Not everyone has access to a pool 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. So if you aren't able to practice swimming regularly, how are you supposed to improve at this highly competitive sport? The good news is that you don't need around-the-clock pool access to improve your swimming ability. There are dozens of land-based exercises, drills and activities that would also help condition your body for this sport.
Swimming relies heavily on the upper leg muscles, known as the quadriceps. Whether it's the freestyle, butterfly, sidestroke, backstroke, or practically any other style, your leg muscles are ultimately responsible for generating the “thrust” that propels you through the water, which is why it's important to condition your quadriceps.
Squats offer an excellent way to build stronger quadriceps. While standing upright, place your hands either in front of your body or by your side and lower your body until your thighs are almost parallel to the ground, at which point you should return to the standing position and repeat. If you want to boost the intensity of your squats, hold a dumbbell in each hand while performing them.
Going jogging or running will also help condition your body to make you a better swimmer. Swimming is a fast-paced, aerobic exercise that requires endurance and stamina. By running and performing other bouts of cardiovascular exercise on a regular basis, you'd build up your muscles’ endurance.
Michael Phelps, Olympic swimmer and holder of a record 22 Olympic medals, emphasized the importance of running in an interview with Short List. “ I run a lot. It was something I really started to do intensely before Beijing , and I have really seen the benefits of it, ” said Phelps.
The plank is a powerful core-building workout that anyone can perform from the comfort of their own home. Since swimming actively engages the core with each stroke, incorporating this exercise into your normal workout routine is a great way to improve your swimming ability.
To perform the plank, stretch your body down on the floor in a modified pushup position. Rather than holding your body up using your hands, though, you'll want to rest your forearms horizontally across the floor while forming a ball with your fists. Keep the toes of your feet and forearms on the floor while maintaining a straight back and hold this position for as long as possible.
You can also perform side planks to engage the obliques. Side planks are performed by turning your body over to either the left or right side and resting a single forearm on the floor.