Image of Ryan Lochte from aestheticmed.co.uk
Everyone gets started with fitness with a certain picture in their mind, of how they want their body to look. Some people may get inspired by their favorite celebrities or sportspersons and want to replicate their bodies.
One of the most prominent sports personalities of the past decade was Michael Phelps, and all of us remember tuning in to the Olympics and see him killing it every time he got into that pool. The most decorated Olympic athlete in history, Michael Phelps’s achievements have been a source of envy for swimmers worldwide.
A swimmer’s body is exceptionally coveted among fitness enthusiasts everywhere. After all, there’s nothing like the sight of water droplets dropping down broad and straight shoulders down onto seemingly handmade abs and perfectly toned thighs.
So What Is It About A Swimmer’s Body That Drives Us Mad?
Image credits to SwimSwam
When you think about the perfect body and Greek gods or the Statue Of David, what comes to mind?
Broad shoulders, a wide frame, defined abs and that very desirable V-shaped taper from the abs to the hips.
The body of a swimmer is the very ideal of such a picture. The lean and mean build with almost no discernible body fat drives people crazy and is entirely worth the long hours you need to put in the gym to achieve it.
If you boil it down, the reason why this body type is so attractive to both men and women is that this type of body is very lean, without being too bulky. Most people aren’t that big fans of the Arnold Schwarzenegger or the Hulk look. Swimmers have a very natural, yet muscular look which is low in body fat and shows off their definition.
Another reason why this body type looks so good is because it’s symmetrical and the body dimensions are perfectly even. The upper body is just as muscular as the lower body and no body parts overpower any other.
So What Does It Take To Get A Swimmer’s Body?
A swimmer’s body doesn’t come from just swimming. They don’t stay in shape by swimming. In fact, it’s the reverse. They stay in shape so they can swim better.
Swimmers need to be really powerful, yet enough light enough to move quickly through the water. Thus instead of building bigger muscles, swimmers focus on improving muscular endurance—with the goal of being able to swim longer without getting tired.
For this purpose, swimmers do a lot of cross-training to make sure that all the muscle groups develop evenly and their bodies are in the best of shape when they jump into that pool. This type of cross-variety training helps builds longer, leaner muscles, and with that comes a lighter body and a more aerodynamic profile. These are the different fitness activities you need to do on a regular basis to get that dream body:
1. Strength Training:
A basic requirement of getting fit for any sport is strength training. Without a certain amount of strength, your body will not be able to keep up with demanding exercise regimens.
What separates a swimmer’s body from the rest of the pack are the shoulders and the back. Hence, ensure you do enough exercises that target the shoulders and the back, like pull-ups, rows, and lat pulldowns.
Swimming also requires highly agile and muscular hands and legs to overcome the water resistance and push yourself forward. Your glutes, biceps, and triceps should all be in the best of shape to guide you through the water pressure.
The best exercise for this purpose is the rowing machine. The rowing machine simultaneously works biceps, shoulder, quadriceps and the gluteus maximus muscles. An added benefit is the rowing machine also works your core muscles, which include your upper and lower abdominals, obliques and lower back muscles.
2. Crossfit training:
High-intensity training in CrossFit is immensely beneficial for building muscle endurance, which will keep your body lean and help it stay in shape for the long term. CrossFit is a form of exercise that focuses on all fitness components, primarily muscle strength, cardiorespiratory endurance, and power.
In certain ways, CrossFit is very similar to swimming. Just like swimming, CrossFit is a total body exercise where your entire body is working. The only difference is in CrossFit, you’re working out simultaneously and repeatedly for no longer than 20 minutes.
This means that instead of working one set of muscle groups at a time, we are working multiple ( strengthening your arms and legs, while working the core.) Crossfit is a form of functional training and there are plenty of CrossFit exercises which emulate movements you would make while swimming.
For example, the kipping pull up which resembles the butterfly stroke in swimming. In contrast to normal pull-ups that are mostly arm strength based, the kipping pull up uses a successive firing of muscle groups in order to move the body from fully extended below the bar to finally, chin over the bar. Becoming proficient at kipping pull-ups requires not only upper body strength but careful rhythmic coordination of all muscles involved, including the midline and the lower body.
Along with this, it will also be beneficial to try out some yoga exercises which will free up your body and give it flexibility, so your muscles don’t feel all rigid and stiff.
Shoulder flexibility is very important in swimming and yoga can bring some sweet release into the shoulders and the upper back after long laps at the swimming pool. Apart from added flexibility, another reason you would want to include yoga in your exercise regimen is to make your body less susceptible to injuries.
Focusing on yoga will increase the range of motion for swimmers and lengthen muscle tissue at the same time as stabilizing the joint forming greater integrity and strength. This will cause fewer injuries and joint stiffness.
Also, the breath awareness from yoga will translate well into swimming, since the movements are synchronized with the breath in both swimming and yoga. Regular yoga will definitely improve your lung capacity and cardiovascular health.
Check out: Best Swimming Pools in Pune
This is a no-brainer. If you want to look like a swimmer, you need to put in the laps. Swimming is the ideal mix which combines cardio with a full body workout. Only about 3% of the energy you expend in swimming is translated to forward motion. The rest of it goes to overcome water resistance. This form of resistance training works out your whole body evenly and tones your muscles to get that perfect symmetry which is the hallmark of a swimmers body.
The constant motion in swimming is great for cardiovascular health and does wonders for your heart and lungs. It also helps build strength and endurance. Thus, the more you swim, the more your endurance goes up, letting you work out harder next time around.
Download the Fitato App to get access to swimming pools, gyms, CrossFit and yoga studios across the city with only one all-access pass.
A single Fitato membership will give you access to more than 250 partner gyms and fitness studios with a total of 1000+ fitness activities which includes swimming, yoga, etc. Choose your own fitness schedule and book your appointments accordingly. You can mix and match your fitness activities any way you want.
Just download the app, select a fitness activity, a date, a gym or a fitness studio near you and you’re good to go.