms on the stability ball. Keep your back and legs straight.
3. Rotate both forearms to the left and hold for 10 to 30 seconds.
Stir the Pot Continued11 of 14
4. Hold the position and rotate both forearms to the right. Hold for an additional 10 to 30 seconds.
5. Complete two to five sets on each side.
Kneeling Kettlebell Halos12 of 14
Why it works: builds strength in the shoulders and lats, which will improve extension and power in the water.
1. Begin in a kneeling lunge position with your right knee on a dyna disk.
2. Grab a 5-pound kettlebell and hold it upside down.
Kneeling Kettlebell Halos Continued13 of 14
3. Rotate the kettlebell around your head for six to 12 rotations before switching directions. Do your best to keep your head completely stationary.
4. Repeat with your left knee on the dyna disk.
5. Complete two to five sets.