Weight Training For Swimmers
Most swimmers are already well acquainted with the benefits that dryland exercises can provide their swimming. In regards to both their overall conditioning, and the impact that it can have on their performance. Further building on these benefits come the advantages weight training can provide swimmers. It is recommended that you only start lifting weights when you are around your mid teens, as starting too young can cause complications that will leave lasting effects on your body. Though aside from this easily preventable pitfall, there is no reason why swimmers should not train with weights, especially considering the potential good that can come of it.
There are a variety of benefits to weight training, the most obvious of these being the increase in strength that lifting can provide. As we swim we are pulling ourselves forwards through the water, and so, the easier it is to take each stroke, the more efficient we become when swimming. The stronger we are, the easier it becomes to dive further, explode with speed off of our starts and turns, and get the most power we can out of every stroke. Additionally, the majority of our control in the water tends to come from our core, and the resistance weighted exercises can provide are some of the best ways to work towards increasing that core strength. The strain of lifting also works to increase both muscle and bone density, increasing the durability of our bodies, and actually making us less prone to injury than we otherwise would be. We’ve all seen a teammate have to get out of practice in the middle of a set to sit and ice a shoulder, taking some extra care outside of the water can help us prevent a similar fate for ourselves.
The most important thing to remember as a swimmer- and with everything else- is to act with intent. The goal is not to lift as much weight as possible, or to get your body to look a certain way, but to improve your swimming. Here are some important things to keep in mind:
Higher reps are good for helping to build endurance, while lower reps and higher weight can be beneficial for sprinting.
Weight training with a lifting belt may help you use more weight short term, but not using one helps increase your core strength.
Lower weight and good technique is far more important than being able to poorly lift heavier weights, for both risk of injury and actual strength development.