To improve as a swimmer, water-based workouts and honing technique are essential. But doing the right dry land exercises for swimmers is also crucial. They ensure that your fitness routine is well rounded. But they also help build muscle, agility, and stamina right where you need it most for endurance and the fastest swim times. They can reduce your risk of swim-related discomfort and injuries, too.
Below are some highly effective land exercises for building up your swimmer’s body. And the best part is, all but one require no equipment (and the other is just a jump rope), so you can easily do these all at home, without a gym membership or equipped at-home fitness room. Incorporate them regularly into your dry workouts.
Land Training to Improve Your Swimming
- Flutter kicks: Lie down flat on your back and place your arms along your sides, hands under your butt. Elevate your legs about 2 to 3 inches, keep them straight, point your toes away from your head, and kick your legs up and down in small motions, not letting them touch the floor. This works out your thigh and ab muscles, while also mimicking leg movements used in backstroke and freestyle.
- V-Sit flutter kicks: This is a tougher version of the above that does more for your lower back muscles and hip flexors. Sit down, then raise your legs straight out and up while leaning back and stretching your arms straight out, balancing so you’re in a V shape. Now do those flutter kicks.
- Squats: You can do these with or without weights, which add to the strength-building benefits. Women’s Health has an informative post called 7 Squat Variations You Need to Try with helpful pictures to illustrate the instructions. Check it out. Your thighs and gluteus maximus will thank you.
- Running: Don’t overlook the most common land exercise, as it’s perfect for swimmers. Jogging or running delivers a potent aerobic workout to burn calories, enhance endurance, improve circulation and breathing, and build leg muscles. If, however, you swim because you need low-impact exercises, stick to brisk walking.
- Hip Bridges: Swim faster and stronger by building your lower abdominal muscles, hip flexors, and hamstrings with this exercise. Lie on your back with your arms at your sides, keep the soles of your feet and your shoulders on the floor, lift your trunk until your spine is straight, hold, then slowly descend.
- Planks: These are great for your core and stamina. Click over to Health.com’s post titled 20 Ways to Do a Plank for easy-to-follow instructions for many variations. These simple land exercises do wonders for your abdominal muscles without the use of any equipment.
- Superman: This one’s useful for improving posture and building back muscles and glutes. It also helps prevent swimmer’s shoulder. Lie down on your stomach and stretch your arms straight out above your head (like Superman flying). Flex your glutes and tighten your stomach, then lift your right arm and left leg. Hold, lower your limbs in a controlled fashion, then do the other arms and leg.
- Jumping rope: It’s a classic, and for good reason. This fun cardio workout improves heart health and circulation, builds stamina, and works your calf muscles and core, as well as your reflexes.
- Lunges: Any swimmer will benefit from this type of exercise, particularly because it works the quadriceps, glutes, and hamstrings. This time, we refer you to Shape Magazine’s post Know Your Basics: How to Do a Lunge for clear advice on proper technique and some ideas for variations.
- Lateral pillar bridge: This exercise opens up your hips and improves your power and rotation in the water. Lie on one side, keeping your body in a straight line, with your feet stacked and your elbow under your shoulder. Thrust your hip up off the floor to make a straight line from shoulder to ankle. Hold it for a few seconds, doing 10 reps; repeat on your other side. Be sure to keep your head and spine aligned.
Enjoy these dry land exercises for swimmers, and your faster, better-controlled swims!