6 Best Exercises for Swimmers to Build Strength and Stamina

Try the six exercises to build strength and stamina for your next swim meet! (Image via unsplash/Gentrit Sylejmani)
Exercises to build strength and stamina for swimming (Image via Unsplash/Gentrit Sylejmani)

Swimming is a sport that requires a lot of energy, strength, and exercise. It's important to build up the body so that it can handle all the training you put into it.

There are a few exercises you can do at home or at the gym to help build strength and stamina for swimming.

Exercises to Boost Strength and Stamina for Swimming

Here's a look at six such workouts:

1) Front Squat

The front squat is one of the best exercises for swimmers. It strengthens the core, thighs, and shoulders.

Here's how it's done:

  • The front squat is performed by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and holding dumbbells in front of you, resting above your collarbones.
  • Keeping your back straight, bend your knees, and lower yourself into a squat till your thighs are parallel to the floor. Stand up again while keeping your arms straight.


This exercise works the muscles in the legs as well as throughout the core area, including the glutes and abs. So it's also particularly useful for swimmers who want to improve their overall fitness.

2) Walking Lunge

To perform a walking lunge:

  • Take a step forward with your right leg, and bend your knee till you're in a lunge position.
  • Pause for a moment, and return to the standing position. Repeat the exercise with your left leg or vice versa.

You can do lunges anywhere where there's enough room to take long strides — gym, field, or even outside on the concrete, if need be.


As with any exercise involving weights or resistance bands, it's important to make sure you maintain proper form when you perform walking lunges. Your back should be straight and upright throughout each rep. Both knees should remain bent at all times. Do not allow them to lock out.

3) Plank

Planks help build core strength and improve balance. They’re also great for developing various muscles in the body, particularly the lower back and abdominal muscles.

To do a plank:

  • Get into a push-up position, with palms flat on the floor, arms straight, and shoulders directly above your wrists.
  • Brace yourself by engaging your abs, glutes, and quads.
  • Keep your spine neutral as you inhale through the nose.
  • Exhale through the mouth as you hold the position for 60 seconds or more if you are just starting out.


4) Lat Pull-down

The lat pull-down is a great exercise for developing the lats - the large muscles on the sides of the body. The lates help you move through the water with power and speed.

To do this exercise:

  • Keep your knees bent and back straight as you pull the bar to your chest.
  • Bend at the elbow slightly so that they're at about 90 degrees, but don't let them bend past 90 degrees.
  • Keep a slight bend in your elbows throughout this movement.
  • Also, push your shoulders down and back as if you were trying to touch them to a wall behind you. That will help activate the lats even more.
  • Hold for a second before slowly lowering yourself back down to the starting position.
  • Repeat for ten reps.


5) Kettlebell Swing

Kettlebells are a great way to build strength and stamina. They can be used to perform an array of exercises that work the back, shoulders, arms, and chest. Here's how to do a kettlebell swing:

  • Grab a kettlebell with both arms, and get into a squat position.
  • Hinge forward with your hips, and arch your back.
  • Swing the kettlebell forward while thrusting ahead with your hips.
  • Repeat for as many reps as you can.


Kettlebell swings are an excellent way to build muscle in the lower body as well as the core. If done properly, they can help develop the muscles in the hips, glutes, and hamstrings.

6) Pull-up

Pull-ups are the ultimate exercise for building strength and stamina. The muscles used during this exercise—the biceps, back, shoulders, and forearms—are the same ones swimmers use during their strokes. Moreover, pull-ups engage the core to stabilize the body as you pull yourself up.

So how can you incorporate them into your workout routine? Start with a warm-up of stretching and dynamic movements till you're ready to start doing some sets of reps. For example:

  • Perform two sets of 12 repetitions at an easy pace (between four and six seconds per rep)
  • Rest for 30 seconds between each set.



The key to building strength and stamina is consistency. Make sure you are doing the right exercises for your body type, and the rest will follow.

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Edited by Bhargav
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