It’s basically a cliché these days to say that you need a strong core. Most athletes hear it repeatedly, and swimmers are no exception. Generally, swimmers have relatively impressive core strength, but they don’t always apply it in the most beneficial ways while in the water.
The following three exercises for swimmers to strengthen your core also help you engage that power in the right way. Work these sets into your in-pool fitness routine a few times per week.
Deep End Vertical Kicks
When performing vertical kicks, it’s helpful to have an exercise buddy keeping an eye on your form and correcting it as needed. Without good form, your core just doesn’t get as effective a workout.
Hold your body tall and straight; don’t hunch your shoulders or back. Alternate between flutter and dolphin kicks with at least your wrists out of the water. For a more strenuous workout, extend more of your arm above the surface of the water. Depending on your level, do 10 sets consisting of 10, 20, or 30-second reps.
Breaststroke Pull with Flutter Kicks
A high-tempo flutter kick with a breaststroke pull provides a powerful core workout. You want a high elbow on your in-sweep, but don’t worry about your head position or how much water you catch and just focus on turning your hands over as fast as you can.
Flutter kick continuously and as quickly as you’re able to. Don’t get caught up in the habits of swimming a breaststroke set; this is a core workout.
Practice by doing a few 25s, then make a set out of it. A good example of a core workout set involving a breaststroke pull with flutter kicks could look like this:
- 1 x 25 flutter breast
- 1 x 50 (25 flutter breast, 25 kick on back smooth)
- 1 x 75 (50 flutter breast, 25 kick on back smooth)
- 1 x 100 (25 kick on back smooth, 75 flutter breast)
- 1 x 100 swim smooth
Body Dolphin on Your Side with Swim Fins
This workout combines benefits from both of the above exercises for swimmers to strengthen your core. It reinforces good form like deep end vertical kicks, while also involving more traditional swim positions like the breaststroke pull with flutter kicks.
Do this on either side, with one arm extended out in front of you. Undulations should start at your ribs and proceed to your toes. Maintain good head positioning and keep your lead hand straight. Incorporating swim fins into this workout is beneficial.
You can also add flutter kicks into the mix while performing this exercise. When it’s time to go up for air, perform three freestyle strokes and alternate to the other side of your body.