How can cross-training help swimmers?
Despite what you might think, there isn’t just one road to peak fitness. Using cross-training to enhance your performance in the water boosts both your physical and mental game. This can be done for overall results or with specific goals in mind, such as increasing flexibility, power, core strength, or endurance.
Switching up your training can be a powerful tool for the mind. Swimmers often struggle with the effects of swimming monotonous laps year round. This can be especially true with young children and teenagers. When your training is varied, you’re going to see a boost in results, meaning a boost in your motivation!
Here are several ways you can use cross-training for top form and peak results in the water.
Flexibility and mobility are often overlooked in swimming. By increasing your range of motion, lengthening your muscle tissue and stabilising your joints, your body has greater integrity and strength.
It also does wonders for your body and breath awareness. Practising with these improvements in mind will help you fine-tune your technique for greater performance in the water.
For younger children especially, the benefits are astounding. Thanks to enhanced body awareness from precision movements such as flipping, tumbling, and twisting, it’s easier to recognise what your body is doing wrong and fix your strokes. Plus, turns are likely to improve or, at the very least, become much easier to learn.
Other advantages include developing incredible core strength. The core is crucial to support large muscle groups to help power the body through the water. For proper technique, your core needs to be able to simultaneously sustain the propulsive force that is coming from the arms and the legs. It plays a central role in keeping the body in a stable streamline position.
Even when cross-training, it’s still important to vary your training. Incorporate long, gentle runs to build endurance. This helps develop the highly efficient and resilient muscles that swimming demands. The physical and mental conditioning of long runs also prepares you for similar trials in the pool. Other training sessions should include time on the track to incorporate speed and explosive power.
One of the major advantages of playing football is that it puts very little strain on the shoulders while allowing you to develop your overall conditioning. Generally speaking, swimming is relatively safe. But shoulder injuries can manifest themselves over a long period of time as you log more pool time.
The explosive nature of football is also similar to interval training and builds lower body strength and fast-twitch muscles.
Pair swimming with yoga, gymnastics, cross-country or any other form of training with knock-on benefits to your swimming performance, and the result will be improved fitness and motivation, plus a stronger, more balanced, and less-injury-prone physique.
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