Dynamic exercises and stretching are not only a great way to start a swimming workout, but they also help your overall performance and set you up for an optimum workload. A good five to ten minutes of dynamic exercises, including some easy laps before the main swimming workout, will get your muscles and joints warmed up and ready to go.
Before you dive into the pool for your next workout, first get your blood flowing and warm up those muscles to prevent muscle strain and injury. Slow and controlled stretching through the full range of motion is an effective way to warm up the muscles you'll need for your swim workout and help improve blood circulation, endurance and strength. Swimming is a dynamic exercise in and of itself, and a few easy laps following the stretching will enhance your warm up.
Dynamic Vs. Isometric
Stretching can be either dynamic or static, depending on how you do the stretch. Dynamic stretches, according to University of Iowa Health Care, increase blood circulation, strength, and endurance through continuous movement while static, also known as isometric stretching, works your muscles at high intensity without joint movement. Dynamic stretching is slow and controlled, and involves a continuous movement through full range of motion. It is ideal for warming up muscle groups and individual muscles specific to the strokes you swim.
Dryland Dynamic Exercises
In addition to the dynamic stretching in your warm up, you’ll benefit from conditioning outside of the pool. Dryland conditioning will help you improve your strength, endurance and range of motion. Examples of dynamic strengthening and conditioning exercises that swimmers may do at home or in the gym include lat pull downs, tricep dips, low presses, high knees, seated rowing, squats, and skipping rope. Because a strong core is important for keeping your position in the water, try adding some leg lifts, crunches and sit- ups to the mix.
Hybrid Dryland Drills
You can get the benefits of both static and dynamic exercise, USA Swimming explains, with hybrid dryland drills that hold one part of the body in a static position while another part of the body works dynamically. One example from USA Swimming, the side plank with unilateral reverse fly, is done by positioning yourself parallel to the anchor point of a light to medium resistance band that’s attached to something sturdy around a half foot to a foot from the ground. Then get your forearm into side plank by propping up on your bottom elbow. While in the side plank position, use the opposite hand to hold the band in front of you, then bring your arm back in a wide arching movement and finish (still in side plank position) with your arm slightly behind your torso. Do eight to ten reps and then switch to other side.
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