Swimming is a physically demanding sport that requires a proper warm-up to help prevent injury and to achieve peak performance. An ample warm-up helps to increase blood flow to the muscles, increases your heart rate and breathing rate, and it prepares the body for the demands of your swim. A proper warm up is often overlooked by many, however it’s a major component to having a good workout.
Here are some tips to have an effective warm-up in your swimming.
Start With an Activation Movement Outside of the Water
A swimmers warm up should consist of movement before jumping in the water to get the heart rate up and loosen up the body. Do some dynamic stretching: Dynamic stretching involves moving your body through a range of motion while stretching. This can include leg swings, arm circles, jumping jacks, and lunges. The aim of this is to prepare the body for the load it’s about to take on throughout the duration of your workout.
There’s nothing worse for your body than getting out of bed, making your way over to the pool and jumping straight into your workout. Make sure your arms and shoulders are loose and you’re feeling good.
Start With a General Warm Up
When you first hop in, don’t immediately begin your workout. The first thing you should be doing when you get in the water is swimming light and easy. Let your body get used to the water. You shouldn’t be doing anything too strenuous or demanding initially. The goal and purpose of this is to prepare the body for the stress you’re about to induce upon it.
So take as much time as you need, practice some stroke drills: stroke drills help to improve technique and can also serve as a warm-up. There are plenty of drills to choose from and they cover all 4 strokes. Examples include kick drills and pull drills.
Gradually increase the intensity
Gradually increase the intensity: As you progress through your warm-up, incrementally increase the intensity of your exercises to help prepare your body for the workout. Slowly get your heart rate higher and make sure to rest when you need it.
It's important that you remember to listen to your body and not push yourself too hard during the warm-up. The goal of the warm-up is to prepare your body for the workout, not exhaust it. It's also a good idea to consult with a coach or trainer to develop a warm-up routine that is tailored to your specific needs and goals.