Breakwater Strength for Swimmers
Objective: This land-based program will make you more fit, a stronger swimmer, and it will reduce the risk of injury. If swimming is your main or only fitness activity, you will have trouble becoming a stronger swimmer, and you may be headed for an injury, especially if you only swim one of the strokes (freestyle, for example).
Strength. To increase strength you need to challenge your muscles with progressive resistance. This is difficult in the water because the resistance does not vary by much. And to complicate matters, while swimming you have to deal with the issues of breathing and performing complex whole-body movements - which distracts from a focus on strength. The best way to build functional strength for swimming is to get out of the water and perform movements that mimic swimming, using your body weight or other tools like bands or medicine balls to provide progressively greater resistance.
Injury Prevention. As is the case with many other sports, swimming alone does not provide a complete or balanced workout. While swimming freestyle your legs move through a very small range of motion, and your arms mainly just pull in towards your chest. If you repeat these movements thousands of times during a workout, your body will become unbalanced. The muscles you use for the pull become tighter and shortened, and their opposing muscles become elongated and weaker. This can leave you with an unstable shoulder joint - an injury waiting to happen when you move or lift something the "wrong" way. By working both your "swimming muscles" and the muscles that oppose them, your joints will remain stable, you will be much less likely to be injured, your posture both in and out of the water will improve, and your swimming will improve.
Training Method: This workout is performed in an exercise room, with minimal equipment that will vary from week to week. Every workout begins with a warm-up and ends with a cool-down. In between, you will perform a variety of exercises designed to build functional strength for swimming, strengthen your core, stabilize your shoulders, and prevent swimming overuse injuries.
Equipment: Sneakers, comfortable workout apparel, water, and a sense of humor.
Coach: Bill Steele, USA Triathlon Certified Coach (USAT), American Swim Coach Association (ASCA), Triathlete and Open Water Racer (Alcatraz AG champion, 2007)
Cost: $120 for Mount Auburn Club members, $150 for others
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