Additional Options For Swimmers
Here are some things you can do outside the pool to improve your swimming while the Park Street Branch Large Pool is closed for renovations:
- Running: Distance, interval, or hill training is a great way to train for mental and aerobic stamina. Running also fosters mental stamina, since it is physically grueling and repetitive, much like swimming. Building mental strength and choosing to keep going after exhaustion will generate discipline in the pool.
- Yoga: There are yoga poses and exercises designated specifically for swimmers (to increase flexibility in ankles, shoulders, etc.). But more broadly, practicing yoga a few times a week consistently will increase overall flexibility, bone density, and body alignment.
- Back and Abdominal Exercise Class: Swimmers especially can benefit from conditioned abdominals considering that they are required to execute flip turns every 25 or 50 meters. In addition, strong stomach muscles help keep the body positioned in the water properly, especially in backstroke and when pushing off the wall in a streamlined position.
In addition to offerings at the Y, you can also do a number of strength training exercises at home to improve your swimming:
- Explosive exercises. Every time you push off the wall, you should be doing a full all-out jump as if you’re trying to reach the rim of a basketball hoop. This is a simple movement with your feet hip distance apart, your body in a 90-degree squat with your butt out and your arms up. Jump with heart and then reset quickly as you will fly through 15 jumps with a 30 second rest. You should go through this set of 15 at least 4 times.
- Plank. A swimmer needs to understand the power of their core outside the water. The plank exercise is extremely effective and super simple, but needs to be done properly. Hold the plank for at least a minute with 30 seconds rest. The idea is to stabilize the core and the shoulder area, giving all those wonderful smaller muscles some purpose and connection.
- Squat. Because swimmers are not pounding their own body weight, they need a few exercises to keep their bones happy. Eccentric exercises help with positive bone density. You can either put the bar behind your head or in front of your head. Either way, make sure you have proper body positioning.
- Wall sit. All swimmers need to work on their posture. You cannot have bad posture and align with a wall. It is such a fantastic regulator. It is fun to make a contest out of this—maybe start at 1 minute holds and progress to 2 and 3 minute holds!
- The burpee. Starting with a stand, put your hands down to the ground, feet out to plank, do a push-up, hop your feet back to your hands and explode up. Repeat this as many times as you can for a designated time. Try ladder build-ups with equal amounts of rest. 15 seconds/15 seconds rest, 30 seconds/30 seconds rest, 1 minute/1 minute rest, 1:30 minutes/1:30 minutes rest, and then back down. Maintaining great form throughout is key!