Triathlons are popping up everywhere. From super-sprints to Ironman distances, triathlons offer athletes of all levels a multi-sport opportunity to stay fit and have fun.

Triathlon SwimmingIn a triathlon, athletes swim, bike, and run… usually in that order. Many people come to the sport as a runner or cyclist and say the swim is the weakest part of their race.

The Principle of Specificity states the body will improve in a specific area or sport by performing that specific area or sport. Therefore, to improve in swimming you need to swim! That being said, there are exercises you can do on land to help you succeed in the water.

A 2009 study published in the Journal of Science and Medicine looked at the benefits of strength training for competitive swimmers. Researchers concluded doing maximal strength training sessions twice per week improved the maximal force in the swimmers’ freestyle stroke.

The study focused on strengthening upper body muscles used in freestyle swimming including the latissimus dorsi, triceps brachii, and rotator cuff. You can build these muscles by doing the following exercises:

  • Lat Pulldowns
  • Tricep Extensions
  • Internal and External Rotation (Rotator Cuff)

These exercises can be performed using dumbbells or resistance bands.

Other common “dry land” exercises used by competitive swimmers include squats, deadlifts and bench presses. The key is to choose exercises that work multiple muscles at once. To prevent injury, focus on executing perfect form before adding weight.

Strengthen your swimming and become a triple threat in your next triathlon!

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