Swimming Training


Most popular sports are terrestrial, thus the governing factor that dictates movement, strength and locomotion is dictated by leveraging the body from the ground.  With respect to swimmers, leveraging the body against the drag created by the water generates the propulsion through the water. Unlike terrestrial sports, swimmers are not bound by ground forces (except at start and flip turns on the wall). Air is a fluid just like water, but much denser, and like a bird in flight, Swimmers are considered in-flight as they propel through the water. Because of these differences, Swimmers can pose a challenge for the Strength & Conditioning / Sports Performance professional with limited knowledge of these facts.

Swimmers pose another challenge with respect to proper training that’s focused on proper technique and a carefully monitored program, the athlete will exceedingly improve their efficiency in the water. Thus, most swimmers will eventually have spent exceedingly more time in the water to maximize their training and conditioning. More volume means the potential for over training and eventual overuse of joints that could lead to overuse injury. For the most part, Terrestrial athletes are more susceptible to acute and/or chronic self-inflicted, non-contact injuries caused by improper decelerating, change of direction, stopping, landing and braking, essentially those same ground forces that differentiate what swimmers experience.

Categories of Swimmers

SPRINTERS – use both aerobic and anaerobic energy systems during a race. Must be able to generate quick, powerful strokes to move efficiently through the water

LONG DISTANCE  – Must train for muscle endurance. Long races taxes the aerobic energy systems, but proper training will give the swimmer an endurance edge.

SWIM STROKES  – competitive sub-category’s

  • Free Style
  • Breaststroke
  • Backstroke
  • Butterfly

For all category’s and sub-category’s of swimmers, the major focus on DRY LAND Strength and Conditioning training should be to focused on balancing and enhancing the high volume spent in the pool. For the purpose of lowering the probability of chronic overuse joint stress and injury. Dry Land training should focus on developing a stable core from which to maximize posture / balance in the in the water, leverage limbs through the core to the water (all limbs are anchored through the core through). In addition, flexibility, mobility, and developing strength/power will maximize propulsion through the water (propulsion power is much different then lifting power); all of these important criteria should be accomplished by not adding extra bulk on the body, because like a bird in flight aerodynamics in the water is paramount to maximum performance. Thus, being bigger, faster and stronger doesn’t necessarily translate to faster speeds and performance in the pool.

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