Swimming Exercises: Timing, Efficient Pulling, and Stroke-Specific Exercises
Swimming Tips by Dan Daly
DALY Tip 1: The breaststroke pull is more of a chest fly scull than a pull. Matching the rhythm and timing here with a push and core, and some additional leg driven upper body.
A1 Squat Jump to Streamline - 4x6
A2 1 Arm Kettllebell Clean - 4x5 each side
A3 Suspension Trainer Pike to Push Up - 4 x 10
Rest 2-3 minutes between rounds
DALY Tip 2: Efficient pulling for healthy elbows:
Do your elbows hurt when you swim?
Sound on for tips to improve the way you recruit and sequence the larger more propulsive muscles of your pull, and offset excessive stress down the chain to weaker joints and muscles.
Gym exercises, like dryland cord work, can help improve shoulder mechanics, and retrain the functional sequence of muscle recruitment.
Train and develop the coordination and strength of pulling with your lats, from the shoulder joint, for a stronger more propulsive pull, with less stress on weaker joints down stream.
DALY Tip 3: What types of exercises are best for each stroke?
Consider the planes of movement, line of pull, and posture of your stroke.
Breaststroke and butterfly are lower body dominant, creating propulsion at the hip with an undulating pattern around a short axis perpendicular to the body.
Freestyle and backstroke are more upper body dominant, creating propulsion through rotation through the core across opposite arm and leg, around a vertical axis through the body.
While a good dryland program is likely full body, covering all the big lifts and joint actions, an emphasis on hip dominant patterns for short axis strokes and rotation for long axis strokes may provide extra specificity.
DALY Tip 4:
The four stroke pulls have many similarities but also distinct differences when programming their development.
The short axis strokes, butterfly and breaststroke are driven with an undulating hip and bilateral pull. While the long axis strokes, backstroke and freestyle are driven through rotation and a unilateral arm pull.
Resisted pulling using dryland cords is a great way to develop strength in these patterns, also providing immediate feedback on technique and position.