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For a beginner swimmer, incorporating strength training as part of your training program can be hugely beneficial. When swimming as a beginner, it is normal to initially feel weak in the pool. By alternating both training within the pool and in the gym, it can greatly improve both your performance and overall confidence while swimming.
Strength training offers multiple benefits for a beginner swimmer. Especially, when it comes to improving performance both in the poll and while in the open water. Swimming requires the use of core muscles for both stabilisation and in order to propel your body forward through the water. Strength training through the use of free weights or resistive bands help to ensure that these muscles have the power necessary to combat fatigue and prevent injury while swimming.
When practising strength training as a beginner swimmer, it is important to focus on the certain muscle areas. These areas are: the rotator cuff muscles of the shoulder, the pectorals, the latismuss and the hips. Strengthening these areas will provide an excellent foundation for further training, endurance and overall health.
The goal of strength training for a beginner swimmer is to build strength without increasing muscle bulk. Some muscle gain is expected, however, a swimmer should ideally aim to have a lean muscle mass. This allows them to have enough strength to pull their body through the water without providing too much resistance. It is important to focus on improving your power to weight ratio.
Including weights into your training is a great and easy way to increase the power of your strokes while in the pool. If you are not used to using weights, start off with high reps and gradually increase the intensity of the weight over time. Bodyweight exercises such as push ups and box jumps can also be beneficial starting off.
As swimmers rely heavily on their core muscles, it is important to incorporate exercises into your training program that utilise these muscles. The following exercises are great for engaging your core abdominal muscles:
Pilates classes can also be very beneficial for improving a beginner swimmer’s flexibility, strength, concentration and balance. A trained Pilates instructor will be able to prescribe exercises suitable for your strength training programme. They can help you train the appropriate muscles specific to swimming.
Here at Ballsbridge Physiotherapy Clinic, our chartered physiotherapists are trained in assessing and treating a range of sport related queries. If you are a beginner swimmer and have suffered an injury or would like more advice on the best way to train, contact us here to book an appointment.