Nov 03 2015

Building Strength for Swimming 101

swimming exerciseStrength training is a great way to take your swimming to the next level. These workouts will help build strength that can then help you stay up in the water longer and swim farther. Do 2 to 4 sets of each exercise for the best results. When you first start out it would be best to stick with repeating only 2 times and move up as it gets easier over time.

Want more exercises, or maybe just some personal instruction to work on some of your weak spots?  You can register for private swim lessons on our website, where you can also register for other personal training and fitness classes of all sorts. Call Melissa Albers at 216.802.3256 for more information on private swim sessions.

Simulated Swimming with Resistance Bands

Wrap a resistance band around a stationary, sturdy object. Grab one end of the resistance band in each hand and bend at the waist until your torso is parallel with the floor. Keep your head down, just like when you swim freestyle, and arms out in front, like a streamline. Back up until there is tension (the amount of tension on the band is determined by you; more tension makes it harder). After there is tension, move your arms one at a time like you are swimming freestyle. Do the movement at a high cadence with 40 to 80 strokes in each round. Repeat sets as desired.

Crunches with Weight

Grab something like a free weight or medicine ball that weighs somewhere between 3 and 10 pounds. Lay with your mid- to lower-back on a stability ball and your weight over head with arms straight in front at shoulder level, pointing toward the ceiling. Focus your eyes on the weight and crunch up towards the ceiling and then back down. Do this exercise 20-40 times and then repeat sets as desired.

Stability Ball Push-Ups

Find a stability ball that is the right size for you; you’ll know it’s the right size when your legs make a 90° angle while sitting upright on the ball. For this exercise, start in a push-up position with your hands on top of the ball. Lower your body bending the arms to the sides to bring the torso closer to the ball. If this is too difficult, start with the ball against a wall and work up to free-standing push-ups. Repeat 10-30 times then repeat sets are desired.

tricep rotationTricep Rotations

Grab a 5-15 lb. weight and hold it in one hand at your side while standing upright with good posture. Bring your upper arm up to be even with your shoulders, with your arm bent at a 90° angle, holding the weight directly above your elbow. From here, keeping your upper arm still, lower the forearm until the weight is facing down to the ground then bring it back up to the previous position. Do each side 10-20 times then repeat sets as desired. See the illustration to the right if this didn’t make sense.

Oblique Rolls

Grab your stability ball and get in push-up position again, but this time with your feet on the ball instead of your hands. With your head facing down, turn or roll your body to one side. Do this until the legs are stack on top of one another, then roll back to the original position with legs next to each other. Repeat the rolling to both sides 10-20 times then repeat sets as desired. To make the exerciser easier you can either have the ball under your knees or thighs to begin or separate your feet slightly to cover more area of the ball.


Contributed by Courtney Maddock.

Courtney Maddock is the Graduate Supervisor of Aquatics & Safety for Cleveland State University’s Campus Recreation Services department. She has several years of experience and practice under belt as a swimmer, swim instructor, leader and coach.




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