Swimmers hoping to muscle in on the rewards that come with stronger arms, chest, shoulders, and back, should balance their swimming workout with strength training. Working out with a classic strength training tool such as dumbbells develops strong bones, manages weight, boosts stamina, and minimizes injury.
Warm Up and Cool Down
The best way to warm up is to do movements similar to the upcoming exercise. A swimmer should swim slowly for about 5 to 10 minutes. If you’ll be doing strength training with dumbbells, try warming up with some brisk walking to get the blood flowing and push-ups to warm up the muscles in your upper body. Follow up your strength training exercises with a cool down that is similar to your warm up.
Your shoulders carry enough these days without worrying about injuring them. To strengthen your shoulders, US Masters Swimming recommends full cans to work your rotator cuff and scapular stabilizers. Hold a pair of light dumbbells, thumbs up, arms at your sides. Lift the dumbbells in front of you to a 45-degree angle to your body and keep lifting until they’re parallel to the ground. Don't let the dumbbells go higher than your shoulders, as you hold them for a couple of seconds and then lower them. Repeat for 12 to 15 repetitions.
Reverse Scaption to Reverse Fly
Repetition isn't necessarily a good thing when it comes to swim training. Swimming involves repetitive use of certain muscle groups, and you'll likely make things worse if you focus all your efforts on exercises that roll your shoulders inward. However, you may combat this with external rotation exercises such as the reverse scaption to reversal fly. Lie prone on a bench, and with a pair of light dumbbells in your hands and slightly bent elbows, bring your shoulder blades together and work your arms in a reverse fly motion. Once your arms are parallel to the ground, hold for a moment before lowering them to the starting position. Try to do 10 to 12 repetitions.
Dead Lift and Row
Use your multi-tasking skills for this exercise. Stand balanced on your left foot with a light dumbbell in your right hand as you lean forward from the waist until your upper body is parallel to the ground. Your right leg should be behind you and even with your body. Once you’ve assumed the position, keep your knee slightly bent, and holding your right arm beneath your shoulder, row the weight up with your right arm until your elbow just passes your torso. Hold it for a moment and then lower and repeat. Switch sides after 8 to 10 repetitions.
Christy Ayala writes about recreation, sports, aquatics, healthy living, family and parenting, language development, organizational change, pets and animals. Ayala holds a master's degree in recreation administration from Aurora University’s George Williams College, a graduate certificate in organizational change from Hawaii Pacific University and a bachelor's degree in Spanish from the University of Missouri, St. Louis.