5 Exercises to Strengthen Your Swim


It can be difficult to know what to do in the gym to help your swim, but there are many exercises that can bring specific strength to your swimming ability. You will always need plenty of pool and open water swimming practice to nail your next triathlon, but when you are in the gym you can add a few of the following exercises to really give yourself a boost in the water.


Decline Dumbbell Pullover– Targeted muscle: Serratus Anterior. Because who doesn’t want those upper side abs cut anyway? Oh, and it will increase your stroke power.

  • Lay down on a decline bench, place hands over your head with dumbbells, with straight arms raise the dumbbells straight into the air.


Cable Straight Arm Pulldown – Targets the lats with a strong core recruitment. This will help with your power pushing through the water.

  • Use a cable machine with a short straight bar position at the highest level. Stand with a slight bend in the knee and arch in your lower back, engage your core pulling your belly button into your spine, pull your shoulder blades together and keep your shoulders down. Now you can pull the bar down to your legs and raise up to should height.


Cable Kickbacks – Targets your glutes to help your straight legged kicking.

  • Use a cable machine at the lowest level with an ankle attachment. Stand looking straight ahead. Turn your toes out slightly and with a straight leg kick your leg straight back.
  • This can also be done on the floor if you do not have access to the machine. On your hands and knees kick your straight leg up into the air. Repeat without resting your foot on the ground.


Plank – Targets the core to help with control and endurance.

  • Lay on your stomach on the floor and lift yourself onto your toes and forearms. Make sure your body is in a straight light from heels to the top of your head. Pull your shoulder blades together too.
  • The plank is such an amazing exercise. But if it isn’t challenging for you after 40 seconds, make it more difficult. Here is an article with 25 plank variations. Give a few a try. My favorites for swimming are the spiderman plank and side planks with a hip drop.


Front Overhead Raise – Targets your front deltoids. This is like cross training specific muscles by strengthening the opposite movement.

  • Stand up and with your palms down lift dumbbells in front of you over your head with straight arms, bring dumbbells all the way back down to your legs.