Swimmers' Cross Training Exercise Plan

Swimming workouts are the perfect exercise plan to get your heart rate up and build muscle. Because it is a no impact sport, it is gentle on the joints making it a perfect recovery sport when you are recovering from an injury. If you practice at least three strokes (freestyle, breast stroke and back stroke), you will work all of the major muscles groups, and if you swim fast and long enough, you will challenge your heart and lungs as much as any runner or biker.

However, you may not want to get wet every day (especially on those cold, winter days), and you may find that with the water comes swimmer's ear, dry skin and chlorine-related irritations. You also may not want to drive to the local pool every day. So what's a swimmer to do?

You may want to create a cross training workout plan tailored to complement your swim schedule.

Cross training can be particularly helpful if you find you are wearing out a joint (shoulders are common injury points for swimmers) or need to stay dry for part of the week. Swimming does not do much for building bone density, which is important, especially if you are a woman or are getting older. A variety of exercises are excellent cross training exercise options for you as a swimmer.

To increase bone density, you'll want to add in some weight-bearing or high impact exercise into your cross training program. Consider doing a little weight lifting or running-or both.

Swimmers typically have great muscle, cardio and lung strength, but they may need help with balance and flexibility. Try taking a yoga or Pilates class to improve flexibility and balance. A game like tennis or racquetball may also help you to regain your grace on land while exercising.

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Cross training combines elements of cardio, strength and flexibility exercises into a single workout program for a complete, total-body workout that promotes greater overall health and fitness and helps prevent the risk of RSI.

Cross training is a form of fitness training involving several different types of exercise. While most athletes tend to favor one sport or fitness activity over others, there are disadvantages to focusing only on one or two sports.

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Circuit training is simply any exercise routine that is used to develop an overall balance between strength and aerobic fitness.

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