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Swimming combines high amounts of aerobic activity with muscle-building activity that builds long-lean muscles for a V-shaped build -- slim waists and toned backs, shoulders and arms. Swimmers work almost all of the major muscle groups. Competitive swimmers, who have the most sculpted bodies, exercise at vigorous intensities and commonly include cross-training through weight-lifting exercises and running or jogging to improve cardiovascular fitness. During off-seasons competitive swimmers include dry-land practice to maintain their swimmers build, physique, stamina and overall fitness.
Incorporate aerobic activity a minimum of 150 minutes weekly, as suggested by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Running and jogging can help improve your cardiovascular fitness, which burns calories and helps build muscle. Other activities may include Pilates for building long-lean muscles that mimic a swimmer's build. A common Pilates exercise includes вЂњthe hundred.вЂќ Lay on your back with knees bent into your chest. As you breathe out, concentrate on pushing your chest and stomach toward the floor.
Include the rowing machine to simultaneously work bicep, shoulder, quadricepts and gluteus maximus muscles with aerobic activity. The rowing machine also works your core muscles, which include your upper and lower abdominals, obliques and lower back muscles. Consider using the rowing machine as a warm up to your regular aerobic activity or in replace of your aerobic activity. Secure your feet in the straps so your feet don't move as you slide. Bring your knees to your chest as you pull the handle using an overhand grip. Straighten your legs, but keep them slightly bent. Repeat the process.
Add lat pulls to work upper back and arm muscles including the latissimus dorsi, teres major, and pectoralis major. Lat pulls are completed by sitting at a machine that has a bar suspended by a cord that is attached to weights and a chair positioned under the bar. Complete lat pulls by grasping the bar overhead with arms shoulder-width apart and lean back slightly as you pull the bar in front of your face by and lowering the bar toward your ribs.
Complete dips that work the chest muscles, including the deltoid, triceps and pectoralis major. Dips work the muscles that benefit all four strokes, particularly in the pull phase. This exercise particularly benefits breaststroke swimmers because it mimics the underwater pull performed during the start and turn and each wall. Position yourself on a dip bar, shoulder-width apart and support your weight with your arms. If you do not have access to a dip bar, you can use the monkey bars at a local park. Arms should be straight. Lean with your chest forward as you lower your body. Stop when your upper arms feel a stretch in the front part of the shoulders. Straighten your arms to the beginning position.
Work your core muscles, specifically your obliques, abdominals and gluteus maximus muscles by completing planks in three positions. Planks help to stabilize and build muscle. Front or home position is completed by placing yourself in the start-up push up position with the exception of placing your forearms on the floor. Hold your body in a straight line to provide proper support to your lower back. To complete planks on your right and left side, rotate your body to one side so you are perpendicular to the floor and supported by one arm instead of two. Go back to home position or the front position. Rotate your body to the other side so you are perpendicular to the floor and supported by one arm instead of two. Hold each position for 30-, 45- and 60-second intervals or longer.
- Start by completing the amount of exercise that feels comfortable for you and work your way up to more repetitions and more frequently throughout the week. Beginners should start with 10 to 15 repetitions of each exercise and repeat two to three sets. More intense exercise yields more results. Give yourself at least two days off from weight-baring exercise weekly so your body can recover. For vigorous exercise, shoot for your target heart rate, which is 220 minus your age.