Contributor – David Deppeler PT, DSc, OCS, FAAOMPT
Exercise Photo Credit – MedBridge

Dynamic Warm-up

Before you jump in, consider doing a dynamic warm up to activate the useful muscle groups for your swim. Make these motions dynamic by not holding the position. Keep breathing steady during the motions.

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Exercise_LatDorsiWallStretch

Setup
Begin in a standing upright position, facing a wall.

Movement
Lift one arm straight overhead and rest it on the wall with your thumb pointing out. Rotate your body away from your arm, leaning into the wall and hold

Tip
Make sure to keep your movements smooth and controlled.

Exercise_ChestBicepStretch

Setup
Begin in a standing upright position.

Movement
Clasp your hands behind your back and straighten your arms, then slowly raise them toward the ceiling. Hold when you feel a stretch in your chest and the front of your arms.

Tip
Make sure to keep your back straight during the exercise.

Exercise_SAPecStretch

Setup
Begin standing upright position facing a wall.

Movement
Place one arm out and diagonally up against the wall, then gently rotate your body away from your arm until you feel a gentle stretch in your chest, and hold.

Tip
Make sure not to shrug your shoulders and try not to arch your back during the exercise.

Exercise_StandingHamstringStretch

Setup
Begin standing with your feet shoulder width apart.

Movement
Exhale and bend forward, lowering your hands toward the floor, bending at your hips and keeping your knees slightly bent. You should feel a stretch in the back of your upper legs.

Tip
Make sure to keep your back relaxed and do not move through pain.

Exercise_StandingLungeRotation

Setup
Begin in a standing upright position with your feet shoulder width apart and hands resting on your waist.

Movement
Step forward with one leg, lowering your body into a lunge position, and rotate your torso to the side, then carefully return to the starting position.

Tip
Make sure not to let your knees collapse inward during the exercise.


Eating before you swim

Most kids grow up hearing horror stories of swimming too close to meal time. I recommend you wait a bit. Thirty minutes seems safe. In general, eating a small amount of simple carbs before you swim may help your energy level during your swim.


Equipment

swimgogglesFeel free to start with the minimum, a good pair of goggles (and a swim suit). Goggles vary significantly in price. Just know that most competitive swimmers wear $5-10 goggles. The trick is to find a pair that fit your face correctly and don’t leak. Feel free to get tinted or mirrored goggles if you’re swimming outside. They do help.

The next step in useful equipment could include a kick board and pull buoy. A good swim workout will include some time kicking only (holding on to the board), as well as some time just pulling (using only your arms).

Equipment for the swim ninja: consider purchasing a pair of hand paddles to get more out of your pull; a snorkel to work on keeping your head still (looking down at the bottom of the pool); and fins (flippers) to work your legs even more. These ninja items are generally used for small portions of a swim workout.