Due to the current circumstances, with all swimming pools or most beaches closed for the foreseeable future, the opportunities to go swimming are pretty limited.
We don’t know when we will be back to normal swimming training routines but in the meantime here are 4 activities you can do (by yourself) to help support your swimming so that you can come back strong and ready to maximise swim-fitness!
Consistent yoga practice allows us to develop the specific form of strength & stability required for correct swimming technique. Yoga not only stretches out our bodies overall, but it can also ultimately increase our flexibility. Yoga also trains our joints and muscles (especially stabiliser joint muscles) to work in a stronger, more controlled and stable manner. By holding a yoga pose, you force your body to utilise the appropriate muscles and joints required for stability but also develop the endurance of those same muscles to withstand uncomfortable and strenuous positions. Anyone who has completed our stroke correction courses will know that to achieve a good body position and to gain power in your stroke both require the use of those stabiliser muscles. When this form of controlled strength and stability cannot be achieved or maintained, we often see swimmers falling back into a ‘lazy’ and inefficient way of swimming = SLOW! Yoga is a great option to help you to maintain and improve both your swimming technique and pace.
Stand Up Paddling
By becoming a competent and strong paddler ON the water, you will become a stronger and more competent swimmer IN the water. The art of stand up paddling with correct technique requires us to engage our core muscles to help us stabilise our torso, which inherently supports major power muscles which ultimately helps our limbs (mainly arms but legs too!) to produce the power we need to generate propulsion through the water. The same technique is applied when we swim! In order to swim with power and momentum, we must engage the same core muscles as we do in stand up paddling. These two sports are surprisingly similar, when paddling you can think of your paddle ‘catching’ and pulling the water the same way your arms do when you swim. Because of these similarities, by practising correct SUP technique, your swimming technique will inevitably improve too. Intrigued to give SUP a go? Our sister business WATSSUP can help you out.. check them out here.
Running is a great form of cardiovascular exercise and is an awesome way to up your fitness which will help boost your endurance when swimming. Running is also similar to swimming in that it is a solo exercise and takes mental determination to keep going. Running offers similar mental health benefits of swimming in reducing feelings of stress or anxiety and release endorphins which increases feelings of positivity – much needed at the moment!
Another activity which will help improve your swimming when we are back in the pool and that can be easily done at the moment is strength training. Improving the strength of the muscles used in swimming will allow you to apply more power in the water and hence get faster. The main muscle groups used when swimming are – your lats, tricep muscles, chest muscles and core muscles. There are loads of exercises you can do to build these muscles, both with and without added resistance such as bands, medicine balls, kettlebells or weights.
We know none of these can give us the same amazing, post-swim feeling after a magical ocean swim but these options will have to do for now. Let me know what exercise you’ve been up to recently, we would love to hear what everyone is doing to keep fit and well at the moment!