Updated: Feb 5
Press ups are an exercise that everyone knows about and should be utilised by all swimmers as there are many benefits, such as increasing strength and core stability.
Strength and core stability play vital roles when it comes to swimming. Doing strength training will enable increased propulsion through through the water and also helps prevent injury by working muscles in different ways to the regular repetitive movement of the swim strokes.
Press ups are the most commonly known land training exercise and are primarily used to target pectoral muscles. They can however be adapted to target other muscles and we want to take you through 5 different variations of press ups that not only work your chest, but also other muscles that will help improve your swimming.
Wide Press Up
This variation is the most commonly done and one you have all tried at home. It's extremely similar to a standard or conventional Press Up, the only difference is that the hand placement is slightly wider than usual.
To complete a traditional Press Up your hand placement should be directly under your shoulders, on a Wide Press Up however, your hands are positioned outside of your shoulder line.
The aim is to lower your body towards the floor, and just as your nose is about to touch the floor, accelerate yourself back up. This will predominantly work out pectoral muscles, much like the traditional Press Up would, but also shoulders and upper arms are targeted. All of which are vital when it comes to swimming.
Diamond Press up
This press up is the opposite to the Wide Press Up in terms of hand position as your hands are now placed next to each other in the shape of a diamond. Although your pectoral muscles are targeted, this exercise requires much more tricep activation.
When performing this variation, the aim is to keep elbows tucked in as much as possible and always keep your core muscles engaged.
As your hand positioning on this press up variation is closer together a smaller base of support is formed, meaning balance is also tested. This therefore will make your core, especially your obliques, work a lot harder. When it comes to freestyle and backstroke, obliques are important as they help with body rotation.
Spiderman Press Up
This variation is going to feel a little strange if you haven't performed it before. The Spiderman Press Up still works pectoral muscles, as like the previous variations do, but now adds coordination and hip mobility into the mix.
To do it, perform the same movement as a regular press up however, as you lower yourself towards the floor, bring one leg up towards your hand keeping your foot off the floor. As you push yourself back up, return your leg back to the starting position. You then alternate each leg with every press up you do.
Keeping your foot off the floor when your mid press up activates your hip flexors, encourages hip mobility and requires coordination - all of which are needed when your swim.
Decline Press Up
This is an advanced Press Up variation that requires your feet to be higher than the rest of your body. Your feet can be located on a chair, a wall, or anything that can be found to raise your feet. The difference between this variation and a standard Press Up is that it works upper chest muscles and shoulders a lot more.
Additionally, this requires strong core stability, including abdominals and back muscles, to be able to maintain a stable body position throughout. These are all key muscles needed for a strong arm pull in swimming, so we suggest doing this exercise regularly to increase overall upper body strength.
Clap Press Up
The most explosive and hardest variation on this list; the Clap Press Up can help activate fast twitch muscle fibres in your chest, shoulders and triceps. Sprint swimmers will benefit the most from this variation but doesn't mean that distance swimmers should disregard it.
Having good fast twitch muscle fibres will help build strength, power and muscle mass. The one downside of this variation is that it can be quite harsh on your wrists because of the heavy landed between each rep. So please take care when doing it!
Check out the video below!!