TRIsolation Part 1: Swim-based Training You Can Do At Home

Amidst the global issues we are currently facing during the COVID-19 outbreak, a lot of us fit and active people are wondering how to stay on top of our training regimes while we are largely stuck at home in ‘self isolation’.

We’re putting together a TRIsolation series of tips, training sessions, and health advice for athletes who are stuck indoors and want to continue training to stay fit. It’ll help you stay on top of your form, keep things interesting for your training, and also stay focused in a period of uncertainty.

Check out Part 1, which covers swim-based sessions you can do without a pool, all from the comfort of your own home.

3 band ‘swimming’ exercises

With pool closures or advice to avoid swimming pools and other public places, this can present a bit of a problem for us triathletes – unless, of course, you can swim in open water without freezing to death! The good news is that you can still train your swim muscles without actually getting in the water, using inexpensive bands and stretch cords, easily available to buy online.

1) Attach a band or stretch cord around something solid such as a door handle (making sure the door is firmly closed), and step away until the band or cord is taut. Fold your upper body from the waist so that your upper body is horizontal to the ground, and stand shoulder width apart with a slight bend in your knees. Ensure your stance is stable. Take a band/cord in one hand and in a smooth, controlled way, extend your arm as if you are conducting the catch and pull phase of the swim stroke, all the way down to your hip, and slowly release back up. This exercise will activate the lats, shoulders, arms and core in a very similar way to that of swimming, ensuring you can keep these muscles strong and conditioned. Complete around 20 reps on each arm and complete the set 3-5 times.

2) Using the same band or stretch cord, double it up by looping it around something stable or a door handle, or if you have two sets of bands each with the same resistance, you can also use two. Fold from the waist again so your upper body is in a horizontal ‘swimming’ position, and this time, make sure your starting position is with a bent elbow and your hands are in line with your armpits, with some resistance on the cords in each hand. Pull backwards towards your hip with both cords at the same time. This exercise is focusing entirely on the pull stage of the stroke and will activate your lats and triceps. Repeat 15 times and complete 3-5 sets.

3) Ideally using two stretch cords fixed or looped around something solid, face away from where they are attached and bring your hands above your shoulders in a ‘fly’ position, trying to keep your elbows parallel to the ground. Ensure there is tension in the cords at the starting position, and now extend your arms straight in front of you like you are performing a chest press. It will help to activate the pectoral muscles and the biceps which are key in swimming. as well as Repeat 15 times and complete 3-5 sets.

Completing this routine three to five times a week will definitely put you in good stead when you are unable to swim, and as you progress, you can add in more volume. Start with the recommended reps and sets and each week, see if you can increase it a bit.

We reckon you’ll be pleasantly surprised that when you do eventually get back in the pool and get that elusive ‘feel for the water’, that you’ll have lost less swim fitness than you think.

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