Swimming Exercises: Core and Shoulder Exercises for Faster Swimming

Swimming Tips by Dan Daly

DALY Tip 1:  Core Stability and Shoulder Mobility

You can’t shoot a cannon out of a canoe. The more stable your core (canoe) the more mobile and powerful your cannons (arms and legs)

These dryland drills combine core stability with shoulder mobility setting the foundation for a powerful upper body stroke.

Suggestion for all exercises below: 4 sets of 6 repetitions each side.

Remember to do it slowly and with full focus. If 6 repetitions each side seems too hard and you cannot do all repetitions with good quality, we suggest fewer repetitions. Quality over quantity!

Dan Daly showing an stability exerciseDan Daly showing shoulder mobility exerciseDan Daly showing a core exercise 

DALY Tip 2:  Cross Body Stabilisation

Building off of the 2 beat kick pattern, you can begin increasing your kick and stroke tempo, placing greater demands on your cross body stabilisation and power, loading one side, while swinging or counterbalancing with the other.

Our bodies produce force by loading and transferring energy from opposite hip to opposite shoulder. Walking, swimming, throwing, all involve loading one side, and transferring force through rotation to the opposing free side. Here are several loading examples you can do in the gym that enhance your ability to alternate force left to right through rotation.



DALY Tip 3:  Dive and turns

Dan Daly jumping into the water

Power up your starts and turns, and tap into your inherent athleticism by adding more jumping and plyometric exercises to your dryland routine.

Dan Daly showing how to jump far

Dan Danly doing a flip turn

Dan Daly showing how to jump high

DALY Tip 4: Thoracic Mobility Drills to help improve rotation and symmetry in your freestyle 

Da Daly showing how to do exercise for shoulder mobility

Dan Daly showing another exercise for shoulder mobility using a stretch band pull across his chest
Dan Daly showing another exercise for shoulder mobility while laying flat on the ground
DALY Tip 5:  3 Core Positions every swimmer should master

Balance, buoyancy, and streamline are grounded in a stable core. These three core stability patterns assess your ability to balance and stabilize on your side, front, and back, essential for feeling balanced in all 4 competitive strokes, as well as rolling and transferring force side to side in freestyle.

Can you perform these 3 movements each leg and side for up to :30?


DALY Tip 6:  Shoulder prep exercises to cover all your bases for healthy and resilient swimmers shoulders

Downward dog - Great for improving overhead position, and teaching the scapula to rotate up with the arm. Push into the floor the entire time. 

Band Pull Parts - The posterior shoulder is often under developed and weak relative to the more dominate medial and anterior portions. Add some posterior and upper back work. 

Bottoms up Carries - Add more carry variations to your routine, especially bottoms up versions. Squeeze and pinch the handle to fire up your  rotator cuff. 

Banded Chest Press - Pressing is not all about the chest. Add a light band around your wrists to increase torque and external rotation at the shoulder with lighter pressing.



DALY Tip 7:  Anti-Core Training for Swimmers

 Stop lying on your back and squeezing your core, and start training movements that prepare your core to fire reactively, resist movement, hold position, and transfer powerful force between your hips and shoulders. 


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