Swimming is an excellent cross-training exercise for runners. It’s a low-impact activity that can improve cardiovascular endurance, strengthen muscles, and improve flexibility. Whether a beginner or an experienced runner, incorporating swimming into your training routine can help you become a more robust and well-rounded athlete. Here are some of the best swimming exercises for runners.
- Freestyle Swimming
Freestyle swimming is a common stroke and an excellent exercise for runners. The full-body workout targets the core, arms, and legs and improves cardiovascular endurance. Freestyle swimming can also help improve breathing technique, which is crucial for runners.
The exercise is simple. Start by lying face down in the water and extending your arms forward. Pull your arms down towards your hips while simultaneously kicking your legs. Alternate your arms and legs continuously, making sure to breathe in through your mouth and out through your nose.
Breaststroke is another popular swimming stroke that can benefit runners. It’s a low-impact exercise that strengthens the chest, shoulders, and back muscles. Breaststroke can also help improve posture, which is essential for runners who spend a lot of time on their feet.
To perform a breaststroke, lay face down in the water and place your arms straight in front of you. Pull your arms towards your chest while simultaneously kicking your legs out and then in. As you bring your legs back in, make sure to keep them close to your body.
Backstroke is a great exercise for runners that targets the upper body, especially the back and shoulder muscles. It can also improve posture and flexibility. Backstroke can be an excellent way to cool down after a run or as a warm-up before a workout. Start the backstroke by lying on your back with your arms straight overhead. Pull your arms down towards your hips while simultaneously kicking your legs. As you pull your arms down, rotate your shoulders to help propel yourself forward.
- The Butterfly
The butterfly is a more advanced swimming stroke that can benefit runners who are looking to challenge themselves. It’s a full-body workout that targets the core, chest, and leg muscles. It can also help improve overall strength and power, translating to faster running times.
Begin performing the butterfly by lying face down in the water and placing your arms straight in front of you. Pull your arms towards your hips while simultaneously kicking your legs up and down in a dolphin-like motion. Make sure to keep your hips and shoulders in line and your head down.
- Pool Running
Pool running is an excellent exercise for runners who are recovering from an injury or looking to reduce the impact on their joints. It’s a low-impact exercise that mimics the motion of running on land. Pool running can also help improve cardiovascular endurance and muscle strength.
To perform pool running, stand in waist-deep water and run in place. Make sure to engage your core and pump your arms as you would during a regular run. You can also use a buoyancy belt to help keep you afloat.
Incorporating swimming into your training routine can be an excellent way to become a stronger and more well-rounded runner. Freestyle, breaststroke, backstroke, butterfly, and pool running are all excellent exercises that can benefit runners of all levels. So if you’re looking to mix up your training routine or just want to give your joints a break, consider hitting the pool for your next workout.