How to improve your swim in the gym
Cut drag and tone swim-specific muscles out of the pool with these exercises
Want to go faster in the water? Gym-based exercises are an effective way to improve swim-specific movement patterns using the arms to propel or support the body.
Developing stability and strength in the hips and legs enhances your streamlined position, thereby reducing drag. Work through the circuit, aiming for 10-12 reps of exercises 1-10.
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1: Lat pull down (cable/machine). Standing or seated, complete pull-down with bar in front of chin and spine neutral.
2: Leg extension (machine) or single leg squats (Swiss ball).
3: Single-arm shoulder press (free weights).
4: Four-way hip cable (glutes) straight-leg extensions forward, backwards and left/right as separate sets.
5: Push-ups or modified push-ups (body weight).
6: Hamstring curl (Swiss ball/machine).
7: Swiss ball bridge pullover (cable). Start in a bridge position with a Swiss ball positioned under the shoulder blades. Stretch arms above head to grasp taut cable and execute a controlled ‘pullover’ with straight arms.
8: Dips (dip bar or bench).
9: Back extension (Swiss ball). Face down on a Swiss ball with feet against a wall, legs straight and head lower than hips. Arms stretched out in front of head, lift and straighten upper body.
10: One-arm stroke (cable). Balance on one leg, with opposite arm above head grasping cable secured above/ behind you. Complete single arm stroke, initiate movement from wrist and ‘hinge’ at elbow.
11: Front plank. Lower yourself into the ‘push-up’ position, with forearms, elbows and toes bearing your weight. Hold for 60-90secs, lifting one leg for 30sec.
12: Side plank. Twist 90° from the front plank position. Hold for 60-90secs, lifting upper leg and arm for 30secs.
(Images: Jonny Gawler)
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