Swimmer Strength Tech Tip: When To Add Weight to Strength Training


Contributed by Deniz Hekmati – Strength & Conditioning Specialist, Sport Scientist 

Many are curious: when can we add weight to our strength training?

There is actually no true age limit to when we can add weight to the training. The main factor, or safety check is to have a qualified performance coach either program, or administer the dryland, or strength training sessions. Once that is all set and done, the 3 simplest guidelines for our swimming community will be paralleled with how we progress in the water.

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First, we need to comprehend, nail, and make all the desired fundamental movements are performed with high quality, consistently. Next, we will focus on handling this in higher volumes – for instance, once a perfect body weight squat is mastered, can the swimmers do 30-50 perfect repetitions in a rhythmic fashion without compensation for movement technique? If so, they are ready to for some Goblet squats. Similarly, once we are able to handle quality push-ups in higher volumes, we can safely progress into more load for the upper body with free weights. My two favorite tests to conduct are the Front Foot Elevated Split Squat, and the Pull-Up Hold. Once swimmers are close to, or at the 2 minute-mark, they are getting strong enough in relative terms, to get very advanced in the weight room to progressively add more weight. Similarly, once a swimmer can hold the pull up between 45-50s, they are now close to, if not fully ready for a body weight pull-up. Once we can make a few correct pull-ups, we can start keeping track of the volume, and start having more fun with heavier free weights in the weight room.

You’d be surprised how young some kids are starting to load heavy weight with Olympic style weightlifting.

The major flaw in our sport are coaches administering and designing dryland and strength programs who are unqualified. These coaches tend to be more eager in progression of both load, and exercise selection.

So the safest formula for when to add weight in the weight room: 1) quality of movement, then handling it with 2) volume, then adding 3) load

See more videos from Swimmer Strength Coach Deniz Hekmati:

Swimmer Strength Tech Tip: Age to Start Dryland Training or Strength Training

Swimmer Strength Tech Tip: McGill 3 Core Exercises

Swimmer Strength Tech Tip: Shoulder Pain

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Get more info about Coach Hekmati or try his 10-day free online training: https://www.swimmerstrength.com/tenDayFreeTrial

Note: All swimming and dryland training and instruction should be performed under the supervision of a qualified coach or instructor, and in circumstances that ensure the safety of participants.

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