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The ultimate guide to gaining muscle with swimming

Training in the gym, focused on strength work, is not the only one with which you can develop muscles. It is also possible to gain muscle by swimming, as long as you train in a certain way. Do you want to know how to increase your muscle mass in the pool?

The swimming is a complete aerobic sport that additionally to performing on aquatic environment involves a low impact on muscles and joints. Its benefits are manifold. We know that it is ideal for burning calories and fat, excellent for increasing flexibility, agility and coordination of movements but sometimes, we forget that swimming can also increase the volume and power of the muscles.

Arms, legs, back and abdomen intervene in the movements that the different swimming styles imply, working hard to overcome the resistance of the water and get us to move in it. Just look at the muscles that most professional swimmers have and if you also want to gain muscle while swimming, take note!

How to swim to grow your muscles

If your goal is to achieve greater muscle development by swimming , keep in mind that you will have to do intense workouts in which speed prevails and in which you can also include an accessory to increase resistance and make your muscles work thoroughly. In addition to learning to combine swimming with strength sessions in the gym, the keys to gaining more muscle with swimming are:

1) Vary the rhythms

In swimming, as in any other sport, the body gets used to the constant effort required of it. To increase the work of your muscles while swimming, change your rhythm. You have several ways to do it: including High Speed ​​Intervals (HITT) over a long distance; doing a series of 3 – 4 short laps (25 meters maximum) sprinting and taking minimal breaks between them (20 – 40 seconds) or also, swimming a few pools while gradually increasing your speed. These are all examples of swimming techniques to build muscle.

2) Change styles

Front crawl, breaststroke, butterfly or backstroke. There are many muscles involved in the movement of swimming, but, depending on the style you choose, some intervene more than others, so, if you want a harmonious muscle development, the ideal is that you change your style every 2 – 3 lengths.  Combine all the styles and you will have a complete strength training in the water:

  • Swimming fast to crawl you will be able to work practically all of your muscles: shoulders, pectorals, abdominal backs.
  • In breaststroke, the legs, essential in the advance, and again the pectorals are the most involved.
  • The butterfly style is the hardest and works strength especially in the abdomen and upper body, arms included.
  • Swimming on the back is an extra effort for the shoulders, trunk and of course for the muscles of the back.

3) Specific exercises

The secret to gaining muscle by swimming is to do it quickly and intensely and with a variety of styles, but you can also practice swimming by doing some exercises that enhance certain areas. For example, some coaches recommend swimming using the feet as little as possible to strengthen biceps and triceps or, on the contrary, holding a cork board with the hands so as not to use the arms while swimming and, in this way, focus exclusively, in the “kick” at the time of swimming. If you do, you will get your leg muscles to work at maximum power and you will be able to swim faster. Don’t forget to warm up before swimming to prevent injuries and prepare your muscles.

4) Introduce elements that increase resistance

In addition to the float board, there are other accessories for your swimming workouts that can come to you to build muscle while you swim. If you want more development in the shoulders and arms, try putting some swimming paddles in your hands. You will see how the paddle gives you more momentum and you swim faster, but each stroke is going to cost you a little more due to the resistance of the water (that is what it is all about). Also the pull buoy, a small float that is placed between the thighs, is excellent for your work in the pool to focus especially on the development of the upper body muscles.

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