Swimming and Weights

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    Oct 16, 2011 5:23 AM GMT
    I am having trouble finding a good lifting routine that is beneficial to swimming, I need a lot of core strength as well as triceps and quads. I have a decent amount of endurance but I want to work on my power. Should I just swim or incorporate a weight routine?
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    Oct 16, 2011 7:11 AM GMT
    What kind of swimmer are you? Distance? Sprinter?

    Distance swimmers focus more on endurance anyway. In the weight room this means higher reps, with lower weights, with little rest.

    Sprinters go the opposite route with heavier weights, fewer reps, and more rest. That focuses more on power.

    Either way, develop strength in the core and legs, like you already mentioned. In front crawl, the strength comes more from your back (engaging your lats) than your triceps.

    You can also work on your stabilizing muscles, like your rotator cuff, in the weight room using very light weights. The goal is not to make those powerful, but to keep them strong enough to support the rest of your shoulders.
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    Oct 16, 2011 4:56 PM GMT
    atlusshock saidI am having trouble finding a good lifting routine that is beneficial to swimming, I need a lot of core strength as well as triceps and quads. I have a decent amount of endurance but I want to work on my power. Should I just swim or incorporate a weight routine?


    To be honest, swimming in itself will give you what you need. Constant practice will begin to develop your body in the way it needs to develop as a swimmer.

    I was on the national swim team for 5 years all through high school back in my home country and I found that with 4-5 times a week in the pool, your body builds and shapes muscle as is needed for the type of swimming you do. Broadening shoulders, strengthening lats, etc will occur as your body adjusts to what is required. Body adaption is an amazing thing.

    Weights can be useful, but not required. I didn't do much in the gym while swimming.
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    Oct 16, 2011 6:02 PM GMT
    As you probably know you have to be careful not to lose the elastic muscles needed to swim well. If you don't care how fast or well you swim then it won't matter what weight routine you do. Swimming can simply be a means of loosening up muscles. But if you want to improve your swimming you have to keep some muscles flexible while strengthening others. DO THE SHOULDERS! I did years of swimming and now paddle but I never did shoulder exercises and have paid the price. If I do both now it is too hard on my shoulders so I stick to paddling.

    If you want to improve your core strength in the pool do the reverse dolphin kick.

    http://www.goswim.tv/entries/3770/butterfly---backwards-dolphin-kick.html

    Nothing on land can match the kind of work out that gives your core. You can do it with with your hands above your head as backstrokers do when they push off the wall in competition. If you do it that way you want to focus on propelling yourself almost completely with the core and not push as much with the legs. That way you get more bank for the buck on the core muscles but you're not getting much exercise for the let or upper bodies. My paddling requires a tremendous amount of core strength so if I only do one thing in the pool this is it.
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    Oct 17, 2011 1:48 AM GMT
    citpolo saidWhat kind of swimmer are you? Distance? Sprinter?


    I am a sprinter. I thought that low reps would be better but how low should I go? Would it be better for sets of 10 or 5? Thanks for the tip about stabilizing muscles, I feel like I would have forgotten all about them.

    CalSparkxETo be honest, swimming in itself will give you what you need. Constant practice will begin to develop your body in the way it needs to develop as a swimmer.


    I have heard a lot of people say that. But I was wondering if weight lifting would improve the rate at which my body develops.

    friendormateAs you probably know you have to be careful not to lose the elastic muscles needed to swim well. If you don't care how fast or well you swim then it won't matter what weight routine you do. Swimming can simply be a means of loosening up muscles. But if you want to improve your swimming you have to keep some muscles flexible while strengthening others. DO THE SHOULDERS! I did years of swimming and now paddle but I never did shoulder exercises and have paid the price. If I do both now it is too hard on my shoulders so I stick to paddling.

    If you want to improve your core strength in the pool do the reverse dolphin kick.

    http://www.goswim.tv/entries/3770/butterfly---backwards-dolphin-kick.html


    Thanks for that information. Any particular shoulder exercise you would recommend? Also thanks for the link, I am thinking about switching from freestyle to butterfly and breast after spring. I really need to work on these strokes the most.
  • toughsell

    Posts: 15

    Oct 20, 2011 6:37 AM GMT
    Swimming is about 80% technique, 20% strength (go ahead, argue the percentages, but its clearly a lot more technique than strength). It is true you can get most of the muscles you need from just repetitive swimming - however as we age (over 1icon_cool.gif the body's joints wear down faster (and don't heal as well as) than they used to under high-rep activities, and you're far more likely to suffer an shoulder or knee injury long before you can fully develop the strength that you'd have gotten in your teens.

    For exercises: there are "generic strength" exercises and "individual muscle" strengthening.

    "Generic" pretty much has anything to do with your core (abs/torso) The ones that benefit swimming most are static positions (like doing the plank), roman chair back extensions, or just holding your legs elevated above the floor. Yoga pretty much offers the best mix of static strength and flexibility for your torso.

    Individual muscle exercises should focus on the back (pullovers are great), tricep extension, and forearms (wrist curls). For legs you'll get more from getting better flexibility with the muscles you already have rather than trying to build more muscle. Flexibility is also critical in the shoulders.
  • musclmover

    Posts: 8

    Nov 19, 2011 2:54 PM GMT
    HIPS, HIPS, HIPS!

    Swimming, like practically every other sport, depends on the biggest and strongest muscle group in the body, the hips-glutes, and hamstrings.

    Squats and leg extensions can increase your kicking power tremendously.

    I have swum and lifted most of my adult life - butterfly and free, mostly.

    It is always a trade-off in term of using your body's resources, and to combine the two means greater needs for rest and nutrition, as you will be really conditioning your body thoroughly.

    Sprints are anaerobic and therefore benefit from heavier weights.

    Longer distances profit from higher reps with moderate weights.

    Most swimmer's body's will naturally adapt to the higher rep form of weight-lifting, as their muscle fibers have been trained to do this by the endlessly repeated strokes against water.

    There is a long and involved theory of red and white, fast and slow twitch muscle fibers that come into play, but they are quite technical and I tend to use my instinct.

    Suffice it to say, powerlifters do not swim competitively. Bodybuilders would not Choose to, but they could learn.

    Navy Seals are probably closest to the muscularity type you can achieve by supplementing your swimming with weights or calisthenics.