Swimming is a nuanced water sport, which demands a specific set of exercises for maximum efficiency. As more experts understand and advocate sport-specific training, the same is also applicable for a sport as unique as swimming. If you’re an elite swimmer or aspire to be one, the key is to find the perfect balance between general and specific exercise regimes.
Laying the Right Foundation
A competitive, determined, elite swimmer is akin to all athletes who aspire. Hence, every aspiring swimmer requires the appropriate foundation for cultivating strength and coordination on a physical level. The base of athleticism is relevant when one is able to coordinate between general motion and basic physical health.
Experts who work with elite swimmers, both at national and international levels, opine that laying the right foundation is necessary, as it heavily impacts the training for developing swimmers who hold the potential to blossom into elite ones. Basing general strength and athleticism as the foundation, these kinds of swimmers are able to build a certain sort of resilience to injury, and build overall capacity in an effective manner.
Swimming, An Unique Sport
All water sports, by a rule of thumb, are fundamentally different from ground-based sports such as baseball or football. Unlike most other athletes, swimmers need to predominantly operate in aqueous environments, where the main force they battle against is not gravity. What poses a challenge for the swimmer is to maximize propulsion in water via movement while minimizing drag.
This factor needs to be kept in mind during the training phase. A young/untrained swimmer is introduced to this environment - an environment that is unnatural, foreign, and complex, especially as they are clad in necessary sports apparel. Mastering this arena would require loads of practice, the right kind of training, and time. Once they are used to their surroundings, swimmers can hone their skills, as the environment becomes akin to second skin for them.
Mastering Connected Exercises
Ground-based athletes produce a ground reaction force that is directed from their feet through the center of mass. This is exactly the opposite for the swimmer, as they try and create the same force with their hands. Moreover, this force is not directed towards a solid mass (like the ground) - rather, against the viscosity of water. A swimmer must be able to create propulsion, a majority of which (85-90%) is generated by the upper limbs. This takes a great amount of control over muscle movement, and the ability to actively utilize the laws of nature to your own advantage.
While ground-based athletes focus on developing strength from the ground up, swimmers must cultivate the same coordinated, multi-segment flexion from the upper body, down to the hip region. This is not only complex but also demands a distinctive set of training techniques that work at bettering the act of swimming as a whole.
Connected exercises follow the idea of from “the tip to the toes”- this espouses the coordinated application of strength, wherein the core and the hips are controlled for stability. In order to evoke this kind of coordination, swimmers need to develop.
- Scapular control
- Pelvic and spinal control
- Pulling tension across various kinds of muscles
To start off, swimmers can start with certain exercises - be sure to wear the right sports equipment while training, including the right kind of compression pants. One can indulge in:
- Front levers, L-hangs, pull-up variations
- Cable-based lifts with full-body entanglement
- Kettlebell swings, get-ups, and windmills
- Core-training regimes
Hence, what’s important to note is that swimmers, irrespective of their skill level, require dry-land training. Strength and power can also be transmitted once the exercises focus on core functions and are connected. Also, swimming enthusiasts: stay tuned for swimming performance gear from Azani! Our exclusive swim gear range will help you stand out, even underwater.