Nothing compares to the absolute bliss of jumping in a pool to cool off oneself on a hot sunny day. However, things can get pretty intense all of a sudden when you take this fun time activity to the level of competitive sports. Swimming as a sport has a vast and international followership, especially during the Olympics, where it is considered as a hot favorite amongst fans across the globe. Like any sports on a global level, swimming requires athletes to be in their top-notch physical condition to deliver to the best of their abilities. And as the stakes are raised even higher, the room for complacency and the margin for error simply fade away. Swimming is so popular in the United States that it is considered as the fourth most popular recreational activity within the country.
According to a recent report from the formerly known APSP (Association of Pool and Spa Professionals), there are nearly 10.4 million residential and 309,000 public pools that can be found across the country. Today the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance (PHTA), as it is now called, governs the oldest and largest association representing swimming pools, hot tubs, spa, and technicians.
Swimming as a competitive sport is indeed quite refreshing to watch. Through this post, let us offer you some of the best exercises you need to follow up on a routine basis in order to compete against the best of the best. So for a swimmer looking to improve their performance effectively, let’s take a quick look at seven exercises that you can truly help you become a pro at the sport:
Pull Ups – Improve Your Back Strength and Hypertrophy
Pull-ups are undoubtedly the key to attaining strength and overall power for fitness athletes. They offer you muscle hypertrophy that can assist you to increase your performance. When it comes to swimmers, specifically, developing active ‘Latissimus Dorsi’ or ‘lats’ are the most important. They are your middle back muscles and play a vital role in your ability to pull.
One of the most effective methods to develop stronger lats is through pull-ups. Pull-ups allow you to flex your muscles past your chest and dominated by your triceps. All you need for performing pull-ups is a friendly and high enough bar from which you can hang freely. Simply grab the bar with your hands and start pulling without anybody else’s assistance. Your feet must be dangling when you are holding the bar with stretched arms.
Kneeling Supermans – For Boosting Your Posture and Overall Balance
While researchers at Harvard are coming up with innovative solutions to create the perfect exercise with the help of EMS bodysuits, we have the kneeling superman for you that is quite pragmatic on its own. Kneeling Supermans are a great way to both cool down after a routine and warm up before you initiate your daily regimen. They are evidently designed to make your abdominal muscles stronger.
Since we use the opposing sides of our body in coordination when swimming, kneeling supermans can be quite terrific, to say the least. They offer you the perfect mix to buildup on your multitasking skills. With only ten reps of 3 seconds on each side, you will gradually start to notice that both sides of your body will tend to become stronger in a proportionate manner. In time with enough practice, you will also begin to observe that you are not only adding more strength to your core, but you are also making your glutes along with the upper back stronger by putting them to work.
Crunches with a Physio Ball – Hip Flexor and Shoulder Stability
You are probably familiar with a standard crunch that is focused on building your abdominal muscles. The crunches are intended to tighten up your belly, build six-pack abs, and primarily puts your rectus abdominis to work. While you can find many variations to work out your abs, this one over here is special.
To start, you need to place your shins on the physioball. Put your palms on the floor, similar to a push-up position. Now you need to follow up by bringing your knees forward, elevating your hip, while the ball rolls onto your toes. Repeat this ten times for a complete set. By doing two to three sets every day, you will definitely see a marked improvement in your overall muscle coordination as well as your shoulder’s stability.
Planks – Marked Improvements to Your Overall Stance
Planks are simply where you maintain a position of a push-up exercise for an extended period of time. Planks help you boost your abs, back muscles, chest region, neck, and shoulders. For beginners, holding a plank for longer than 20 seconds is quite the achievement. However, if you are at a much more advanced level, and then there are the single-arm planks as well, which are only meant for the pros.
The single-arm planks require you to place one arm behind your back, while you put the other one on the ground with elbow falling under your shoulder. For those who are looking for something far more comfortable, bursts of 20 seconds planks are the best, and you can even take them up to one-minute each at the most.
Squat Jumps – To Tone Your Calves and Target Your Hamstrings
The main idea over here is to grab some air and land as quietly as possible when performing a squat. Jump squats help you burn calories and fat at a desirable rate. They also help in toning your butt, legs, and abs muscles. Furthermore, they increase your mobility and balance as well as keeping you healthy.
Performing jump squats on dry land will naturally offer you more power when you are in the pool. To do it right, you need to keep your chest above your shoulders to create a streamlined position. One single set may comprise of 3-10 repetitions as per your preferences. With more practice and time, squat jumps offer you the key to overcoming your competition and leave them in a cloud of dust behind you. Squat jumps also improve your distance when jumping off the blocks at the start of a race.
Cable Push and Pulls for a Range of Benefits
The cable push-pull exercise offers you a variety of advantages. Pulling on the cable helps in building up your rear deltoids, forearms, trapezius, and biceps. On the other hand, pushing offers strength to your triceps, your chest region, and quads. Many swimmers around the world also prefer to do this exercise often, as it is an absolute favorite amongst them. These exercises are a great way to add rotational power to your trunk. Additionally, for freestyle swimmers and those who regularly use backstrokes will find push-pull cable exercises extremely helpful.
Deadlifts – For an Encore
Now we know you will be like scratching your head for this one, but nobody can deny that deadlifts are quite the challenge. However, for swimmers, deadlifts are essential as they work your latissimus dorsi as well as your quadriceps and hamstrings. This makes them pack quite a punch for those belonging to various sporting and athletic backgrounds. They are often termed as the ‘everything exercise’ due to their very nature.
Through deadlifts, you can burn a lot of fats and increase the flow of anabolic hormones within your body. Deadlifts also make your bones stronger. In fact, people who perform deadlifts have often been observed to have better moods, overall immunity, and a healthy life.
While there are a ton of other exercises to help improve your performance as a swimmer, it is best that you first try the ones mentioned above and see where they can take you. Even if you are not into swimming as a professional sport, exercise should be a vital part of your daily routine. We recommend that you stay fit and keep yourself away from a sedentary lifestyle. This will not only help you feel good about yourself but also assist you to avoid getting sick all the time. For more information about the topic, please share with us your queries in the comment section below.
Claudia Jeffrey is a physical fitness enthusiast. She loves to write about healthy lifestyles and evasive techniques that can help people stay in shape in spite of their busy lifestyles. She currently works as a research analyst at Crowd Writer, where she offers her professional consultation to students.