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"Swimming and Strength Training: A Comprehensive Guide for Swimmers"

Updated: Jan 23, 2023

Introduction

As a swimmer, incorporating strength training into your routine is crucial for improving power, speed, and endurance in the water, as well as reducing the risk of injury. That's why "strength & conditioning" is so important for swimmers. In this guide, we will take a closer look at the different types of "strength training" exercises that can be incorporated into a swimmer's routine, as well as tips for creating a safe and effective program.


Importance of Warming Up and Cooling Down

First and foremost, it's important to remember the importance of warming up and cooling down before and after strength training. A proper warm-up should include dynamic stretchings, such as leg swings and arm circles, as well as a light cardio workout to increase blood flow and raise muscle temperature and activation exercises to optimise the muscle groups needed for swimming. Cooling down after a workout can include static stretchings, such as hamstring and quad stretches, to reduce muscle soreness and improve flexibility. Check out these videos we did with SwimClan for examples: https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLePWlTtr6GoTG92tMgI6bnP8d2EBRxFOT

Dryland Exercises for Swimmers

"Dryland exercises" are a great way for swimmers to target the same muscle groups used in swimming and improve power, speed, and endurance. These exercises can include lunges, squats, and push-ups. When performing dryland exercises, it's important to maintain proper form and technique to prevent injury and ensure that the exercises are effective. Check you these videos for great examples: https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLGxa5EkmkAoNFsLzOTFQO64Pkk3nlbmd1


Swimming-Specific Exercises

"Swimming-specific exercises" are also essential for swimmers. These exercises target the muscle groups used in swimming and help to improve power, speed, and endurance in the water. Examples include pull-ups, med ball slams, jumping and resistance band exercises. These exercises can help to improve the swimmer's technique, as well as their strength and endurance. It's important to note that these exercises are not meant to mimic the movements of swimming but to target the muscle groups used in swimming and help to improve power, speed, and endurance in the water. This is done using our 3-step streamlined process of:

1. General Force Generation

2. General Specific strength

3. Specific Swimming Training Head to this video to hear an example of this concept: https://youtube.com/shorts/8h4Y62e_sTc?feature=share


Cardio and Endurance Training

Cardio and endurance training is also an important part of a swimmer's "strength training" routine. Running, cycling, and stair stepping are all great exercises for building cardiovascular fitness and endurance.


Strength Training Circuit

Creating a "strength training circuit" is a great way to incorporate a variety of exercises into a workout. A strength training circuit can include a combination of dryland exercises, swimming-specific exercises, and cardio and endurance exercises. It's important to pace and rests properly during a strength training circuit to ensure that the exercises are effective and to prevent injury.


Frequency and Duration of Strength Training

Frequency and Duration of Strength Training: Strength training for swimmers should be done 2-3 times a week, with at least one day of rest between sessions. Each session should last between 45 minutes to an hour. It's important to keep in mind that everyone has different needs and goals, so the frequency and duration of the strength training program should be tailored to the individual's needs. Want to understand why it's so important? Check out this video: https://youtube.com/shorts/Ey2lWjDCXAA?feature=share


Progression of a Strength Training Program

Progression of a Strength Training Program: As a swimmer's fitness level improves, the intensity and difficulty of exercises should be gradually increased. This can be done by increasing the weight used, the number of repetitions, or the difficulty of the exercises. Progression is key to achieving results and avoiding plateaus in the strength training program. Looking for a quick video to explain this? Check this out: https://youtube.com/shorts/_4HQHyjrpcQ?feature=share


Recovery and Rest

Recovery and Rest: Recovery is an essential part of a strength training program. It's important to allow time for the muscles to repair and rebuild after a workout. This can be done by improving sleep, nutrition, hydration practices and including rest days in the strength training schedule and by incorporating recovery techniques such as foam rolling, stretching, and massage. Check out this in-depth video explaining how to implement a 3-step recovery program in your everyday training! FSC Recovery Manual


