Here’s a video of amazing lat pulldowns! These are our number one favorite movement (besides tubing – see below) for swimming strengthening! Both engage the core muscles that we use in our rotation, and builds our lats and rhomboids for better and stronger freestyle. We should use control and not momentum as the driver in these movements. At first, we want a light to moderate weight and high reps as we build strength. Don’t go crazy with a 110 pound lat pulldown and 15 wide pullups on Day 1!
Here’s a video of this movement, which strengthens the trapezius muscles (top of neck to shoulder) and rhomboids (muscles near shoulder blade), pulling our shoulders back from all of that forward posture that we subject ourselves to (cycling, driving, flying a desk). Pull primarily back and slightly downward, keeping a relatively stable posture, and again using control over momentum and not over-reaching forward. Imagine pinching a pencil lengthwise between your shoulder blades.
Here’s a video of these in action! And first, let’s get one thing straight: there is no such thing as a girl pushup. It is called MODIFYING. We modify by balancing on our knees so that we can get more repetitions. In all pushups, we work the pecs (pectoralis, or chest). In standard pushups, hands should be level with shoulders and slightly wider. In wide pushups, hands should be just slightly wider than shoulders. In military pushups, we are targeting the triceps, so we place our hands at chest level and keep our elbows tucked in.
Tubing (also known as stretchcords) has been called a “secret weapon” by 4-time Olympian, gold medalist, and Triathlon World Champion Sheila Taormina, so we’ll let her speak for herself! (video). You can buy your own set of swim-specific tubing from our friends at Haloswim.com.