5 Strength Exercises for Swimmers to Build a Powerful Upper Body

This intense strength workout for swimmers should take you no longer than 45 minutes to train your shoulders, back and core.

Ever notice how ripped Olympic swimmers are? Take a look at Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte. You don't get those types of bodies from just jumping in the pool and swimming. You do a serious amount of strength exercises for swimmers.

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Sure these athletes were probably born with awesome genetics and out-of-this-world flexibility, but that does not mean that they don't work hard in the weight room.

During my time at Michigan State University, I trained the swim team as a strength and conditioning intern. And let me tell you, swimmers do not have an an off-season. During the summer is when they grind the hardest, push the most weight and try to blow past their potential. Since then, I've taken lessons and grueling exercises that I now use for lean muscle gains.

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Below are some cool exercises that will seriously help your physique. Cut up your shoulders and get crazy back muscles and chiseled abs with this strength workout for swimmers. This intense workout should take you no longer than 45 minutes to complete, and you will be training your shoulders, back and core.

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The Warm Up: (3-5 minutes)

To see exactly how to do each exercise, click the link and be taken to a video description.

The Workout (18 minutes)

Instructions

  • Set up all 5 stations before starting the workout; it will save you time.
  • Go as hard as you can (lock it in) for 40 seconds @ each station
  • Rest only 20 seconds between stations (move fast)
  • Go through all 5 stations. That's 1 round.
  • Rest 1 minute between rounds.
  • Complete 3 full rounds.
  • The times:
    • 40 seconds on, :0 seconds off
    • Start at Station 1 and progress through Stations 2, 3, 4 and 5.
    • Complete 3 Rounds.

Hand Over Hand Sled Drag

How to do it:

  • Tie a good amount of weight to the sled.
  • Start at the opposite end of the sled, get into an athletic position and grab the rope.
  • Staying low with your chest up and back flat, pull the rope to you as fast as you can.
  • Use a weight that is challenging and makes you have to pull the entire 40 seconds.

What it works:

  • Lats, core, forearms, conditioning

This will keep your entire body burning as you pull with your back muscles. It's tough as hell to stay in position the entire time, because your core will be under constant stress. Lock in and pull that sled!

Sled I's Y's & T's

How to do it:

  • Tie suspension straps to a sled. This time use less weight.
  • Assume an athletic squat position.
  • Stand up fast with your back flat. Keeping your arms straight, pull them simultaneously over your head making an I.
  • Repeat to create a Y.
  • Repeat and make a T.

What it works:

  • Front and back side of the shoulders, conditioning

I love this one for the rotator cuff action. The back of your shoulders will be screaming and your back will feel jacked. This is a great one for injury prevention and conditioning.

Two-Hand Rope Jump Slams

How to do it:

  • Tie a rope around anything stable.
  • Holding the ropes with your palms facing down, take the rope overhead as fast as you can.
  • Bring the ropes back down and try to "shake the earth," landing in an athletic stance (back flat, chest up).
  • Repeat and keep going all out until the time is up (lock it in).

What it works:

  • Shoulders, core, conditioning

This is just a good old-fashioned ass kicking. There is not much form to it other than keeping your chest up. You should be completely out of breath when the 40 seconds are up!

Inside Circle Rope Slams

How you do it:

  • Tie a rope around anything stable.
  • Hold the ropes with your palms facing down
  • Staying in place with your chest up, move the ropes toward the midline of your body and make big circles.
  • Repeat and go all out for 40 seconds.

What it works:

  • Rear delts, conditioning

Once you figure out the motion, you need to bust ass and go all out. Your rear delts, grip and core will be on fire!

Outside Circle Rope Slams

How to do it:

  • Tie a rope around anything stable.
  • Hold the ropes with your palms facing down.
  • Staying in place with your chest up, move the ropes toward the midline of your body and make big circles.
  • Repeat and go all out for 40 seconds.

What it works:

  • Pecs, rear delts, conditioning

Similar to the inside circles, only this time you are incorporating a different angle and involving the pecs more. Who doesn't want more pecs right?

The Finisher!

Rotate back and forth between these two brutal exercises.

  • 3-Way Hanging Ball Raise
  • V-Sit Holds

Descending Time Rounds:

  • Round 1 = 30 seconds @ each
  • Round 2 = 25 seconds @ each
  • Round 3 = 20 seconds @ each

No rest between rounds!

So now you're ready. Add this swimmer workout to your weekly routine and watch your abs get sliced up, your shoulders become boulders and your whole entire body look like an Under Armour model!

Chase It!


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock

Topics: SWIMMING | CORE | UPPER BODY | CHEST | SHOULDERS | ROPE WORKOUT | ARMS | SLED TRAINING