Strength Training for Swimmers

Prone Pushup From Knees (Deltoids and Abs)

If you have shoulder problems including tendonitis, don't do this exercise. Lie on your stomach on the ball and walk your hands forward until your lower thighs and knees rest on the ball.

Your hands should be a little wider than shoulder width apart. Bend your elbows and come down to where your chest is a fist width off the floor. After 10 to 15 reps, slowly increase reps and add a second set.



Start with no weight and legs shoulder width apart. With hands out in front, come all the way down. Do 10 reps to start. Add a second set and weight (start with medicine balls) as you gain strength.

Crunches on Ball (Abdominals)

Sit on the ball and walk your feet forward until your back is supported by the ball. With your hands on your chest, flex gluteal muscles and curl up halfway. Hold one to two seconds and lower. Do 10 to 15 reps. Increase reps and add second set as strength increases.


Bonus Exercises

Pullups (biceps, triceps, abdominals, pectorals, rhomboids, lats): Start with as many as you can do, and build up to eight to 10.

Day 3: Elastic Tubing (With Handles)

Using tubing can help swimmers get into the high elbow pull position that will lead to the most efficient stroke and fastest pull possible. It also allows you to train at the actual tempo you need to swim fast. You can easily hook up elastic tubing to any stationary object at your pool, or at home.

1. Put your hands into the handles.
2. Stand far enough back so that you don't have slack in the tubing.
3. Get into a position with elbows up high, head down.
4. Make sure your fingertips point towards the ground and your wrists are straight rather than bent.
5. Pull straight back and brush your hip.
6. Recover down low, as opposed to over the water like you would in the pool.

Make sure you stop with each rep and get into position for the next pull.

You can practice with the tubing until you get tired. For many, this won't take long at all. If you are doing a tubing workout on a swim day, remember you are putting in work that day and you can give yourself a break in your yardage.

If you are struggling to get to the pool this time of year, you can even substitute a pool workout with a tubing workout. Don't do this too often, but the tubing gives you a little break from the water while still improving your technique.

Try this strength training for swimmers three days a week over the next few months and you'll be rocking your swim by spring next year.

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Kevin coaches sessions for Masters swimming and triathletes in San Diego, and conducts a variety of clinics, private lessons and video-analysis of personal swim style with critique and correction. He has helped professional Ironman triathletes reach their goal, but his passion is to give the new triathlete the confidence to be successful in the swim portion of the race. He also runs the websites and, where you can find his products, including The Essential Triathlon Swimming DVD and The Complete Guide to Triathlon Swimming.

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