If you are referring to dry land exercise that would carry over to the waters, you can always do whip kicks with your feet on glider pads. Other than that, a lot of different core work to improve your body’s co-ordination in the water. You probably want to have movements that will mimic the movements you will likely do in the water. Perhaps the use of the TRX would be an appropriate tool for this kind of training as well.
I have a client who is an open water swimmer whose goal was to improve her swimming strength.
Here is the approach we took as far as training was concerned.
We focused on resistance training for endurance as this type of training transfers well into the water. I incorporated balance exercises on the BOSU ball in a prone position as this is the position that she is in when she swims.
However, the most important thing for her to do was to simply swim.
In exercise science there is a principle that states that the body will adapt according to the way we train it. So, if you want to improve your swimming, swim more.
It probably won’t be a bad idea to hire a swimming coach.
All the best!
Are you referring to dry land exercises or water? Also, what are the distances you are trying to compete at/complete? What is the stroke you are trying to improve? Are you trying to improve your stamina or your speed? All of the above questions are important when it comes to determining the best exercises to improve swimming technique. The exercises Joanne and Calvin mentioned are very helpful, but I would also agree that hiring a swimming coach would be a great idea as well. If your technique needs to be improved, the coach would be the best person to help you since he/she can observe you in the water.
Hello Eunice Gates,
On land you will want to do full body strength workouts; do not skip the push ups. Jump rope will help stamina. Remember to stretch the entire body, also.
In the water, incorporate all the strokes, the butterfly stroke requires more energy. Also, swim as long as possible without taking a breath by doing sprints, if you will. Swim using only the arms, swim only using the legs. If you swim in a pool, do the flip turn.
Do you specialize in a stroke? If so, practice that stroke.
Have fun swimming.
So I’ll be honest, I reached out to my massage therapist (Liz Long of Prosperity Body Work) to help me answer your question. Although I’ve swam my fair share of laps in the pool, she has an extensive background in the sport. Her history includes 8 years of competitive US Swimming; 6 years as a private swim coach, including 2 years as a US Master’s coach with High Altitude Masters in Santa Fe, NM (copied this info from her website’s bio page at http://www.prosperitybodywork.com/bio.html).
Now that you know Liz’s qualifications, here’s the answer to your question from an email she sent me:
“Strengthen the whole core: front, sides, and back (crunches, oblique crunches, cobras, any core stabilization method you can find [that doesn’t cause you pain]).
Strengthen the whole leg (plenty of squats and lunges).
Also, strengthen the lats, shoulders, biceps, triceps, and traps. Any common gym routine for any of these will do [assuming none of the exercises cause you to feel pain].
Keep good rotator cuff health by attaching a therapy band to a post, bending you elbow at 90 degrees down by your side and internally rotating the arm for 30 seconds and externally rotating the arm for 30 seconds. Aim for good flexibility around the joints but avoid loss of stabilization.
Do a lot of stretches for the whole body after you warm up for at least 200yds and follow up with joint mobilizations like gentle arm circles.
If you really want to improve your swimming see a professional coach once in awhile.”
Wow, a lot of info, I know! Let me know if you’d like me to clarify anything she included in her response but I hope at least some of this helps you get started.