When you imagine the body of a swimmer, you usually think of broad shoulders, big lats, and great abs but we rarely think of developed leg muscles. While, the upper body plays a pivotal role in swimming, so does the lower half. Proper leg exercises for swimmers can lead to improved swimming performance. Swimming leg workouts can improve ankle mobility for a better propelling kick, and it will help you have better push offs from the blocks.
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When choosing exercises to strengthen legs for swimming choose exercises with an increased range of motion, builds strength and power your output.
The below leg strengthening exercises for swimmers will help you build stronger, leaner and improves the range of motion in your leg muscles.
Box Jumps builds strength and power in the quads, glutes, hamstrings, calves, and core. These muscles are vital for developing solid starts and push-offs as well as developing a fast and powerful kick underwater.
It strengthens the muscles of the groin and hips, improving hip rotation, which is important for a swimmer’s performance.
Targets the hamstrings, glutes, lower back and hip flexors. These muscles play an important role in strong kicks underwater.
Use a “Leg Extension" Machine
Leg extension machines target the quads primarily. Strong quads make your kicks stronger specially when doing the breaststroke.
How to improve swimming performance?
Speed is an essential element in improving your swimming performance. So, you may question how to improve swimming speed? While not everyone is into breaking records like Michael Phelps or being an Olympic star, it does ignite the inspiration to move faster in the water.
There are four major swimming strokes recognised worldwide namely, freestyle, breaststroke, backstroke and butterfly. For each stroke you would use your body differently by using a separate set of muscles. The main determinants of speed are thrust and drag.
The water offers resistance (or drag) while your arms and legs push (or thrust) you through the water. Learning how to efficiently move your body through the water for each different stroke will help improve your speed.
Once you are all caught up on the basic arm and leg movements required for the chosen stroke, you can focus on the minor elements to improve your timing. You can valuably save fractions of a second off your time by improving each of these elements:
- Reduction in underwater time: This is the amount of time you spend with your head underwater.
- Improve speed of the Tumble Turn Time: tumble turn time is the amount of time it takes you to turn and begin your next lap. If you are doing a 50m lap you can ignore this as most professional pools are 50m.
- Reaction time: If you're taking off from the blocks, this term refers to how long it takes you to get from the block to the water.
After a long day of training or after competitions you may wonder, why do my legs hurt after swimming? Your legs hurt after swimming due to the intense pressure placed upon them, for you to propel through the water faster.
Muscle recovery after swimming
Recovery for swimmers must be fast as they may soon be required to compete in another race.
Warming up and cooling down
A vital element in swimming muscle recovery is properly warming up and cooling down. Warming up should be done using stretches which work to release lactic acid from previous swims. Cool down with periods of easy swimming. It is recommended to swim between 200m and 800m to flush out the lactic acid in the muscles.
Many swimmers don’t realise just how much they sweat in the pool. Therefore, proper intake of fluids is a must for swimming recovery. Water plays a pivotal role in muscle repair and the production of glycogen. Studies have proven that muscle rejuvenation progress is decelerated by half when muscles are not suitably hydrated.
Use a calf muscle recovery tool like SPRYNG
For quick swimming fatigue recovery use a calf compression wrap like SPRYNG. It uses active compression technology to improve circulation and flush out lactic acid, thereby alleviating pain.
SPRYNG has many advantages when compared to other active compression and leg compression devices in the market. A few of them are -
- Quick recovery- It takes only 15 minutes to produce results. So, it is ideal for a day filled with back-to-back competitions.
- Embrace freedom - It is lightweight, portable, and untethered so it fits nicely in your bag.
- Extremely affordable –it is cheaper than any other active compression device on the market.
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