Core conditioning is to swimming as water is to a pool, so if you don't work your abdominal muscles, you will sink.
"Everything comes off the center of your body when swimming," says U.S. Olympic swimmer Mark Gangloff. "The better your abs are, the less break there is in your body going down the pool, and the better you're going to be."
Weight training for swimming should focus on gaining strength that can be applied in the pool. Follow along to learn how Gangloff uses dumbbells with his abdominal routine.
Russian Twist with Dumbbell
Holding one dumbbell, rest upper back on physioball, with hips up and feet flat on floor
Extend arms straight out to sides, then roll shoulder to shoulder
Go through full range of motion
Sets/Reps: 3x8-10, with 30 seconds rest
Coaching Points: Keep hips up // Roll shoulder to shoulder
Benefits: The dumbbell adds resistance and mimics the swimming motion with the rotation. Gangloff uses Russian Twists as a warm-up exercise to get his core muscles firing.
Toe Touches with Dumbbell
Lie on back with legs straight and toes pointing toward ceiling
Holding one dumbbell, extend arms straight out
Reach up and touch toes with dumbbell
Crunch with your core
Sets/Reps: 3x8-12, with 60 seconds rest
Coaching Points: Use abs to crunch up // Keep legs straight up // Don't use momentum to rock up
Benefits: Works the full coreboth lower and upper abdominal musclesas well as upper back.
Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock