Cross Training for Swimmers

cross training for swimmers

Have you guys heard of cross training? I am sure you have if you are constantly in the gym or exercising with your peers.

Cross training has been gaining popularity in recent years. If this is your first time hearing about cross training, continue to read on as you will find out more about what exactly cross training is, what the benefits are and how can you incorporate cross training into your swimming routine.

So... what exactly is cross training?

cross training workout routine

It is a set of workout routine that includes different types of exercises. In this case, it should include a variation of different exercises that contributes positively for swimming. It can benefit you in many ways such as muscle strengthening and improvements on your stamina and endurance abilities. It is usually conducted in a high level of intensity that consists of a burst of exercises in a specific time period with short interval breaks. It is highly effective as it will benefit your health and better your pool performances in the long run.

Why do cross training when you are a swimmer?

Cross training is extremely flexible as you can plan the different types of exercises that you would like to include that focuses on different types of skill sets. As a swimmer, you would not want to spend every 3 hours training inside the pool. Thus, having additional workout plans on land can help enhance your performance while having fun at the same time. You can include workouts that help maintain or improve your stamina through exercises that works on your cardiovascular muscles! :)

Sounds too good to be true? It is super possible once you know how to plan your workout routine according to the different improvements you hope to see in the long run. This can eventually help you increase your performance for your passionate sport. Fret not, we will provide a sample guideline below on how to plan your workout (especially if you are new). Last but not least, the most important point to take note is that it can never replace your current training plan but instead, helps to complement it.

As mentioned, cross training helps to condition your body to ensure better performance when you are swimming. Incorporating cross training into your training plan can actually benefit you in many ways. So what exactly are some of the benefits for you if you practice this?

Benefits of cross-training in swimming:

1. Have fun off the pool!!! YAY!!!
Cross trainings are usually time-saving and allows you to maximise the impact of your workouts in a short period of time as compared to your usual training in the pool. With its ability to be flexible and customisable, it will be a fun and enjoyable process during your off-peak season.

Practicing your passion sport should never be a chore. In order to ensure that you are able to retain your passion for the sport, it is also important to get mental breaks from the pool once in awhile while still engaging in your fitness activity. This is where cross training comes in because you can train the specific muscle group that is needed for swimming while having a variation of exercises other than the usual dip in the pool. Make sure you do not feel drained out or bored by having the same routine over and over again for a few months.

There will be times where you will be caught up with work or school, giving you insufficient time to go for a swim. Don’t worry because with cross training, you can replace your swim for a run while having similar training effect at a more flexible timing.

There are so many ways cross training can help improve your physical health as a swimmer, especially when it comes to enhancing your adherence to the sport you play. Other than making the process fun and interesting, cross training is extremely safe as well! Remember that it is important to add variety to your workouts but also to keep each workout simple as well, that is the beauty of cross training! Other than diminishing boredom, it can also help reduce the possibility of getting injured in the long run (which will be further explained below).

2. Increase Overall Fitness
The aim of cross training is also to increase strength to improve your overall performance in the pool. It can be designed according to your age, skill level and the different body parts you want to target. Cross training can help improve your overall physical fitness if you include different types of workouts that focus on different aspects of your body such as endurance and strength.

Our body works in a special way when something new is being introduced. Your brain will naturally remind your body to keep working and mastering this new set of skills. This sudden change in your workout routine can potentially enhance your overall health fitness which will improve performance levels in swimming.

Cross training also helps individuals develop greater body conditioning through the variations in workouts. At the end of the day, it depends on what kind of exercises you include in your workout routine.

3. Injury Prevention
Cross training that includes different shoulder exercises will contribute to better performance while reducing the risk of injuries.Why is this good to take note? Now, just imagine if all your swimming practices are the same (e.g. clock 50 laps per session), you are constantly stressing on the same muscle group that will cause you to overuse that muscle group. This is where cross training comes into place! It allows your frequently used body muscles to rest and recover before heading back to your trainings. If you keep on working on the same muscle group, it will neglect the rest of your body parts and it will cause an imbalance as a whole.

Now, what are you waiting for? We need to get your body moving!

swimmers doing dryland training

Here is a simple cross-training workout plan for swimmers who want to have a variation of workout that does not include water trainings. Tadah! Have you guys heard of dryland training? :)

Dryland trainings focus on improving your strength and conditioning. It is a land-based activity which help improve your strength, flexibility and overall physical mobility. It is very useful to a swimmer because not only does it provide different benefits as mentioned above, it helps swimmers increase stroke rate and improves their distance per stroke! Sounds good yeah? Improving on your swimming skills without touching the water!

So fellow swimmers, let’s start your cross training journey with this workout! Do share with us if this workout is as simple as it seems to be. :P

Dryland Workout

Goal: To increase overall strength and explosive movements

dynamic warmups and static stretching


You can first start off with dynamic warmups and static stretching!

athlete stretching before workout


Dynamic warmup:
1) Arm circles (Small, Medium, Large)
2) Arm Swings (Tricep & Chest)
3) Legs (Leg swings & Butt kicks)
4) Core (Plank hold, T-rotation, Arm and leg raise)

Dryland workout for beginners:
1) Burpees x10
2) Alternating Jump Lunge x10
3) Leg lifts x10
4) Plank progression x10
*Repeat this for 5 sets and rest 30-60 seconds in between (depending on your condition)

Dryland workout for advanced swimmers:
1) Pushups x10 (Regular, Wide, Diamond, Weighted & Clapper)
2) Donkey Kicks x10
3) Sit to Stand Jumps x10
4) Pull Ups x10 (Regular, Neutral, Wide, Reverse (Curl) & Clapper)
*Repeat this for 5 sets and rest 30-60 seconds in between (depending on your condition)

Let me share this pro tip so that you guys can challenge yourself by making the workout harder. You can actually modify the whole workout to improve your mobility that can help enhance your swimming performance!

Here is an example of how you can modify your workouts: You can add in additional workouts on top of the current one you have such as burpees with pushups or squat jumps with the same number of sets. If you still think it is not challenging enough, you can reduce your rest time in between or increase the number of total sets.

Now with all the benefits and health tips plus workout guides provided, there’s no excuses not to get things started.

So what are you waiting for? Let’s do it now!!!

We would love to hear about your swimming stories!
Join our Decathlon Singapore Swimming Club by liking our Facebook page to do so! :)

Till then, happy swimming! :)

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