Total Core Workout for Swimmers

2014 Aug | By

By Jacqueline Brennan, NASM-CPT

Having a strong core is crucial for swimmers. The core is responsible for maintaining stability through your center, but also for providing coordinated movement of the arms and legs.

We know all of you are always looking for new dryland training exercises. Here are eight Pilates exercises to challenge your stability, strength and core endurance!

1) Opposite Arm/Leg Reach: Begin on all four (quadruped position) and engage your core to stabilize your center. Without shifting weight from right to left extend your right arm forward and your left leg back. Hold for a count of four and return to center. Switch to the opposite side. Repeat 6x on each side. Remember to keep your hips square to the ground and your shoulders grounded away from your ears.

2) Side Plank: Lie on your side with your feet stacked or staggered, find your hand directly underneath your shoulder and press yourself up. Keep your head in line with your spine and your hips stacked. Draw your shoulder away from your ear, engage your back and core muscles to support your spine. You can increase the intensity by lifting the top leg, lowering and lifting your hips, adding rotation of your upper body and you can modify by dropping down to the bottom knee and holding.

3) Side Plank + Rotation: Begin in a side plank position on your forearm with your elbow directly underneath your shoulder, feet can be stacked or staggered. Rotate your torso reaching your top arm through. Return to a side plank position and repeat. Complete 1-3 sets of 10 and repeat on the other side.

4) Criss Cross: Also known as the bicycle, this exercise can be so wonderful when done right. Slow down and rotate from your center rather than from you neck. Focus on curling up and rotating, think lift and turn. Keeping your elbows wide will help avoid pulling on your neck muscles. When done correctly after 6-8 repetitions you will feel the work!

5) Plank: For easy proper alignment start in a quadruped (all four) position, with your hands directly underneath your shoulders and holding strong through your core extend your right leg straight back and your left leg to meet it. Keep your body in one long line with your chin lifted up off of your chest and your back wide. Challenge yourself and try to hold for between 30-60 seconds. You can perform this on your forearms as well.

6) Advanced Oblique Curls: Lying supine, raise both legs to a 90-degree angle or as straight to the ceiling as you can (this can also be performed with the knees bent to tabletop). Reach your arms straight up over your chest, keeping your shoulders down away from your ears and curl your head, neck, and shoulders off of the mat. Begin by lowering your left leg to hover over the ground while keeping your right leg reaching to the ceiling. Rotate your torso towards your right leg (the leg reaching up) taking your arms to the outside. Curl up a little higher. Inhale and lower a little and exhale to curl back up. Repeat 10x on each side.

7) Double Straight Leg Ab Curl: Extend both legs straight up and curl your head neck and shoulders off the mat. Inhale and lower back to the mat just two bones (little movement) and exhale curl up higher. Keep your tailbone heavy and your shoulders down away from your ears. Move from your center!

8) Swimming: Lying supine, lift your upper and lower body off your mat by engaging your upper back muscles and the muscles of the entire back line of your legs. Keep your head in line with your spine to avoid straining your neck. Lift and lower your opposite arm and leg, repeat.

Jacquelyn Brennan is a health and wellness expert who shares her knowledge daily at Fitsouffle. She holds a degree in kinesiology, and currently teaches Pilates, group exercise, and is a Certified Personal Trainer in Chicago, IL. Jacquelyn loves inspiring others to get moving, stay healthy, eat well, and learn how to exercise effectively.

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