As swimmers will naturally have a strong core due to the constant core engagement during swimming, some exercises might be a little too easy.
Swimmers may be able to do 50 sit-ups or 50 crunches and barely build up a sweat. However, swimmers need to keep working on their core as it helps to improve technique and increase speed. The core plays a very important role in keeping the body in a tight and stable streamline position so that swimmers minimize drag through the water.
Swimmers should do core training every day. So we're going to take you through 5 advanced core exercises that will test even those who have very good core strength. All these exercises require no weights and will gradually increase in toughness as you read down the list, with the last exercise being especially tough.
Double crunches are a combination of standard crunches and reverse crunches. This exercise is great for swimming as it hits every part of your core including your abdominals, hip flexors, and obliques. The more muscles you can work during an exercise, the better the exercise is.
To do a double crunch lie on your back, with your legs extended out and your fingers placed on your temples. You then, crunch your head and shoulders up and bring your knees in toward your chest at the same time.
Make sure that you raise both your head and legs together to get the full effectiveness of the exercise.
This is kind of similar to double crunches as the muscles used are identical and the movement is much the same. The main difference is that your torso is now constantly raised meaning that your core is always engaged and your body will look like a V shape throughout the exercise.
To do it, straighten your legs out keeping your feet six inches off the ground, and get yourself into a V shape by raising your torso up. Keeping your hands by your sides, raise one leg up in the air aiming to reach a vertical position, then slowly lower back down and repeat with the other leg until you reach your rep count.
As you're raising your legs alternately, it somewhat reassembles a freestyle or backstroke leg kick.
The main muscles used in scissor kicks are your hip flexors and the deepest parts of your abdominals making this exercise great for improving stability, posture, and balance.
To do it, start by lying flat on your back with your hands by your sides and engage your core by pushing your belly button down toward your spine. You then raise your feet off the ground about six inches and start moving your legs inwards and outwards, crossing your legs over as they meet in the middle.
Performing scissor kicks with improper technique can put a strain on your lower back, so keep your back pressed into the floor throughout the exercise. The easier way is to have your head resting on the floor when doing the exercise and the harder way is to lift your head up so you are looking down at your stomach or feet.
This exercise targets pretty much all the muscles in your core as well as muscles in your spine that help with stabilization. The main muscle targeted though is your obliques. Due to the twisting nature of the exercise, Russian Twists help to increase rotational movement of the torso which is brilliant for those swimmers who are freestylers or backstrokers.
To do them, start by sitting on the floor with your knees bent and both feet on the ground. Once you're ready, lean your body back and lift your feet off the ground so you're now engaging your core and balancing. Then, keep your hands together and rotate your arms all the way over to one side, and then the same on the other side.
Always maintain a straight back throughout this exercise as it can be tempting to round your lower back or hunch your shoulders forward.
2 Point Plank
This is a very tough exercise to do. It needs a lot of balance to perform and although the exercise is all about core stability, it also works your shoulders too. This exercise best replicates freestyle body position.
To do it, get yourself into a push-up position with your legs straight and your hands directly under your shoulders. You then raise your right arm and left leg simultaneously until they become parallel with the rest of your body. Hold that position for a second a two, and then return back to the starting position. You then repeat the action with the opposite leg and opposite arm.
This movement is very tough especially as you want to try and keep your hips as flat as possible without any twisting happening. Keep your abdominals tense and resist the urge for any hip movement.
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