Swimming is both a sport and recreational activity enjoyed by many people. However, not everyone has regular access to a swimming pool or the time to swim on a daily basis. You can perform exercises at home which, in addition to your pool time, will help improve your fitness for swimming. The exercises listed all require a strong, rubber exercise band, anchored at waist height. You can find rubber bands suitable for exercise at sporting goods stores.
Rubber Band Rows
To strengthen your upper back and arm muscles, take an end of the rubber band in each hand and step backward until the band becomes tense and your arms are extended at shoulder level. Keeping your body upright and your abs tensed, bend your elbows to pull both hands into the sides of your chest. Extend your arms to the starting position and repeat. For muscular endurence, important for swimming, perform two to three sets of 12 to 20 repetitions of this exercise.
Bent-Over Rubber Band Pulls
This exercise will strengthen your upper back and bicep muscles. With an end of the rubber band in each hand, bend your knees slightly and bend forward at the hips so that your body is parallel to the floor. Walk backwards until there is tension in the band and your arms are straight overhead. Maintain this position and pull your hands in to your upper chest bending at the elbows. Extend your arms to return to the starting position. Perform two to three sets of 12 to 20 repetitions of this movement.
Bent-Over Rubber Band Presses
To strengthen your shoulders and triceps, stand with the anchor point behind you and an end of the rubber band in each hand -- the band should be under your arms. Bend your knees slightly and bend forward at the hips until your upper body is parallel with the floor and your hands are held at shoulder level. Keep the rest of your body static and push your arms overhead. Bend your elbows to return to the starting position. Move farther away from the anchor point to increase the amount of resistance. Aim for 12 to 20 repetitions of this exercise.
Rubber Band Swimmers
This exercise simulates the arm action of front crawl and butterfly, and it focuses on your upper back muscles. With an end of the band in each hand, walk backward until the band is tensioned and your arms are extended in front of you with your hands facing down. Stand with your feet together and your legs slightly bent. Push your hips back and bend forward at the waist while simultaneously extending your arms behind you. The band should touch your shoulders and your body should be parallel to the floor at this point. Immediately return to the starting position and repeat. Performing this exercise with both hands is similar to butterfly whereas using an alternating arm action is more like front crawl. Perform two to three sets of 12 to 20 repetitions of this exercise.
To strengthen your abs, thighs and upper back muscles, lie on your back with the rubber band anchor point directly over your head. Hold an end of the band in each hand and extend your arms so that they are perpendicular to the floor. With knees straight. Lift your feet 12 inches off of the floor. Keep your arm straight and push down with your left arm while lowering your right leg to within 1 inch of the ground. Immediately return to the starting position and repeat with the opposite arm and leg. Establish a smooth rhythm and continue for the duration of your set. Perform this exercise either for time, such as 30 to 60 seconds or for 20 or more repetitions.
- "Swimming for Total Fitness: A Complete Program for Swimming Stronger, Faster, and Better"; Nancy P. Bruning, and Phillip Jones; 2003
- "Swimming for Fitness"; Kelvin Juba; 2002