A teammate asks, regarding my strength training routine:
Would you recommend something similar for me (only been swimming 1.5ish years very haphazardly), or do you think the benefits are only for those who have slowed their pool gains down significantly?
My answer: “Yes, but….”
Yes – because:
- Weightlifting and calisthenics are good for you, both in promoting strength and general musculoskeletal health, and in preventing injury.
- If you learn to deadlift properly, for example, you’ll never throw out your back lifting a heavy box.
- Getting stronger will, in general, help you swim faster. At least, a little bit faster (see next point).
But – because:
- Strength training is a “low leverage” activity for improving swimming speed. The highest leverage, by far, is in swim technique.
- So, unless your technique is already in the range of excellent-to-perfect (and even Olympic swimmers are constantly working on their technique), strength training is not the most efficient method of swimming faster.
- My routine involves several “free weight” exercises – which are the best way to lift weights, but also potentially dangerous. In doing squats, deadlifts, overhead press, and bench press, you must use proper lifting technique, or your efforts may easily backfire.