How to Complement Your Swimming Fitness Program at Home 2

Swimming is your favorite sport.  In this article, we will explore a few ways to complement your routine at home or on vacation if you do not have access to a pool, or if you just want to step up to the next level.

Mental training: A strong body is important, but a strong mind is arguably even more so.  The Tokyo Olympics definitively showcased the importance of mental training both ways.  The strong mind and resilience of these athletes was often amazing, but under pressure, if you do not feel good in your mind it is very hard to perform.  Even at the lowest level, your mind set is key.  Starting a fitness program might be a helpful way to get out of a crisis, but you need first to acknowledge and recognize the problem, and have your mind ready to deal with it.  It might be useful to utilize any resources available to you (from apps, to books, to counselors, to friends) to get your mind on track.  Learning how to calm our mind, breathe and be positive can only help.

Dryland training: Dryland training does not mean two hours of heavy lifting in the gym every other day.  Swimmers mostly need flexibility and mobility.  Being able to move through the correct motion of a stroke is the first step to mastering it.  However, we cannot properly execute those movements without a full range of motion.  Use this time at home to work on increasing flexibility and mobility in areas like your shoulders, back, and ankles that are crucial to success in swimming.  For resistance training, those elastic bands are great for simulating the feel of the water, and can be great visual aids to train the different strokes.  For core training, a yoga ball offers a multitude of simple exercises which will engage your core muscles and improve your balance on the water.

Cardio training: Endurance is often the first thing to go during a period of downtime, and is a difficult and lengthy process to build back up again.  Don’t we all know that after those pool closures last year!  Because of this, maintaining an effective cardio schedule is crucial.  Most of us build our endurance in the pool, but if not available, running, cycling, climbing stairs, staying active should be enough to maintain endurance during your time off.

Posture: Very few people have perfect posture, and most don’t realize the importance of good posture for swimmers.  Good swimming is all about being in perfect alignment from your head to your toes.  Schedule a small chunk of time each day to focus on making improvements and you will be astounded by the results.

Sleep: Between juggling with all the chores and commitments of a fully life, it can be hard to get the full-night’s rest you need to perform at your best.  Make sure to create good bedtime habits, and sometimes give priority to sleep over more activities and even going to workouts.

Nutrition: Nutrition is often the hardest part of any sport to nail, as it does require some preparation and planning for before, during and after workouts to prevent nutrient deficiencies and optimize performance.  On our website under the section “Swimmer Resources and Webinar”, there is a link to listen to the Kirsten Lauritzen webinar which she gave in May, on how to optimize your nutrition to be ready to perform at your best.  Dr. Kirstin Lauritzen is a Master Swimmer with the Oregon Tankers, and holds a Masters in Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine.  It is worth listening to.  It can be hard to find time during your regularly scheduled busy life to think about and plan the perfect meals to fuel yourself for success, but why not experiment with finding the most optimal food combinations for YOU?

Video Review: Whether this means watching video of yourself swimming or that of swimmers with “perfect” form, video review can be a powerful tool for swimmers to get that extra little bit of understanding they need to make a correction really click.  Have you been watching the Olympics?  Did you get some pointers from those under, above, sideways footages of the swimmers in all strokes? I did.

Keep swimming and maybe incorporate a few of those additional tips in your home routine.  You might have to experiment with what works best for you and your lifestyle.  Everybody is different and, as always, it must be enjoyable to YOU.

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