If you want to improve your front crawl technique, but you don't have access to a pool or you want to supplement your swimming sessions with some extra training, you can try some dry land exercises that mimic the movements and muscles involved in swimming. Dry land exercises can help you strengthen your core, shoulders, arms, and legs, as well as improve your mobility and coordination. Here are some examples of dry land exercises that you can do at home or in the gym, using minimal equipment.
The best time to do these exercises is when you are well-rested and hydrated, and have enough time to warm up and cool down properly. You can do them before or after your swimming sessions, or on your rest days. You can also do them in the morning or in the evening, depending on your preference and schedule. The most important thing is to be consistent and enjoy the process.
The best way to warm up and cool down is to do some dynamic stretches and light cardio exercises that increase your blood flow and prepare your muscles and joints for the main workout. For example, you can do some arm circles, shoulder shrugs, neck rolls, torso twists, leg swings, hip circles, ankle rolls, jogging, skipping, or jumping jacks. You can also do some specific drills that mimic the swimming motions, such as arm swings, shoulder rotations, or flutter kicks. You should warm up for at least 10 minutes before starting the dry land exercises, and cool down for at least 10 minutes after finishing them.
1. Superman: This exercise targets your lower back, glutes, and hamstrings, which are important for maintaining a good body position and kicking in the water. To do it, lie on your stomach on a mat, with your arms extended overhead and your legs straight. Lift your arms and legs off the ground as high as you can, and hold for a few seconds. Then lower them back to the starting position. Repeat for 10 to 15 reps.
2. Plank: This exercise works your core muscles, which are essential for stabilizing your body and transferring power from your arms to your legs. To do it, get into a push-up position, with your hands directly under your shoulders and your body in a straight line from head to heels. Engage your abs and squeeze your glutes, and hold this position for as long as you can. You can also modify the plank by lifting one arm or leg at a time, or by placing your elbows on the ground instead of your hands.
3. Shoulder rotations: This exercise improves your shoulder mobility and flexibility, which are important for performing an efficient front crawl stroke. To do it, stand up straight with your arms at your sides. Rotate your shoulders forward in small circles, gradually increasing the size of the circles until you reach a full range of motion. Then reverse the direction and rotate your shoulders backward. Do this for 30 seconds in each direction.
4. Arm swings: This exercise mimics the front crawl arm movement and activates your chest, back, and arm muscles. To do it, stand up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms at your sides. Swing one arm forward and up, as if you were reaching for the water in front of you. Then swing it back and down, as if you were pushing the water behind you. Do the same with the other arm, alternating between left and right. You can also add some resistance by holding a light dumbbell or a water bottle in each hand.
5. Squats: This exercise strengthens your legs, especially your quads and glutes, which are important for generating power and speed in the water. To do it, stand up straight with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and your toes pointing slightly outward. Bend your knees and lower your hips until your thighs are parallel to the ground, keeping your chest up and your back straight. Then push through your heels and stand back up. Repeat for 10 to 15 reps.
6. Lateral raises: This exercise targets your deltoids, which are important for lifting your arms out of the water and rotating them during the front crawl stroke. To do it, stand up straight with a light dumbbell (1-2kgs) or a water bottle in each hand, and your arms at your sides. Raise your arms to the sides until they are parallel to the ground, keeping your elbows slightly bent. Then lower them back to the starting position. Repeat for 10 to 15 reps.
7. Tricep extensions: This exercise works your triceps, which are important for extending your arms and pushing the water behind you during the front crawl stroke. To do it, stand up straight with a light dumbbell (1-2kgs) or a water bottle in one hand, and raise your arm overhead. Bend your elbow and lower the weight behind your head, keeping your upper arm close to your ear. Then straighten your arm and lift the weight back up. Repeat for 10 to 15 reps, then, switch sides.
8. Lunges: This exercise strengthens your legs, especially your glutes, hamstrings, and quads, which are important for generating power and speed in the water. To do it, stand up straight with your feet hip-width apart and your hands on your hips. Take a big step forward with one leg and bend both knees until your front thigh is parallel to the ground and your back knee is almost touching the ground. Then push through your front heel and step back to the starting position. Repeat for 10 to 15 reps, then switch sides.
9. Scapular retraction: This exercise improves your posture and activates your upper back muscles, which are important for stabilizing your shoulders and preventing injuries during the front crawl stroke. To do it, stand up straight with a resistance band or a towel in both hands, and hold it in front of you at shoulder level. Pull the band or towel apart, squeezing your shoulder blades together. Then return to the starting position. Repeat for 10 to 15 reps.
10. Flutter kicks: This exercise mimics the front crawl kick and works your lower abs, hip flexors, and quads. To do it, lie on your back on a mat, with your legs extended and slightly lifted off the ground. Keep your lower backs pressed into the mat and place your hands under your hips or behind your head. Quickly kick your legs up and down in a scissor-like motion, keeping them straight and close together. Do this for 30 seconds.
These dry land exercises can help you improve your front crawl technique by strengthening the muscles involved in swimming and enhancing your mobility and coordination. You can do them regularly as part of your training routine or whenever you feel like doing some extra work on land. Remember to warm up and cool down properly before and after each session, and listen to your body's signals. If you experience any pain or discomfort during or after the exercises, stop immediately and consult a doctor or a physiotherapist.
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TRIATHLON SWIM TRAINING: 10 BEGINNERS DRY LAND SWIMMING EXERCISES FOR FRONT CRAWL
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