View Full Version : How "strong" do you need to be?

May 10th, 2007, 10:28 PM
If this question has been asked/answered in another post, then I apologize. I've read in numerous places that fast swimmers don't really need a lot of weightlifting strength to go fast. But at the same time I see many posts about dryland exercises that involve some form of resistance training. So, has there been any studies showing a strength to bodyweight ratio regarding lifting weights? If so, what exercises were involved? I ask this with the assumption that swimming technique is not a factor, as in - "both swimmer A and swimmer B have technique down, but swimmer B is stronger in X amount of lifts. I hope this makes sense. Any thoughts? Thanks.:bouncing:

May 11th, 2007, 10:10 AM
This is a great question! I advocate training tagonist and antogonist muscles groups or opposite muscle groups. I do bicep/tricep, Quad/Ham, chest/back, Lats/deltoids, Soleus/Gastrocs, Abdominals/Lower back. I think Reverse flys, Shoulder cuff strengthening exercises, rowing and EVF isometrics should be done on every off day, before or after swimming. You don't need to spend more than 45min training three times a week to see some great results in about 6 to eight weeks. Symetry is the key along with a nice comfortable weight that you can do 8-12 (strength) 12-20 (tone) 20 to 50 (endurance). There's a lot of other things you can do to help your swimming (EVF Isometrics).

To answer the question, it doesn't take a great deal of strength to swim fast but it still remains an important variable. Holding the shoulder in an efficient position so an early vertical forearm can be attained requires a fit an symetrically built shoulder cuff and surrounding upper back muscles. So try to develop a totally fit body and you're going to feel and swim better. Good luck, Coach T.

May 11th, 2007, 10:18 AM
It seems like you want to quantify the unquantifiable. That is okay, I'll give it my best shot: I went from swimming a 22.0 in yards to a 23.9 in LCM in the first 15 months that I got serious about lifting weights. Don't worry about losing (swimming) technique unless you are lifting 5 times a week with heavy weights. In other words, be sensible.

Allen Stark
May 11th, 2007, 11:35 AM
Lifting weights has definitely improved my swimming times.It's pretty much impossible to symetrically strenghen the rotator cuff by just swimming. Core strength is easier to develope with dryland exercises. Swimming is a high rep low weight exercise and as such limits the muscle power you can develope from swimming alone. Power is essential in sprints.

May 11th, 2007, 04:19 PM
"If both swimmer A and swimmer B have technique down, but swimmer B is stronger in X amount of lifts.

Based on this premise...swimmer B has the advantage.

As you've already implied...increases in muscle power alone won't make an average swimmer into a great one.
Technique has to be the foundation for good swimming.

Increasing "horsepower" comes afterwards.

May 13th, 2007, 03:19 PM

No worries if that is you in the picture.

May 13th, 2007, 07:22 PM

No worries if that is you in the picture.

Yeah, that is me, although a few years ago. Sadly, squatting only seems to help on starts and turns. Interestingly, there's definitely a different kind of strength or power associated with weightlifting as opposed to swimming :D
Thanks for the responses.

May 16th, 2007, 08:50 PM
I had similar questions and was told my strength was fine.

My bench strength has only fallen off a little since I started swimming (mainly because I don't weight train anymore, I'm sure I could bounce back in 4 weeks), and my strength endurance has acutally gotten better (I can do more push ups and dips now than before).

Certain strength has gone up significantly. I see this mainly in my pulling ability as in pull ups. My lats and upper back have gotten visibly bigger.

Personally, as a master, I really only see a need to do some leg specific things. I think devoting all my energy to swimming is the thing to do right now.

When you think about it, high intensity pool sprints IS weight training.