Nutrition and Hydration

Nutrition and Hydration: Proper nutrition and hydration are essential for a swimmer's strength training program. Eating a balanced diet and staying hydrated can help to fuel the body before, during, and after strength training. It's important to eat a mix of carbohydrates, proteins, and healthy fats before and after a workout, and to stay hydrated throughout the day. Want to gain a deeper understanding of this? Check this out: https://youtu.be/HmE0aGoF9j4


Monitoring Progress

Monitoring Progress: Monitoring progress is an important part of a strength training program. It's important to track progress and measure success by regularly tracking your weight increases, your times in the water and by regularly using objective performance testing to see your results. Keeping a training diary is also a great way to track progress and measure success. To see our performance testing hit this link! https://youtu.be/m9dUugUW3pA


Injuries and Challenges

Injuries and Challenges: Strength training can come with its own set of injuries and challenges. It's important to be aware of these risks and take steps to avoid or prevent them. Common injuries include strains and sprains, overuse injuries, and tendonitis. To prevent injuries, it's important to use proper form and technique, progress gradually and ensure you are getting adequate recovery.


Combining Strength Training with other Training

Combining Strength Training with other Training: Strength training should be combined with other aspects of a swimmer's training routine, such as technical training and endurance training. This will help to create a well-rounded and effective training program that will help the swimmer to improve power, speed, and endurance in the water.


Conclusion

In conclusion, strength training is an essential part of a swimmer's routine. Incorporating dryland exercises, swimming-specific exercises, and cardio and endurance exercises into a strength training program can help to create a well-rounded and effective workout. Always remember to consult with a coach or trainer before starting a new strength training program, and to make strength and conditioning a regular part of your training routine. Remember to keep an eye on your progress, recover and rest properly, eat a balanced diet and stay hydrated, and take measures to prevent injuries.


Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. How often should I do strength training as a swimmer?

  2. What are some examples of dryland exercises for swimmers?

  3. What are some examples of swimming-specific exercises?

  4. What is the importance of warming up and cooling down before and after strength training?

  5. How can I progress my strength training program?

  6. How can I recover and rest properly after strength training?

  7. What should I eat before and after strength training?

  8. How can I monitor my progress during strength training?

  9. What are some common injuries associated with strength training and how can I prevent them?

  10. How can I combine strength training with other aspects of my swimming training?

Please keep in mind that a proper strength and conditioning program should be tailored and supervised by a professional, such as a coach or personal trainer.


References

  1. American College of Sports Medicine. ACSM's Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2018.

  2. Faigenbaum, Avery D., et al. "ACSM Position Stand: Progression Models in Resistance Training for Healthy Adults." Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, vol. 41, no. 3, 2009, pp. 687–708.

  3. Faigenbaum, Avery D., and Wayne L. Westcott. "Youth resistance training: position statement paper and literature review." Strength and conditioning journal, vol. 23, no. 5, 2001, pp. 62-75.

  4. Faigenbaum, Avery D., and Gregory D. Myer. "Resistance training for children and adolescents: safety, efficacy and injury prevention." British journal of sports medicine, vol. 44, no. 4, 2010, pp. 300-305.

  5. Haff, G. Gregory, and N. Travis Triplett. Essentials of strength training and conditioning. Human Kinetics, 2016.

  6. Kraemer, William J., and Nicholas A. Ratamess. "Fundamentals of resistance training: progression and exercise prescription." Medicine and science in sports and exercise, vol. 37, no. 6, 2005, pp. 124-131.

  7. Meckel, Y., Bar-Sinai, Y., and Eliakim, A. "Strength training for swimmers: a review." Journal of human kinetics, vol. 37, no. 1, 2013, pp. 81-92.

  8. Myer, Gregory D., Avery D. Faigenbaum, and Michael Bellucci. "Resistance training for children and adolescents." Sports medicine, vol. 36, no. 7, 2006, pp. 571-581.

  9. National Strength and Conditioning Association. NSCA's Essentials of Personal Training. Human Kinetics, 2014.

  10. Faigenbaum, Avery D., and Myer, G. D. (2010). Resistance training for children and adolescents: safety, efficacy and injury prevention. British journal of sports medicine, 44(4), 300-305.

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