Weight training for Swimmers-my top 5

I started swimming last Spring with the Sisters Masters Team..aka..a group of about 5-6 women swimming a workout together, twice per week. We were chatting the other day in the locker room about doing some weight training to improve our swimming skills.

Here’s what I put together as my top 5 recommended swim weights. You’ll notice that these 5 work the legs and the back but not the shoulders. Our shoulders get so much work just swimming laps that the likelihood of injuring them doing dry-land (weight) training is really high and not worth the risk. Stretching is what the shoulders need and that will be in the next post.

For legs:

  1. One legged step ups onto a box (3 reps of 30) making sure the box is high enough for the knee to be at 90 degrees.
  2. Seated leg press (optimally while squeezing a yoga block between the upper thighs)

For back:

  1. lat pull downs (hands wide)
  2. seated rows (hand narrow and underhanded)
  3. standing pull downs (awesome posture)

I like low-medium weight, high reps (20-30 reps) repeated 3 times. Use good form! There are lots of pictures online, just google or ask at the gym if you don’t know what a particular exercise is.

Swimming freestyle (crawl) requires muscles that internally rotate the shoulder. Swimmers in general have forward rolling shoulders. This can compound poor posture as when we sit at a desk and do computer work we also tend to have forward rolling shoulders. It is very important that all of us, but especially swimmers spend time each day on the foam roller, increasing extension in the spine and stretching out the tight internal rotators.

I like putting the roller perpendicular to my spine, laying back on it with the base of my skull inline with the edge of the roller. Bum is on the roller and arms are out to a T. You can gentle stretch up in to snow angels and back down, just going to the tension in the stretch but not beyond, where you feel it but nothing hurts or pinches. With each rep you may be able to go further. I also like to roll out my spine with the roller perpendicular to my spine starting at the bra line and working up.

Next I will put together a series of band exercises/ stretches for the shoulders..Stay tuned.

And one last thing…POSTURE, posture posture! Practice it. Standing equal weight in both feet/ legs, lining up hips over ankles and shoulders over hips, ears over shoulders. The tendency is to have a forward lean, shoulders rolled in, forward head carriage.

BRING It BACK to Help your Back and to SWIM FAST!