View Full Version : How to swim to gain muscle

May 28th, 2012, 08:51 AM
Hello everybody,

first of all I want to apologize for my very basic english... Being a french speaker, I really hope that you will manage to understand my message...
I'm 28 years old (85 kg for 1.84 meters)
I've started swimming for about 3 months ago, I swim 4 to 5 times a week.
I swim in free style only for about 1.5 miles (continiously without having rest).
I do want to tone up and developp my muscles without going to the gym (can't stand a minute of bodybuilding). I've been told that the best way to get some muscle mass is to swim short distances in high speed. Is that right ?
I also want to know what is the shortest distance you can swim using paddles without risking to hurt your shoulders...

thanking you in anticipation,

Kevin in MD
May 29th, 2012, 04:55 PM

By far the best way to build muscle is to increase your protein intake and do some strength work with weights. But you say you dislike that very much.

So yes, in that case the best way to build muscle with swimming only would be the type of training that sprinters do. That is very different from what you are currently doing. To get oriented on the proper way to train for sprinting, you'll need a good resource. I am sorry that I don't know any French language resources for you but you will probably find these books helpful.

"The Swim Coaching Bible" first edition that was published roughly 5 years ago. Also, "Championship Swim Training" which really lays out a comprehensive start to finish guide for swim training and you can then direct it at sprinting.

Also, even if you don't wish to use weights, there are lots of body weight exercises that can help you build muscle. Most of which don't require any equipment at all. I suggest a search of google or youtube for "body weight exercises" or the equivalent in your native language and I think you will get hundreds of examples.

Good luck

Mark Herrmann
July 8th, 2012, 12:51 PM
"Swimming Anatomy" by Ian McLeod is a great book for detailed descriptions of land exercises swimmers can do to build muscle, while improving the mucsles you specifically use for swimming.

We have set up a 23 exercise circuit we do with our team that incorporates many of these exercises, and it's really made a difference.