Best Strength Training Exercises For New Swimmers

man swimming


Swimming is harder than most people imagine. While many associate swimming with carefree pool play in childhood, the reality is that swimming becomes significantly more challenging as we age.

Individuals who wish to swim competitively, must strengthen their legs, arms, and cardiovascular systems to gain a competitive edge.

With that being said, let’s explore six essential exercises that new swimmers should incorporate into their training routine to dramatically improve their swim game.

Six Essential Exercises for New Swimmers

Even new swimmers should take these steps to ensure that they can swim safely without becoming exhausted too soon. What are the best strength training exercises for beginner swimmers?

Start With Squat Jumps

First, you should start with squat jumps. This exercise is great for swimmers because it will target the most important muscles. Once you’ve become used to the squat jump, you can make the exercise harder by adding weight. For instance, you can hold a barbell while performing the jump.

In particular, squat jumps will help build your glutes, quads, and calf muscles. Therefore, you’ll be able to perform must better from the starting block. Performing squat jumps will prove to be very helpful so start with this exercise.

Use Tricep Extensions

When it comes to swimming, you’ll find that the triceps are vitally important. Therefore, you cannot ignore this exercise if you want to get an advantage in the swimming pool. Despite being smaller than the bicep, your triceps are still crucial when swimming competitively. Thankfully, the exercise is relatively simple so you shouldn’t have any problems. Be sure to grab a barbell because you’ll need to use one.

Grab it with both hands and place your hands behind your head. Your elbows should be aligned with your back and shoulders. Push the dumbbell down toward your buttocks before lifting it above your head. You can perform up to 15 reps and three sets.

This exercise will help ensure that your triceps are ready for your next competitive swim.

Don’t Forget Overhead Squats

Many of these exercises are explained in greater depth at Anatomy Workouts. The overhead squat is a must for competitive swimmers. Despite being difficult, it offers an abundance of benefits to people who wish to excel in swimming. To take advantage of overhead squats, you’re going to need a bar and some weights.

Remember to choose the weight carefully because you don’t want to risk getting hurt before your next swim. Using this exercise is effective for building your quads and glutes. When you’re swimming, overhead squats will help you turn in the pool much faster. Your swimming kicks will be more powerful as well.

Remember that it is pertinent to keep your arms above your head during the overhead squat. If you’re not comfortable with a bar, you can try practicing with barbells or dumbbells.

Perform Hanging Crunches

Many people hate performing hanging crunches because they’re so difficult. Nevertheless, they’re going to make you a much better and more efficient swimmer. Therefore, you’ll want to take full advantage of this exercise so you can dominate your next competition. You’ll need something to grab so you can perform this exercise at a local park or gym.

Grab the pull-up bar and lift your feet from the ground. Your knees must come up to your chest. Then, you’ll want to quickly straighten your legs until your knees are vertical. Hanging crunches are arguably one of the best exercises swimmers can use to get an edge. After all, they are going to build your core muscles.

In return, they’ll make you a better swimmer. You can perform three sets of hanging crunches before moving forward.

Resistance Band Shoulder Rotations

When you decide to improve your swimming skills, you need to work on your shoulders. They need to be tough, strong, and flexible. Otherwise, you’ll struggle to swim quicker than your opponents. Using shoulder rotations is an effective way to make your shoulders stronger and more flexible.

More importantly, resistance band shoulder rotations are great for reducing the risk of injury.

Pull Ups

Finally, you’ll want to enhance your swimming capabilities by doing more pull-ups. This exercise is vital because it will strengthen your latissimus dorsi or lats. By strengthening this muscle, you’ll become more powerful with every stroke. When doing pull-ups, it is best to maintain an overhand grip. However, you may want to experiment with palm-facing grips when you become more comfortable with this exercise.


Mastering the art of swimming requires diligent effort and targeted exercises to build strength and endurance. By incorporating these six essential exercises into their training regimen, new swimmers can enhance their performance in the pool.

From squat jumps to tricep extensions, hanging crunches to overhead squats, and resistance band shoulder rotations to pull-ups, each exercise targets key muscle groups and improves overall swimming capabilities.

By consistently practicing these exercises, new swimmers can enhance their technique, increase power, and minimize the risk of injury, setting themselves up for success in competitive swimming.

About Theresa Duncan

Originally from Detroit, MI, Theresa has been offering health and fitness advice for the last 30 years while working as an engineer. She decided to turn her passion into a profession, and finds nothing more satisfying than helping others reach their health and fitness goals.

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