When done properly weight training for swimmers will improve upon aerobic endurance, power, strength and flexibility. However, it can only be accomplished by incorporating specific swimming fitness programs.
Weight training for swimming is generally very easy on your joints and provides optimal cross training for over-all swimming fitness.
Keep in mind that your weight & swimming fitness training programs must be specific for swimming in the anticipated athletic environment it will be used, meaning that if you're a competitive swimmer, your weight training program must be developed in order for you to improve your swimming performance.
This section on weight training for swimmers will give you a start in the right direction to drastically improve your swimming skills & swimming performance in order to improve your swimming fitness.
Weight training for swimmers must primarily be used for endurance while at the same time preserving and increasing your power and strength enough in order to improve your swimming fitness.
Elsewhere on this fitness training website you'll find detailed information on improving your swimming strokes and the best swimming workout in the pool. It's important to emphasize that most swimming fitness exercises should consist of various types of fitness training.
Pool training can also provide strength training for swimmers in addition to building endurance and performance.
Before getting into the actual exercises used in weight training for swimmers remember that one good reason for using a pool for swimming fitness is the quality of specific training you receive.
Pool swimming fitness sessions allow you to design the best swimming workout for your individual needs. Swimming fitness in the pool allows you to vary the intensity and greatly improve your stroke skills.
Start as you would a regular back squat by putting a barbell across your traps. Then put one foot back on a bench while your other leg stays in front.
Now squat down, pause for a count of 1 then rise up to the starting position and complete the required number of reps. After you've completed your reps for this leg, switch legs and do the same with your other leg.
Reps: 6 – 12
This is of course one of the best known chest exercises and is used in almost every weight training for swimmers program. To start position yourself on an incline bench press. Position your hands a little bit further apart than shoulder width. Un-rack the bar directly above your head.
Lower the bar in a slow and controlled manner until it touches your upper chest. Press the bar straight up and repeat.
Reps: 5 – 10
This is one of the most under used weight training for swimmers exercises but it's one of the best, if not THE best, for hamstring development.
To start stand up straight and place a barbell on your traps as you would for a squat. Now bend forward and bring your hips back at the same time. Bend until you are almost parallel to the floor.
Now return the start by bringing your hips forward while raising your upper body to a standing position. Repeat.
Reps: 6 – 12
You'll need a lying hamstring machine for this. Lie face down with the leg pad adjusted to fit behind ankles. Position your knees below the bottom edge of the bench.
Your legs should be straight. Grab the handles on the side of the bench for stability. Bring your legs up towards your buttocks until the back of your feet touch your buttocks. Hold for a second, then return to the start.
Reps: 10 – 14
Stand in an upright position with your feet a little bit wider than shoulder width. Hold a dumbbell in each hand. Lift both dumbbells up at the same time to the top of your shoulder level. Use an overhand grip with your palms facing straight in front.
Press both dumbbells up above your head keeping your palms facing forward. Slowly and carefully lower the weights to the starting position and repeat.
Reps: 8 – 12
Stand up with your feet shoulder width apart. Grab a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing forward. Always keep your elbows in tight to your sides throughout the entire movement.
Curl one arm at a time until your bicep comes into contact with your forearm. Slowly lower to the start and immediately bring the opposite arm up. Repeat alternating arms until all of your reps are complete.
Reps: 10 – 12
Sit upright on a flat bench and put your hands beside your hips (one on either side of your body) with your fingers pointing forward. Put your feet flat on a bench across from you, keeping your legs straight.
Start by moving your buttocks off the bench with your elbows bent a little. Lower your body down by bending your elbows until they are at about a 90 degree angle. Then push up with your triceps to return to the start.
Reps: 8 – 12
Stand upright with your feet about shoulder width apart.
Grab a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing inward towards your body. Let your arms hang down at your sides.
Raise both dumbbells out to your sides until you get to shoulder height.
Keep your elbows slightly bent.
Lower both dumbbells in a slow and controlled manner to return to the start.
Reps: 10 – 12
You'll need a standing calf machine for this. Stand with your feet hip width apart with your heels off the edge of the foot plate. Toes should be pointing forward. Lift the weight up by raising your heels as high as you can while keeping the pressure on the outside of your feet.
Then lower your heels to the starting position. Keep your legs straight (but not locked out) throughout the entire movement.
Reps: 12 – 20
Use a wide lat-pulldown bar for this weight training for swimmers exercise. Grab the bar with your palms facing forward with a shoulder width grip. With your arms fully extended and keeping your back straight, pull the bar down until it touches your collar bone.
Always sit up straight and don't use any body motion. Squeeze your shoulder blades together as tight as you can at the bottom part of the movement.
Slowly, and in a controlled manner, extend your arms back to the starting position.
Reps: 8 – 12