Warm Up Tips for Swimmers
Swimming is a sport that requires a lot of hard work to become good at. If you train regularly and do the work, you can become better than many in around 5 or 6 months. However, this process usually takes the average person around a year or two to become relatively good at.
No matter if you want to be or are a distance swimmer, a butterflier, a sprinter, a breaststroker, or any other type of swimmer, you still want to follow one of the main rules that all swimmers must stick to – warm up and stretch before going in the water.
So, having said that, let’s dive in and see the most impactful warm-up techniques swimmers use to beat the competition.
The 4 Types of Warm-Ups for Swimming
Before actually diving in the pool for the first time and learning how to swim, many people believe that all it takes to be a good swimmer is to move your hands as the pros do and wear the best swimming goggles you can find. Then, as you try swimming across the pool a few times, you realize that going across it even once seems like an impossible task.
That reason alone is why it takes a lot of time and training to become great. But, even all the strength and endurance in the world won’t help you if you don’t follow the rules and plan ahead. That’s why a warm-up is a crucial part of the process for all swimmers – from beginner level to professional and competitive.
The first part of a warm-up is understanding the physical exercise process that will get your body in a ready position before starting your swim. So, here are the four types of warm-ups you need to be aware of.
This type of warm-up is as the name already suggests, doing the right exercises on land, prior to entering the pool. What will this do to help you? It will, before all else, lower the risk of injury and will get the blood flowing. That’s why it’s important to stretch and warm-up your entire body, not just your arms.
Top 5 Land-Based Warm-Up Exercises
- World’s Greatest Stretch
- T-Spine Twist
- Static Stretch
It’s best that you do these warm-up exercises in the order listed here. They focus the entire body and work the muscles you use most while swimming, including your legs, back, chest, arms, and one of the most injured parts, the shoulders. Swimmer’s Shoulder is a common issue in swimmers who don’t take the time to stretch and warm-up, which is why you should pay special attention to your shoulders.
This warm-up routine shouldn’t take you more than 15 to 20 minutes. After you’re done, do the static stretch at the end and move on to the next phase – doing the in-pool warm-up routine you will see below.
Pool-Based Warm-Up (Kinesthetic Warm-Up)
After you’ve completed the first part of this warm-up routine, you can now move on to the fun part – entering the pool and getting the feel of the water. That’s exactly what this part of the routine is designed for. Swimming competitively is not a simple task, as it takes a lot of preparation to avoid any injuries, losing focus, or getting distracted. As a result, the second step of the process is warming up inside the pool.
This entire process also shouldn’t take you more than 15-20 minutes, as you’re only going to do a couple of exercises and swim a few times across the pool to improve mobility and significantly lower any risks of injury.
Pool-Based Warm-Up Drills
- Swim freestyle for 5 minutes to get blood flowing and joints moving
- Get a kickboard and kick for a few minutes
- Do various stroke technique drills with 1-minute intervals
This part of the warm-up isn’t usually done on all workout sessions and is almost never done before the race competition. A tactical warm-up can also be known as a race-pace rehearsal, and it’s intended to go over the race scripts, warm-up methods, and almost everything like it was the day of the race.
It’s like the dress rehearsal for musicians and music bands, or also known as the final rehearsal. It’s when you go over everything to make sure you get used to what it will be like on the day of the race. This is a crucial step for coaches to test and measure a variety of stats like heart rate, stress levels, and more.
Finally, after testing everything, swimmers must focus on improving their mental health by doing a variety of techniques. This is a crucial step of any warm-up for swimmers and is as important as the rest on this list. Training for improvement of mental help will significantly help reduce anxiety, lower stress, help maintain focus on the goal and avoid distractions, and make you feel more confident in your capabilities.
Here are a few highly beneficial mental training techniques that should be practiced on all warm-ups, especially before the race:
Top Mental Warm-Up Tips for Swimmers
- Affirmations – One of the most useful things for gaining confidence and eventually adapting a winner mindset is to practice affirmations constantly. This includes continuously repeating phrases in your head similar to “I was born to win this race and nothing will stop me from doing so!”
- Breathing Exercises – As I mentioned above, remaining calm before a race will drastically improve your chances of winning. In fact, remaining calm can save you in a number of different situations in life. You can do this by controlling your breathing. A great example of a method that has helped countless people all over the world includes The Wim Hof Method. So, before any race, find a quiet place, spare 15 minutes of alone time, and do the priceless breathing exercises this man will teach you.
- Visualization – Lastly, you can do this excellent step alongside the breathing exercises. As you sit in a quiet place alone and do your simple yet effective breathing techniques, you can simultaneously visualize yourself winning the race, becoming the best version of yourself, and overcoming all obstacles. Trust me, it’s much easier than you think, but all you have to do initially is try and learn along the way.
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