While is true that the best way to become better at an activity is to spend time actually doing it; in some cases, swimming more does not always translate to an increase in performance. What many swimmers fail to focus on are the things that can be done outside the pool that can lead to significant increases in performance, well-being and happiness.
The following activities focus on what you can work on outside of the pool when you are not swimming that will make you a stronger swimmer!
1. Core Strength
Developing a strong core (abs, back, hips, glutes) will allow you to maintain proper posture and balance in the water. If you increase your core’s stability, it will keep your body’s resistance at a minimum while keeping a higher body position. A solid bodyline will keep you positioned high in the water as you start to fatigue, and yield a large gain in overall swimming performance.
2. Weight Training
Hit the weights! Resistance training is an effective way to gain strength that will support your swimming. Compound movements like squats, and pull-ups are a fantastic way to engage the entire body and support everything you do in the water. It’s not necessary to gain a ton of mass to see the impact on your swimming, but being well conditioned in the weight room can dramatically increase performance and lessen your chances for injury in the pool.
3. Flexibility and Mobility
Yoga, foam rolling, and regular stretching increases flexibility. When you have an ‘off-day’, don’t swim. Instead, try an active recovery routine that focuses on the full range of motion through your joints. A foam rolling routine can improve your mobility. Tight hip flexors are common in swimmers and negatively impact posture and the ability to flex your hips. This imbalance can cause your body to recruit different muscles during the day and lead to pain and injuries.
Nutrition can seem complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. Remember, healthful eating does not mean eating perfectly. It’s about making more nutritious choices most of the time, nourishing your body with real food and enjoying the occasional treat along the way! Keep an eye on what you put into your body before, during, and after working out!
5. Rest and Recovery
A day of not working out or swimming can be the best workout day of your week! The work you put into your training routine is only as good as your recovery; if you body doesn’t have time to rest, then it doesn’t have time to repair. This can lead to injury, fatigue, and a decrease in performance. Overtraining is a common cause of injury for swimmers, so make sure you vary the way you train and take the rest you need to be at your best!