What Muscles are Worked In Swimming?

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Helpful article. I’m a 71 year old lap swimmer. Thanks

Larry Lare Crow Nelson November 12, 2023

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Swimming is a full-body workout that engages a wide range of muscles, making it an excellent choice for those seeking to stay fit and build strength. In this article, we'll discuss the specific muscles that swimming trains. Understanding the muscle groups involved in swimming will help you appreciate the holistic benefits of this sport.

Swimmer's Muscles Worked:

Swimming is a highly effective exercise that targets various muscle groups. Here's a breakdown of the muscles worked during a typical swim, from a holistic perspective:

Latissimus Dorsi (Lats): These large back muscles are responsible for the powerful pulling motion in swimming. The lats extend and flex your arms during each stroke, providing the propulsion needed to move through the water.

Deltoids (Shoulders): Both the anterior (front) and posterior (rear) deltoid muscles are heavily engaged when swimming. They are essential for stabilizing the shoulders and generating force during arm movements.

Pectoral Muscles (Pecs): The pectoral muscles are located in the chest and are responsible for the arm's forward motion in the water. They help create a balanced and efficient stroke.

Triceps Brachii (Triceps): These muscles on the back of your upper arm play a crucial role in extending your forearm and pushing water behind you during your stroke.

Biceps Brachii (Biceps): While less prominent, the biceps work to flex your forearm and create a fluid motion during the recovery phase of your stroke.

Quadriceps (Quads): The kicking component of swimming engages your quadriceps. These muscles in the front of your thighs help maintain your body's horizontal position in the water.

Hamstrings: Located in the back of your thighs, the hamstrings help counterbalance the work of your quads and provide stability during the kicking phase.

Gluteus Maximus (Glutes): These are the largest muscles in your buttocks and are responsible for propelling your body forward during the kicking motion.

Freestyle Swimmer's Muscles Worked

When focusing on the freestyle stroke, it's important to understand which specific muscles are targeted:

Shoulders: The deltoids, along with the rotator cuff muscles, are heavily involved in the circular motion of your arms during the freestyle stroke.

Back: The latissimus dorsi, as well as the trapezius and rhomboid muscles, play a crucial role in stabilizing your upper body and generating power.

Chest: The pectoral muscles assist in the extension and flexion of your arms as they pull through the water.

Arms: Both the triceps and biceps contribute to the coordinated arm movements of the freestyle stroke.

Legs: Your quadriceps, hamstrings, and gluteus maximus muscles are essential for maintaining the proper body position and providing propulsion through the kick.

To Wrap Up

Swimming, and in particular the freestyle stroke, offers a comprehensive full-body workout. It engages various muscle groups, promoting strength, endurance, and cardiovascular fitness. Understanding the specific muscles worked during swimming can help you appreciate the benefits of this sport and tailor your training to meet your fitness goals. Whether you're a competitive swimmer or someone looking for a low-impact yet highly effective exercise, swimming is a fantastic choice for overall fitness and muscle development.

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Helpful article. I’m a 71 year old lap swimmer. Thanks

Larry Lare Crow Nelson

Leave a comment