The purpose of stretching is to protect the swimmer’s entire body, head, neck, shoulders, back, arms, core and legs. Complimentary body weight dry-land exercises help focus the swimmer and are located in Part 2 below.
Caution: If at any time you feel uncomfortable with exercise, stop immediately.
PART 1: STRETCHING – Daily
- STREAMLINE STRETCH – FRONTAL VIEW: Standing with feet spread apart at shoulder width, eyes look forward, arms extend over the head with biceps squeezing the ears. Stacked hands are flat with thumb overlap. Fingers together and thumb tucked into hand. Stretch with tight core.
- STREAMLINE STRETCH – PROFILE VIEW: Streamline focus’s on body posture and head position. Arms and hands are vertical with fingers pointing to the ceiling.
- HANDS – FINGERTIP VIEW: Hand control and a flat hand position for the front catch in swimming. Fingers rigid with thumb tucked in.
- HANGING STRETCH – FRONTAL VIEW: Reach straight overhead and grab pull-up bar with both hands at shoulder width or slightly wider. Lat muscles stretch slightly decompressing the lower spine. When performing hangs, it is important to keep proper form.
PART 2: EXERCISES
The following dryland exercises will help you gain better control of your body and are related to pool swimming work.
These exercises are designed to help you achieve proper form, which will lead to increased strength. Set your camera to video mode and take videos of your form from both the front and the side. Begin by recording three repetitions of each exercise.
- VERTICAL JUMP: Vertical jumping is an exercise for building fast twitch muscle fibers, endurance and strength. Feet are placed shoulder width apart with arms at side and fingertips pointing down. Legs squat down at the start with knee angle approximately 90 degrees. Arms raise over the head as the legs create upward thrust and the knees drive towards chest with arms and finger tips pointing up. During recovery legs absorb the jump and reload for the next cycle. The ability to jump better than an opponent can mean the difference in scoring or not, and your team winning the event and meet. Prior to a swim race, this dry-land drill may be done behind the blocks to “warm up” the legs for the start and turns.
- FEET FLEX: Foot/ Ankle flexibility is important in streamlining for swimming. The athlete sits with hands at side legs extended and knees flat. Feet flex rotation from toes vertical to flexing toes to horizontal. Feet need to be symmetrical and toes can curl down at limit.
- STREAMLINE SIT-UPS – SUPINE START POSITION: Body in streamline position with arms extended overhead, eyes looking up, core tight, knees straight and toes pointed. At the start the athlete engages the core abdominal muscles to raise the torso from supine to sitting position and then back down again without moving the legs. Arms stay in streamline position with the biceps squeeze the head.
- ALTERNATE KICK: – SUPINE START POSITION: Body in streamline position with arms extended overhead, eyes looking up, core tight, knees straight and toes pointed. At the start the athlete engages the core abdominal muscles to raise the legs to approximately 20 degrees and begin alternate kicking. Important to have back flat to the floor, knees locked straight with toes pointed.
- ARM SPIN – ALTERNATE 1 R/L: This standing spin drill is performed at 75% speed to help find core balance and rotation in the shoulder and arms. Feet positioned at shoulder width, right arm rotates forward and left arm reverses with rotating core movement while maintaining body streamline. See Alternate 2 L/R.
- ARM SPIN – ALTERNATE 2 L/R: This drill features opposite rotation to balance the shoulders. Standing 75% rotational speed drill. The left arm rotates forward while the right arm reverses with rotating core movement while maintaining body streamline. This drill is paired and is complimentary with Alternate 1 R/L.
- ARM SPIN – FREESTYLE 1: Standing speed building body control exercise starts at 75%. Standing spin with starting with feet at shoulder width. Head bends forward while arms rotate in circular freestyle pattern. Arms bend slightly at the elbow replicating freestyle swimming motion. Wrist bends forward with flat hands and thumbs touch thighs during each arm rotation. See Freestyle 2.
- ARM SPIN – FREESTYLE 2: Speed building exercise at 75% increasing to 100%. Drill is same as Freestyle 1 but at full arm rotational speed. At the start, prior to spin rotation arms are engaged with elbows slightly bent and hand flat. Rotation increases to 100% speed. Prior to racing, this dry-land drill may be done behind the blocks to “warm up” the arms.
- STREAMLINE: Body streamline is the most important part of swimming and is the foundation for all swimming strokes. Standing with feet spread apart at shoulder width, eyes look forward, arms extend over the head with biceps squeezing the ears. Stacked hands are flat with thumb overlap. Fingers together and thumb tucked into hand. Stretch with tight core.
Caution: If at any time you are uncomfortable with exercise or feel pain, immediately stop the exercise and discuss with your trainer.