Multi-Muscle Movements Build Functional Strength for Swimmers

J.R. Rosania
June 27, 2017

When it comes to dryland training for swimmers, my objective is to design a strength program that will transfer to speed in the water. Simply put, what exercises are best for swimmers who want to improve their performance?

Several methods can get you the results, including Olympic lifting, power lifting and strongman lifting. All of these will improve starts, wall push-offs and even stamina.

Multi-Muscle Functional Strength

I incorporate movements from all of these methods, depending on the stage of the swimmers program. But the strength-training exercises I prefer above all else are multi-muscle functional movements.

Multi-muscle movements transfer directly to performance. At some point in each of these exercises, there is a connection to a swimmer’s stroke. These exercises are relevant to all swim strokes, starts and wall push-offs.

Performance Movements

Check out the following exercises. Each will contribute to improved stroke rate and distance, better muscle endurance and power over the course of several weeks of training. And let’s not forget the benefit to your core, as well.

Perform three sets of 12 reps for each exercise. Choose a weight that is light enough to complete all 12 reps. Continue this program for six to 10 weeks. If you’re preparing for a competition, discontinue 10 days prior to racing.

Note: All dryland training and swimming instruction should be done with the supervision of a qualified coach or instructor in order to ensure the safety of participants.

Dumbbell Chest Press With Straight-Leg Raise

Lay on your back on a bench with dumbbells in each hand. Perform a chest press while simultaneously lifting your legs. Keep feet and hands shoulder-width apart.

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Alternating Dumbbell Chest Press With Split-Leg Raise

Use the same movement as in the prior exercise, but this time alternate your arms and legs as you perform single-arm chest presses and single-leg raises. One repetition on each side constitutes one rep.

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Supine Dumbbell Flutter Kick With Alternate Dumbbell Pullover

Lay on your back on a bench with legs extended beyond the edge. Perform alternating flutter kicks and single-arm pullovers. One repetition on each side constitutes one rep.

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One-Arm Barbell Press With Tube – Stroke Pull

Stand with a bar resting at your shoulder. With the opposite arm, grip a stroke cord (rubber tubing) with slight tension. Begin by pushing the barbell up, while simultaneously performing a freestyle stroke with the cord. These are alternating movements. One repetition on each side constitutes one rep.

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Featured Athlete:  Jacquie Allgire, masters triathlete and Ironman.

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