A Guide To Strength Training For Swimmers

Level up your pool game.


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Swimming laps is already a great form of exercise. But if you want to swim faster, trainer Jennifer Conroyd says it’ll help to focus on your delts, biceps, triceps, pecs, and core outside the pool. Here, experts share strength training for swimmers moves that can up your game.


Bird Dog Plank

Conroyd says a strong core will help you maintain proper posture in the water.

- Lift into high plank, hands shoulder-width apart, legs back, feet hip-distance apart.

- Extend right arm, left leg, 5 seconds.

- Repeat on other side.

Alternate for 3 sets.

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Upright Row

Retro Fitness trainer Dan Jonhenry recommends this move for a stronger stroke.

- Feet shoulder-width apart.

- Hold two dumbbells or a kettlebell.

- Pull weight up your body to chest.

- Elbows extend out.

- Lower with control.

Do 15 reps, 3 sets.


Shoulder Press

Jonhenry also likes this exercise to target the shoulders, traps, and triceps.

- Push two dumbbells above your head.

- Once up, touch dumbbells gently together.

- Keep slight bend in elbows.

- Return to start.

Do 3 sets, 15 reps.


Shoulder Fly

Here’s another exercise for the delts, from Jonhenry.

- Stand, hold dumbbells in front of you.

- Lead with elbows as you lift weights out to your sides.

- Keep arms flexed, core tight.

- Return to neutral.

Do 15 reps, 3 sets.

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Trainer Josh Schlottman says this will hit the lats, chest, and triceps.

- Feet hip-width apart. Resistance band hip height.

- Lean forward, slight knee bend.

- Keep arms straight, pull band downward.

- Once hand is below hips, return to start.

Do 15 reps, 4 sets per side.



Club Pilates trainer Cara Bonney says these strengthen the glutes, which power you through the water.

- Lie down, knees bent, feet hip-width apart.

- Engage glutes and core, lift hips off floor.

- Keep your weight on your shoulder blades.

- Lower.

Do 8-10 reps, 2-3 sets.


Wood Chop

Trainer Rob Whitfield says this exercise will help you move through the water with ease.

- Hold dumbbell both hands by right thigh.

- Twist to side, straighten arms above head. Weight goes across body.

- Pivot to face weight.

- Return to start.

Do 10-15 reps per side.