words Al Woods
No matter what you think, swimming is an incredibly useful skill that can be used in a variety of different situations. From a fitness standpoint, it can help to provide you with full-body workouts that are engaging and enjoyable. From an injury and rehabilitation standpoint, swimming can help your joints and muscles move in a safe way to promote recovery.
Finally, from a leisure standpoint, swimming is a great activity to do with your friends in a pool or a lake. Having the ability to swim can also mean life or death if you are thrown into certain situations. There are many different ways that you can improve your swimming skills as well to ensure that you can participate fully in any water activity. Here are six practical tips to help improve your swimming skills.
The best way you can improve your swimming skills is by taking lessons. Sure you can learn how to swim on your own, but having a trained professional by your side can make a huge difference. During swim lessons, instructors will take a look at your technique and make any corrections necessary. The best part about taking lessons is that you don’t have to be a beginner or an expert to get something out of it. Swim instructors will meet you at your swim level and provide you with an experience that will instantly improve your skills in the water. Whether you are just looking to swim casually, or you are training for competitive swimming, lessons will definitely help take you to the next level.
Add Drills to your Swimming
While you will improve your swimming skills by just being in the water, you might not improve as fast as you’d like. Having a training regimen goes a long way toward improving your overall fitness and swim levels. For example, if you are trying to improve your freestyle swimming, you can add a one-arm drill where you really dial in on the movement of your left arm. After you have done that for a leg or two, you can switch and do the same with your right arm. Not only will this help you refine your technique, but it will also push your body harder, allowing for better swimming in the future.
Slowly Increase Your Distance
The next thing you can do to improve your swimming skills is to increase the distance or time in which you swim. Swimming is a cardiovascular activity and just like running, your body will reach a point where it starts to struggle to continue at the required pace. Hitting a certain distance for a week and then increasing it the next will slowly increase your body’s stamina and allow you to swim for longer periods of time. For the largest improvement, we recommend improving both your swimming distance and your pace. Please be careful when doing this as you can overwork your body. Trained coaches recommend never increasing your pace or your distance by more than 5% in any given session. This will help to reduce the risk of injury.
This tip is more for people who are looking to be competitive swimmers, however, even the casual swimmer will find an improvement in their skills through strength training. Swimming uses muscles across your whole body. Therefore, if you make these muscles stronger, your body will be able to go longer and faster. Squats and leg presses will help to increase your leg drive while swimming, and push-ups, and shoulder and back exercises can help improve your range of motion and arm movements. Strength training is a great way to improve your swimming skills while also building a healthy lifestyle for yourself.
Practice Breathing Techniques
Swimming isn’t all about movement and strength training. If you plan on going underwater, unless you are secretly a fish, you are going to have to hold your breath. Breath control and the ability to hold your breath are other skills that can be practiced and improved over time through various different exercises. The best part about this is that you don’t even need to be in the water to practice. To do this, simply take a slow deep breath in and then hold your breath. After holding it for a period of time, slowly exhale the air. The goal of these exercises is to be fully in control of your breath at all times. Repeating these exercises across several weeks or even months will; allow you to stay under the water for longer periods of time. We also do recommend practicing remaining calm under the water as well, as being anxious or nervous can cause you to run out of air quicker.
Join a Swim Club or Swim Team
The final way you can improve your swimming skills is by joining a club or team at your local community center. People often improve best when they are working with others and are being pushed to improve. Being in a swim club means there are going to be plenty of friendly races and competitions for you to take part in with the friends that you are going to make. Just like in previously discussed methods, the people in the swimming clubs can take a look at your technique and can offer improvements. You also are likely to run into swimmers who are better than you. Training with these people will allow you to improve your skills as naturally, you are going to want to keep up with them. Swimming with others in a club is not only fun, but it can also help to improve your swimming skills.
Take a look at these options and see what works best for you. At the end of the day, swimming should be something that is fun for you. If you find enjoyment in joining a team or taking lessons, then we highly recommend that you do it. The more you enjoy the activity that you are doing, the more likely you are to continue pushing forward. We wish you the best of luck on your swimming journey and hope that you achieve the goals that you set for yourself.