08 September, 2011
Abdominal Exercises for a Swimmer's Body
Swimmers are often known for their exceptional physique and well defined abdominals. Swimming involves heavy utilization of many muscles within your core area. Using exercises that target the same muscles that swimmers utilize will help you develop a swimmer's body. There are many dry-land exercises that swimmers utilize that strengthen muscles required for swimming, and they are effective in developing a swimmer's physique.
Butterfly kicks, sometimes referred to as lying scissor kicks, focus on the lower portion of your abdominals and resemble the kicking motion swimmers utilize. Start by lying out on the floor with your back down and stomach up. Put your hands underneath your butt with your palms facing the floor. Straighten out your legs and place your feet together. Lift both of your heels 2 to 3 inches off the floor. Lift your left leg 2 to 3 inches. Now raise your right leg 2 to 3 inches while simultaneously lowering your left leg 2 to 3 inches. Continue raising and lowering your legs simultaneously for 30 to 60 seconds.
The bicycle maneuver works all of the muscles in your core with your obliques working the hardest. This exercise works many of the same muscles swimmers use when performing alternating overhead strokes in the water. Start with your back on the floor and your legs straight. Put both of your palms against the back of your head with your elbows pointing to the sides. Bend your right knee toward your midsection while simultaneously rotating your left elbow to meet it. Touch your left elbow to your right knee and then return to the starting position. Now, bend your left knee toward your torso while rotating your right elbow to meet it. Again, touch the two in the middle and return to the starting position. Now, alternate touches with your left and right elbow for 30 to 60 seconds. For more of a challenge, try to keep your feet off the ground for the full duration.
Pike touches work both the lower and upper section of your abdominals. Swimmers who utilize the breaststroke utilize similar muscles to those worked with the pike touches exercise. Again, start with your back on the floor. This time, places your arms together, above your head on the floor. Straighten out your legs on the floor and place your heels together. Rotate your legs upward while simultaneously lifting your upper back off the floor. Touch your outstretched hands to your toes and then return your limbs to the floor. Repeat a total of 20 repetitions. For a greater challenge, try to keep your heels slightly off the floor after each touch.
Like the pike touch exercise, briefcases also work the same muscles involved in the breaststroke. Start by sitting upright on the floor. Move your legs away from your body while keeping your knees bent, and place your feet flat on the floor. Place your hands next to your hips on the floor. Lean back 6 inches to 1 foot. Beginners should stay at the 6-inch mark while stronger individuals should use the 1-foot mark. Contract your abdominals and lift your upper body toward your lower body. Simultaneously lift your feet off the floor and draw your knees toward your chest. Touch your knees to your chest while balancing on your hands and butt. Return your feet to the floor and lean back again. Repeat a total of 20 touches. For an even greater challenge, keep your feet slightly off the floor at all times and place your arms across your chest.
- Swimming World: The A.B.C.'s of Abs -- Great Abdominal Exercises; Bill Volckening
- ExRx.net: Lying Scissor Kick
- American Council on Exercise; New Study Puts the Crunch on Ineffective Ab Exercises
- American Council on Exercise: 5 Summer Ab Exercises with Jessica
- NASM Essentials of Personal Fitness Training: National Academy of Sports Medicine
- ACSM's Resources for the Personal Trainer; American College of Sports Medicine
- NSCA's Essentials of Personal Training; Roger Earle, et al.
- Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images