By prioritizing the right core exercises for swimmers, you can develop rapidly, becoming a pro in no time. Swimming goes beyond jumping into the pool – it combines adequate knowledge, good nutrition, and proper exercising.
Except for non-professional swimmers, the significance of core exercises in building core strength and endurance can’t be ignored. The quality of these core exercises can stir up your swimming speed and capacity.
A robust core is fundamental for a successful professional career. Therefore, you will achieve your long-term goals with core exercises in your routine. This article discusses all you need to know about core exercises for swimmers.
The 6 Fantastic Benefits of Executing the Right Core Exercises for Swimmers
A well-rounded fitness routine should include core exercises. Swimming engages most of the body. The core is more like the body’s center point – a set of muscles in your trunk.
Creating adequate time for core exercises, rather than neglecting them, will tone up your core muscles for more performance. Core exercises are not without their benefits; the following benefits should spur you to take them seriously.
1. Increases Your Flexibility and Strength
Swimming requires high hydrodynamics, and you can only perform strokes conveniently with high body flexibility. Core exercises can loosen the muscles and ligaments in your trunk and back.
They lower tension and allow more freedom of movement. As your core muscles get worked, your body strength improves significantly. Your endurance level is buffed up.
2. Works Your Abs
The core muscles are those found in the trunk of the body. They include the rectus abdominis (six-packs), transversus abdominis, and three other muscles. These muscles are basically for support, coordination, and stability.
Core exercises are targeted at these muscles to strengthen and increase their flexibility. They flatten your abs, allowing you to look fit and develop a swimmer’s body.
3. Stabilizes Your Lower Back
The lower back carries the weight of the trunk while connecting your lower body. Performing sufficient core exercises will help strengthen your lower back and reduce stress and tension. Ultimately, increased strength translates to better stability.
4. Enhances Your Coordination and Balance
With your core muscles perfectly in shape, you can easily balance yourself in water. Also, you will find it easier to coordinate your body properly in line with your selected stroke.
Besides, engaging in core exercises frequently can improve your mental awareness and coordination. Consequently, it facilitates excellent mental health.
5. Minimizes Injuries
Cramps are normal if you do not exercise your body before swimming. You are most likely to experience these cramps in your trunk region. Core exercises will reduce the likelihood of pain and injury.
Taking some core exercises can loosen up your muscles and get you ready for swimming. They can warm you up and tone your body for the action. Once you are fit physically, then you are good to go.
6. Improves Your Breathing
While you perform breathing exercises for swimmers, core exercises can expand your lung capacity and improve blood circulation. This is due to their effect on the diaphragm, causing you to exhale/inhale deeply.
With the direct connection between the heart and lungs, the heart is also exercised. It pumps fresher oxygen-rich blood to every body part for increased overall swimming performance.
The 11 Core Exercises for Swimmers to Start Doing Now
As an aspiring pro swimmer, you should prioritize the right core exercises and doing them correctly. Although there are many core exercises available, you will improve faster with any combination of the ones discussed below.
The plank is easy to do and common as it is an effective exercise to build your core muscles. It is similar to the push-up activity. It has many variations, all of which still do the job of working your core.
- Do the starting position – your body resting on your forearms (elbows bent) and toes.
- Your body should be as straight as possible for effectiveness.
- Hold this position for about 10 secs or more if you can.
- You can repeat many times but always take breaks to rest and breathe in-between.
For variations, you can balance with a leg or hand but not both at the same time. You can try the high plank where you rest on your palms and hands kept straight. Furthermore, you can perform the side planks as pictured below.
Below is a video explaining the plank exercise.
2. Abdominal crunches
The abdominal crunches are popular, and it does a great job in improving your core muscles. Advanced swimmers may want to hold a medicine ball or dumbbell to the chest for an extra challenge.
- Lie on your back and bend your knees about 14 to 19 inches from your butts.
- Keep both knees close and put your hands behind your head.
- Curl your torso slowly around your abdominal area and exhale simultaneously
- Continue for about five times or more. Ensure to take breaks and do not overdo it.
Are you still finding it hard to understand? See the video below.
The superman position is another fantastic option best used to complement other exercises or light warmups. You shouldn’t find it difficult to execute and include in your fitness routine.
- Lie face-down on your mat with your hands extended ahead and legs straight down.
- Maintain a neutral head position.
- Slowly raise your hands and legs a few inches to contract your lower back muscles.
- Contract your abs in this position.
- Don’t stop breathing. You can go on to about four seconds.
Below is a video describing the superman exercise.
4. V-sit position
You might find this one fairly challenging, but it is worth a try. It is also effective, and it does enough to flex your core muscles.
