- Swimming can simultaneously train the muscles that multiple strength training is targeting.
- In addition, each stroke is also an effective workout for the cardiovascular system.
- The swim instructor determined which strokes target each part of the body.
If you want to freshen up your workout routine and even take it to the next level, try swapping your weight and treadmill for a pool.
Swimming is an effective way to build muscle and improve endurance. It combines frequent cardiovascular training with concurrent strength training due to water resistance, according to Philip Abundo, a private swimming instructor in Perth Amboy, NJ.
“When it comes to swimming, if you want to go and see how important a workout such as squats is, swimmers squat with every stroke,” Abundo told Insider. “You hit the water with your upper body at a constant speed, and you hit the water at a constant speed, with full speed and power.”
Swimming targets the same muscles that you can train in the gym. But instead of dividing your workout into separate sets for the upper and lower body, core, and cardio, swimming allows you to simultaneously do a full body workout in one continuous movement.
Here’s a look at which swimming movements target each respective muscle group.
Butterfly: chest, back, core and shoulders.
Butterfly swimming on the chest with symmetrical movement of both arms. The arms are first extended over the head and then moved backward, palms moving through the water. The arm movements target the muscles in the shoulder, known as the anterior deltoid muscles, and the muscles in the chest, known as the pectoralis.
“Your arms should be straight throughout the entire stroke. You are doing basically the equivalent of a triceps extension, and you just overdo it, pulling it back towards your legs and then doing a perfect circle in which both arms end at the same time, “Abundo said.
The movements of the arms are combined with the thrust of the dolphin, where both legs are pressed against each other and rise and fall, like the movement of a dolphin’s tail. This movement is comparable to a hanging knee lift, which helps build lower core muscles.
On the back: muscles of the back and thighs.
Backstroke is performed on the back, with each arm moving backward in one rowing motion. These movements work the latissimus dorsi muscles – the shoulder muscles.
The arm movements are then combined with a push, with each leg taking a light push in turn. Water resistance affects the hamstrings.
“A lot of swimmers, myself included, will argue that the back circle feels worse than other strokes just because your legs are actually working at that angle,” Abundo said. “Your legs really work from this angle, because if you are swimming on your back, you are using the muscles on the back of the thigh.”
Freestyle / Crawl: Cardio, Endurance & Weight Loss
All swimming movements are effective cardio workouts, but freestyle is a unique cardio challenge because of its unique breathing. As a high-intensity cardio workout, stroke has benefits including weight loss, improved health, and reduced stress.
Freestyle is chest swimming that requires the head to submerge regularly and reappear. The arms alternately move along the arc of the windmill while the head is under water and the swimmer breathes on his side. Accompanied by flutter.
“A sprinter swimmer who swims 50 or 100 meters will probably only breathe 3-5 times throughout the race,” Abundo said. “We train short-distance freestyle swimmers to breathe as little as possible, because every time you breathe, a second counts.”
“When it comes to long-distance freestyle, you swim at a certain pace and your breathing has to follow a certain rhythm,” he added.