Swim Specific Strength and Fitness – By Miranda Tomenson
All the pools have been closed and you might be worried about losing your swim specific strength and fitness. However, there is some way to keep that conditioning throughout this pool closure. I have created a program that you can do every other day to keep the swimming muscles firing. The only equipment required is swim tubing that can be purchased from Amazon. It won’t be a perfect supplement to real swimming in the pool, but it will help you re-gain your swim fitness much faster than if you do nothing at all.
First, make sure you precede the program with a gentle 10 minutes of warmup. This could be walking, spinning, skipping rope, some shoulder swings and hip swings or a combination of these.
Second, go through the exercise routine. It begins with thoracic twisting to open up the shoulders and help with upper back mobility (key for swimming). That is followed by some core strength (plank and side plank) to ensure you are engaging those deeper core muscles. You can even progress this with some rolling planks which are very similar to the roll from side to side when you are swimming. Next are some resisted external rotations with swim tubing or Theraband to warm up the rotator cuff. Follow this with the tricep extension which target the muscles that are key in finishing the stroke (a part of the stroke that is often overlooked). The lat pull downs will help you engage the bigger back muscles that are key for a strong and powerful swim stroke. Next, do some flutter kicking on your back. This is great practice for athletes who struggle with the kicking motion. Keep the legs fairly straight, engage the core and kick in a shoebox.
Third, is the actual swim component of the program. You can start this part with some swimming in front of a mirror. Focus on the hand entry, the pull, the timing of the stroke, recovery and timing the breathing with the stroke. Ensure a taught body, long spine, long stroke, that your hands are always between your shoulder and centre line of your body. Engage the hands and forearms so they are super stiff and push imaginary water towards your feet. Make sure you are rotating through the stroke. Recovery the hand over imaginary water. Next, add some resistance with the swim tubing. The program has you first work on the high elbow catch and then develop strength through the full stroke.
Lastly, there are some stretches for the lats and the hamstrings, because these exercises engage the lats a lot and the hamstrings can get a bit tight from bending over to do the swim tubing exercises.
The program can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 60 minutes to complete.
The complete program can be found here