- Sit on the mat, contract your core (abdominal) muscles, and lift both legs slowly to an angle of 45.
- Stretch your arms forward such that it reaches your shin area (don’t hold your legs).
- Hold this position as long as you can. Return slowly after some seconds and repeat.
The following video describes this exercise better.
5. Russian twists
The Russian twists can aid your freestyle swimming even more. You can include carrying a swim dumbbell or heavy object during the exercise to add more difficulty.
- Sit on a mat or bench and bend your knees at about 60 degrees.
- Rotate your upper body from the left to the right and vice versa. Both hands must be moving in the direction you face.
Take a look at the video below for precise
You will find the x-crushes even more interesting, but it is a little challenging too. I advise that you take it slowly.
- Lie flat (on your back) on the floor with your body resembling an “X.”
- Lift your opposite leg and arm to touch themselves.
- Put them back on the floor and do the same for the other hand and leg.
- You can start with a batch of five to ten and more.
Here is a quick practical video of the x-crunch exercise.
This exercise is simple to execute, and it works the muscles of the abdominal area and the lower back with the hips. Interestingly, it has a significant effect on your hamstrings and buttocks (glutes).
- Lay flat on your back and bend your knees such that it resembles angle 45.
- Keep both legs apart by a foot and your hands flat beside your body.
- Place your palms on the floor.
- While squeezing your buttocks, raise your hips to keep your trunk in line with your thighs.
- Do this for about thirty seconds before returning to the initial position slowly.
You can try some tougher variations for extra intensity. One way is to bend your knees to angle 90 or use one leg to lift your body. You may also use swim stretch cords attached to the floor as resistance.
See the following video for more understanding.
8. Flutter kicks
You can perform this exercise anywhere, just like those explained above. It mimics and improves your freestyle kicks. It can help strengthen your thigh/hip muscles, and you can place some weight on your leg for more challenges.
- Lie on your back and extend your legs.
- Place both hands under your buttocks.
- Like in flutter kicks, move your legs alternately for about 40 seconds or depending on how long you can go.
Below is a video explaining how to execute the flutter kicks exercise.
9. Bicycle crunches
This is widely regarded as an effective core exercise, and it really works on the abs. It is similar to abdominal crunches. It mimics the way you ride your bicycle, and it can improve your flip turn efficiency.
- Lie on your back and bend your knees.
- Put your hands behind your head.
- Now, lift a leg, bringing it toward your chest while stretching the other.
- Simultaneously, raise your shoulder (turn your upper body) towards the direction of the stretched leg.
- Repeat for the other leg and shoulder and continue the cycle slowly.
Check the video below for an accurate understanding of bicycle crunches.
10. Bird dog
You may not have seen this particular exercise, but it does the job effectively. At the same time, it is a bit challenging, and you shouldn’t put it at the bottom of your to-do list.
- Start on all fours.
- Maintain a moderate width between both hands and also between both knees.
- Squeeze your core muscles and extend your left leg straight behind your body.
- Concurrently, extend the opposite (right) arm forward.
- Repeat severally as desired and also alternate with the right arm and leg.
You can watch the video below for more understanding.
11. Mountain climbing
While the mountain climbing exercise works your abs, it also targets your lower back muscles equally. Your ankle flexibility, hips, and shoulders are also improved. It is among the effective core exercises, but it may not seem easy at the start.
- Facing down, rest your weight on your palms and toes.
- Squeeze your abdominal muscles and bring a knee towards your chest.
- Return that knee to its original position and bring the other knee as well.
- Repeat slowly till you get better at it.
- Ideally, you should alternate both legs smoothly and faster.
You can watch the video below for more details.
Do you have some puzzling areas concerning core exercises for swimmers or missed out details? You are better off taking a look at some of the frequently asked questions I answered below.
Can swimming strengthen core muscles?
Yes. Swimming is an exercise that engages the core muscles. However, you do not have to enter the pool every time to strengthen your core muscles. Also, if you are after performance, you should take core exercises seriously.
Should core exercises be done every day?
It is not compulsory to do core exercises every day. All you have to do is fix them properly into your routine. You do not want to exhaust yourself or overwork your core muscles. Ideally, it would be best if you took a day break between each session.
Having understood the benefits of developed core muscles, you should prioritize core exercises as a swimmer. You shouldn’t do just any exercise but those focused on the core muscles. Furthermore, they should be done rightly.
Consequently, I have provided the top core exercises for swimmers and detailed procedures for each. You can combine any of these exercises for more effectiveness. However, ensure not to overwork your body to avoid injuries and strain.
Should you have comments, questions or suggestions, kindly send them via the comment section. You can also help other swimmers improve their core muscles by sharing this article. Simply use the social media buttons on the page.