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Choosing your core training: for swimmers

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We’ve all heard the word ‘core training’ and ‘core strength’ thrown about in fitness circles. For athletes, whether you run, cycle or swim, you know that having adequate core strength is very important in order to avoid preventable injuries since most activities require a good body balance.

Core training for swimming

Swimming is a core activity with the largest amount of benefits for your back and shoulders.

Start with the “bird dog” training which emphasises lower back strength and balance. Get on your hands and knees and keep your back flat. Then raise right leg and left arm off the floor; leg and arm need to be in line with your back before slowly come back to the initial position. Hold for 5 seconds, and then switch leg and arm. Repeat 5-10 times for each arm/leg.

Next is the “wheel rollout” which requires the use of an abdominal wheel. Get on your knees as you hold onto the wheel. From this position, roll the wheel forward until your face is close to the floor before rolling back to the initial position. Repeat 10 times.

Another exercise is the weighted plank. For this, you need a partner. Basically, reach the plank position and then ask to the partner to place a weight (that you can handle) on your back and hold the position for 15 to 45 seconds.

Continue with the “medicine ball side throw” which increases rotational strength in the obliques. While standing (knees slightly bent) next to a wall, hold the medicine ball in front of you with both hands so that the ball is chest height. Bring the ball to the side of your body farthest from the wall. Then, throw the ball against the wall, as you rotate your torso; catch the ball on its rebound and repeat. Do 10 repetitions.

Next is the “V-sit”, or “Boat.” Begin in a seated position with your knees bent and your feet resting lightly on the ground as you balance on your sit bones. With your core engaged, straighten your torso and recline slightly. Extend your arms straight out in front of you, then extend your legs, creating a V-shape with your torso and legs. Hold for 30-60 seconds.

End with the “Stir the Pot” exercise, which builds on your planking strength, using a stability ball. Place your elbows on the ball, and lean your body in a plank position with feet on the ground. Then rotate your forearms clockwise on the ball as if ‘stirring the pot’ 2-4 times before reversing direction. Do 8-15 sets.

 

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