Swimming as a sport has come a very long way since the days of Olympic swimmers struggling in the freezing waters of the Mediterranean. These great improvements in the conditions in which the sport takes place have led way for it to be almost a requirement for strength and conditioning for an athlete to compete. Quite a large amount of swimmers don’t utilise weight training and that is quite a mistake if you are a serious. It is recommended that you support your swimming with a variety of different exercises.
It’s difficult without weights
Muscle is built through adding load or stress onto the muscles. Swimming does not actually create a great amount of stress. Most of the stress is from the repetitive movements which are done while you swim.
Recent research has shown that female swimmers have the lowest level of bone density of all athletes. From this research, it appears that the movements performed in swimming may increase a swimmers risk of osteoporosis, if not combined with weight training or other exercise.
The human body is not actually made to move fast in water. In fact, even the smallest and weakest of fishes can swim 10 times faster than the fastest human, and for a much longer amount of time too. While swimming uses a large number of muscles within the body, training these muscles with weights helps you to become faster, more efficient and better in the water.
Weight training strengthens the core
There is little support for the body in water so many people swim with the torso hanging in the water and their head up. This is very inefficient and also it is bad for the back and breathing. Having a weak back is often the cause of these issues.
The repetitive movements required for swimming greatly increases the risk of injuring joints and muscles. Using weights and cross training can provide the required difference in movements that the muscles need. This is also handy to help loosen the muscles. On the other hand, swimming after a weight training workout will help to loosen the muscles.
Good exercises that work the core include squats and dead lift. Now, these may seem more like exercises that a power lifter would perform, but they’re very good for swimmers too. Some swimmers that I know personally have enjoyed the weight training side of things that they have taken up cross-fit or powerlifting as sport alongside swimming. Website and forums such as http://powerliftingbelts.org has been a great resource for many of my friends who have gotten in this. Professional Olympic-level swimmers often have chiselled body’s because of this.