Kettlebell Training For Triathletes - Essential Training For Swimming

by Pool Builders on 05-22-2009 in Articles

Are you a casual or competitive swimmer? See how kettlebell training can help improve your performance, reduce your risk of injury, and just otherwise get more out of this very natural physical activity.

Swimming is a great activity that is easy on the joints, improves cardiovascular fitness, and you can do at any age. Whether you do it as a single sport, cross train with it, or are a triathalete, Kettlebells can play an important part in shoulder strength, general fitness, mobility, and stability. Human beings have been swimming for a millennia-there are Stone Age cave drawings of individuals swimming. There are Egyptian clay seals depicting four swimmers doing the crawl. Swimming became more mainstream in the 20th century with over 20,000 outdoor pools and swimming clubs for both recreation and competitive training.

Swimming is a whole body activity where muscular endurance, strength, stability and mobility play a key role. We also know that kettelebells teach the body to work as a whole unit, but it's often the shoulder that becomes injured due to the fact that it's the most mobile and least stable in the body. Specific Kettlebell exercises can help stabilize and help develop mobility during a dynamic movement like swimming. Shoulder stabilizers are the weak link and will shut down if they sense they are about to become injured. When you have developed proper stroke technique, swimming should not feel as if you're fighting the water even in the ocean where the conditions are very different. Training with kettlebells for this sport can help with endurance, speed, and power. Kettlebells can be used right before a swim workout and take very little time to do.

"Specific kettlebell exercises can help stabilize and help develop mobility during a dynamic movement like swimming."

"When you have developed proper stroke technique, swimming should feel natural and flowing without having to fight the water."

So whether you enjoy swimming to relax, do it to cross train, or compete as an athlete, kettlebells will help in your training. You'll enjoy it more, reduce injury, and make it seem more of a natural activity.

Specific Kettlebell Exercises For Swimming:

Overhead Arm Circles

Take a lighter KB and perform small circles in each direction about 10-12 times. Let your shoulders rest and perform another set. This is a common mobility drill taken a step further with the kettlebells with its displaced center of gravity on the back of the hand. Strength and range of motion are developed here.

Lying Shoulder Stretch or Arm Bar Stretch

This is a simple but effective way to strengthen the stabilizer muscles in the shoulder and actively stretch the pectoral muscles. It is often used in conjunction with another fantastic Kettlebell exercise called the Turkish get Up, but here we use it as a stand alone exercise. Press the Kettlebell up in front of your chest to arm's length and post your right foot flat on the ground with your heel close to your buttocks. Be sure to keep your eyes on the Kettlebell during the whole exercise. Push off your posted foot and slowly roll onto your left side. Reposition your left arm so you can rest the side of your head on your biceps. Carefully continue to roll over keeping your arm vertical until you are almost prone. Hold the position for few seconds and then go back to your starting position. Do this for 3 to 5 reps and then switch sides.

One Arm Swings

This drill will help balance the body and develop power equally on both sides. When you have been swimming for a while, you know when your technique becomes less than ideal-the underdeveloped side becomes fatigued and your strokes become uneven. Get your body into a good deadlift stance, head up, chest open, butt to the back and the weight on the heels. Grasp the KB with one hand. At the same time extend your legs and pull the KB up and back between your legs. Once the KB reaches the end of it's arc, extend your knees and push through the hips-you want the KB just above belly button level. When you place the KB on the ground, make sure you aren't rounding the back-jackknife at the hips to sit back. Perform 10-15 reps and then switch sides without any rest.

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