Fitness for Swimming

Science can help fine tune the athlete, as in the end even a few hundredths of a second often decide the result of races. An exercise physiologist, strength coach or fitness trainer uses the science of muscle physiology and training to prepare the swimmer physically for their competition.

There are many aspects to a race, and the training needs to address each of these. The muscles should be prepared to enable the quickest reaction time at the start. The swimmer must have the strength and power for a powerful explosive start, and quick and powerful turn, while also possessing the stamina (aerobic endurance) to maintain their speed in the throughout the race.

The importance of each of these physical aspects of the swimmer depends on the race distance and technique. See our discussion on the fitness components for swimming.

Strength training should address the specific muscles used, such as the gluteus maximus and quadriceps which are important at the start and at each turn. The shoulder, chest and back muscles - which generate about 85% of the swimmers power, are also critical. While in the kick, the hamstring and quadricep muscles maintain body balance and the horizontal body position.

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