: I thought I'd like to try lifting some weights to try to help my
: swim. Can someone suggest which exercises I might get the most
: benefit from? I've got access to just about any type of equip-
: ment: free weights, benches, Nautilus and like machines, cables.
Personally, I hate weights. I will not deny, however, that they can
be beneficial. I swam varsity all four years in HS, as well as 6 months
on a private team, and the best dry-land exercise I can recommend for
swimming is surgical tubing, AKA "bands." You have to sort of play
around with them to figure out what strength of tubing is best for you,
but basically, you get a piece about 8 feet long, tie small handles at
the ends, and use them like a pseudo-soloflex. I've found that I can
work just about any muscle group I want with them. I have mine looped
around my towel rack in my dorm room, and I work my lats, pecs, delts
and triceps with them. The main workout is lats and triceps.
Basically, you bend over at the hips and pull back on them as if you
were swimming. I usually do them butterfly-style, just for comfort, but
it works one arm at a time, too. It simulates the swim stroke very well,
and believe me, if you get a good tube and pull it back far enough,
pulling for 5 minutes will make your arms ready to fall off.
If you MUST use weights, "dips" (pushing yourself up and down on a u-shaped
bar that looks like a cheap pair of bike handlebars) are popular, as they
work your pecs and triceps. Shoulder shrugs with dumbbells work your
trapezius and vertical fly (dumbbell in each hand, lift out and up from
your sides) works your deltoids real well. The private swim club I swam
for also did standard stuff (bicep curls, benchpress, etc.) but that wasn't
emphasized much. One thing that we did a lot of is wrist curls: get a
LIGHT (i.e., about 20 lbs) barbell, sit on a bench, rest your elbows on
your knees and hold the barbell in your hands, facing up. Curl your wrists
upwards, SLOWLY. Fast movements at this exercise can lead to some pretty
severe arthritis. After about 100 reps, try to write your name. Good luck.
STRETCH ALL THE MUSCLES YOU WORK!!! Tight muscles don't swim well.
Anyway, my MAIN suggestions are the bands and wrist curls.
Just my $.02 worth.