Having Trouble Activating the Core Muscles? Try This Dryland Exercise

SANTA CLARA, California, October 3. Swimming is unique. Below are just a few ways it differs from land sports:

  1. Prone (on stomach) body orientation
  2. Arm and legs used simultaneously
  3. Water immersion
  4. Unstable medium of water
  5. Minimal equipment use
  6. Swimmers have brief periods of hypoxia (holding breathing)
  7. Highly dependent on biomechanics
  8. The pool is the avenue for most energy system training
  9. Brief breaks during turns
  10. Water cools the body

These are only some of the differences land athletes and swimmers face in their respective sports, yet many principles from other sports are applied to swimming.

Understanding these subtleties makes swimming vastly different and in need of a different approach. Core training should enhance a swimmers potential, keeping in mind the subtleties of the sport. Dryland is the soil from which the flower grows, but the seed (swimming training) is where the flower comes from! Keep this in mind during this core exercise which integrates the core and arms, as well as breathing.

Purpose: The speed of exhalation over one second correlates with 100m success in national caliber swimmers. Also, intra-abdominal pressure correlates with higher swimming velocities. Therefore, integrating the breathing while creating high intra-abdominal pressure is one mechanism for improving core strength on land. Combine this with arm integration and you have a swimming-appropriate core exercise!

Directions: Set up an elastic band or have a partner behind you. Tighten your abdominals by bracing your core musculature. Next, pull down on the elastic band or against a stable surface (like a partner) and maximally exhale your air. Slowly return the arms overhead and relax your core.