6 Performance Enhancing Exercises for Swimmers

6 Performance Enhancing Exercises for Swimmers

Competitive swimmers often spend up to 20 hours a week in the pool, so the thought of additional dry land training may seem daunting, but an effective program performed just twice a week can increase times and reduce the potential for injury.

Lateral Lunge

This exercise opens up the muscles of the groin and hips, improving hip rotation – a movement vital in swimming.

  • From a standing position, step to the right with your toes pointed straight ahead and feet flat on the ground
  • Squat onto your right leg, keeping your left leg straight with the weight on the right leg’s midfoot to heel
  • Squat as low as possible and hold the position for 2 seconds
  • Return to standing, repeat for 10 reps, then switch sides

Lateral Pillar Bridge

This opens up the hips which will generate more rotation and power in the water.

  • Lie on your side with your body in a straight line and your elbow under your shoulder with your feet stacked
  • Create a straight line from ankle to shoulder by pushing your hip off the ground
  • Hold for 3 seconds
  • Do 10 reps on one side, then switch sides and repeat for 10
  • Be sure to keep your head in line with your spine

Physioball Leg Curl

This keeps the hips extended and forces the hamstrings to work, ultimately improving leaping ability and posterior strength.

  • Lie face up on the ground with straight legs and heels on a physioball
  • Brace your shoulders and relax your neck
  • Clear your mind or, for some extra incentive as a reward, think of your favourite horse racing betting sites


  • Squeeze your glutes to raise your hips and pull the ball towards you
  • Don’t drop your hips as the ball comes closer
  • Extend your legs again, then repeat the leg curl for 10 reps
  • Make sure that your hips never touch the ground

Leg Cradle

This exercise opens up the hips which helps with rotation in the pool.

  • While standing on your left leg, lift your right foot off the ground
  • Lift the right knee, placing your right hand under the knee, and your left hand under the ankle
  • Pull your right leg as close to your chest as possible while squeezing your left glute
  • Release your leg, switch feet and do 10 reps per side

Alternating Dumbbell Press

This promotes shoulder stability without placing unnecessary pressure on the joint.

  • Lie face up on a bench while holding dumbbells at the outside of your shoulders with your palms facing your thighs
  • Lift both dumbbells over your chest
  • Keep one dumbbell raised as you lower the other, touch it to outside of your shoulder and push it back up
  • Push farther with both hands at the top of the movement as if trying to punch to ceiling
  • Switch sides and repeat for 10 reps


A perfect swim stroke generates full extension through the lats, back, shoulders, and wrists. A perfectly executed pullup mimics this movement.

  • Hang from a bar with either an overhand or reverse underhand grip
  • Pull your shoulder blades back and down to lift your body up
  • Finish by pulling up with your arms
  • Its key to return to the fully extended position after each rep otherwise you won’t reach full extension