Question by Austin: What are some beneficial exercises (both weightlifting and calisthenic) to improve swimming?
I am perhaps the world’s worst swimmer (I was on a team for 4 years and never could do a 100yd butterfly in under a minute) and I would like to become better. I’m 19, so I don’t know if it’s too late for me to improve, and I’ve been off swimming for a year now (I haven’t had access to a pool). I was wondering if there are any exercises, weightlifting or calisthenic, that could help me improve my performance when, and if, I ever enter the water again. Also, are there any special exercises for certain strokes?
Answer by Scott K
Having been on a team for 4 years, i doubt that i can add much insight to any issues plaguing your swimming, but… The biggest issues in improving your speed are the starts, turns, and finish. You should be able to deduct a lot of time by improving those techniques. Core strength is extremely important. To that extent nothing really beats swimming, it improves your cardio as well as swim specific muscles. Plus, practice makes perfect. Increase your swimming. Some weightlifting might benefit you, but bare in mind that muscle adds weight and therefore increases your drag and reduces your cardio efficiency. If it isn’t a muscle that is used for swimming it is only going to slow you down. A better approach would be to take up yoga or pilates, which are great for flexibility and core strength. Other exercises which will benefit you are pushups, pullups, crunches, dips, scorpion/superman exercises.
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