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So your local pool is shut, and your local sports shop is all out of home training equipment. Sound familiar? In recent weeks steepers, spin bikes, dumbbells, resistance bands and any other home gym equipments have been flying off the shelves at an alarming rate. But, you don’t always need all the latest gear and gadgets to get a good workout, infact, sometimes you don’t need anything at all!
So, before you resort to practicing your technique in the bath; take a look at our guide to 5 body weight only exercises brought to you by one of our very own, Megan, who is a qualified personal trainer and also a qualified swim instructor. These exercises are sure to help keep your fitness coming on swimmingly this year.
Press- ups, or push- ups as you might otherwise know them, are an exercise which involves lying facing the floor with your back straight, and raising your body onto your hands and toes by pressing down on the hands and extending your arms.
A regression of the press-up would be to a modified press-up, with the knees lowered to the floor. However, when doing this regression, ensure to keep the body elongated and lower the entire body to the floor to complete your press up. Alternatively you could perform an incline press- up, where the upper body is raised from the floor (for example using the arm of your sofa). This uses the entire body in the same way as a standard press up, but the raised upper body means you are lifting less of your body weight. The higher the incline the easier the press- up.
A progression of the press- up is the decline press- up. Here the feet are elevated on to a solid platform (your bottom step will do) before you complete your press up. Your body will now be aligned at an angle to the floor, rather than parallel, and thus you will be lifting more of your body weight. The higher the decline the harder the exercise becomes.
This is a great move for swimmers as it is a compound exercise which engages the pectoralis major (chest), deltoids (shoulder), triceps (back of the arm), serratus anterior (wing – under armpit) and, to maintain correct body position throughout the exercise, the core.
Strengthening these muscles will improve the stability of your swimming and ensure a powerful stroke.
This variation requires more stability from the core and back, and is a tougher workout for the shoulders. Start in standard push-up position with your body in a straight line. Then, before performing your press-up stagger your hands so that one hand is slightly forward, while the other either remains directly under your shoulder or slightly behind. You can either alternate hand positions for each press-up, or complete sets in alternating positions.
This variation is similar to the staggered press-up, but requires greater balance and core control. You begin in standard press- up position (hands under shoulders(or slightly wider), body in a straight line). Then, as you lower into a press-up, bring one knee up towards the elbow on the same side. Then, as you push your body back up, return the lifted leg back to the starting position. Alternate sides for each press up.
The diamond press-up is an excellent variation for swimmers as it further isolates the pectorals, and the prime mover of the exercise is the triceps; the muscles which allow you to push your front crawl stroke back towards your hips. The ‘diamond’ is formed by bringing your hands together, with the thumbs and forefingers touching, before you complete your press- up. It is important, with this variation not to let the elbows splay to widely. Instead, try to keep them close to the sides of your body. It can be very difficult to complete a press-up with the hands touching, so you can progress this variation slowly, by bringing the hands closer together as your strength and range of motion improve.
No Pool, No Gym, No Weights? No Problem! Come back tomorrow for more body weight workout hints, tips, progressions and more…
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