Arm Exercises To Make Your Swim Stroke Stronger

Arm Exercises To Make Your Swim Stroke Stronger

Swimming is a full-body workout. It requires the use of every muscle, meaning you need to care for and maintain each one. The upper body is important. Even if you have the strongest legs, a weak upper body will slow you down in the water.

Dryland training should be incorporated into your exercise for your swimming. Let’s delve into the different ways you can focus on your upper body strength to see those results in the pool!


Equipment-based exercises

Hopefully, your pool membership also includes access to a gym full of equipment to help train your arms. There are lots of gyms that have a lot of equipment to allow proper arm exercises for swimmers for example cables, free weights, and much more. Let’s take a look at some examples of equipment you can use for dryland exercises and a movement you can perform while using it: 

  • Dumbbell curls are probably the first thing you visualise when you think about somebody training their arms, they are versatile and you can pick the weight depending on what it is you want to do. 
  • You can also practice preacher curls which are one of the most effective isolation exercises, try three sets where you push yourself to failure and pick a weight where you are failing between 8-10 repetitions. 

Bodyweight exercises

You can build some serious muscle and endurance from just your own body weight. Don’t feel discouraged by the lack of dumbbells, you can still build muscle with bodyweight arm exercises. These exercises can also have a much lower chance of injury.

  • Pushups are a classic. They don’t just improve your arm strength, it targets your chest, triceps, biceps, chest, and more! It can also improve core strength, which helps you to minimise your drag in the water. You can also turn pushups into full-body cardio by changing them into burpees. 
  • To perform a pushup correctly, put your body into a high planking position and put your palms flat on the ground beneath your shoulders. Let your chest sink towards the ground until your nose touches the ground and then push yourself back up to the original position. Keep your feet close together, but not touching, your toes pointed, and your heels up. Pushups can be done in a variety of styles, such as diamond pushups, elevated pushups, and even one-armed pushups, which can make your workouts more fun and dynamic!
  • Dips are one of the most essential arm exercises for swimmers as it helps to target strength building in your triceps. Put your legs at a 90-degree angle, and cross your calves. Lower your body, keep your chest forward to apply balance. Dips can be very hard at first and will make your triceps burn, but this exercise also targets your pecs, anterior deltoids, and even back muscles. 
  • Chin-ups are performed by gripping a bar in line with your shoulders above your head, palms facing towards you. You then pull yourself up until your chin rises above the bar and lower yourself back down. Chin-ups also work out your lats and scapula. Chin-ups can be one of the most difficult arm exercises, especially if you are lifting a lot of weight. Resistance bands can help to push your body up. 

Dryland arm exercises for swimmers will make positive changes to your performance in the pool. If you have access to a gym, don’t be shy to try the weight machine! If you cannot access a gym, you can exercise at home with either equipment or simple bodyweight workouts! 

At Proswimwear, we offer a large range of resistance bands and dryland equipment that could help you with your workout.

Dryland Training Aids:
Resistance Training Aids:

Why You Should Begin Dryland Training

Why You Should Begin Dryland Training

Dryland training is important to swimmers, and should also be used to maximise swimmer performance. The purpose of swimming is to improve the swimmer’s power and overall speed in the pool, but this is not enough to maintain muscle strength. Therefore there needs to be exercised outside of the pool to improve the versatility of the swimmer’s muscles. 

Despite the repetitive movements and use of the whole body whilst swimming, gaining muscle just by swimming is a tricky task. Training outside of the pool can help assist with this task. When weight is placed onto a muscle, that muscle is working to resist the gravitational pull which causes a muscle to contract and tense. When muscles contract against a weight applied, micro-tears in tissue appear that cause that soreness you feel after a workout, but as the body repairs these micro-tears, the muscle builds up and gets stronger.

At Proswimwear, we offer a range of protein powders and nutritional products that can help with muscle gain and repairing muscle after a workout. These also help to increase your protein intake to hit nutritional goals without having to consume vast amounts of meat and costing a fortune.

Weight-bearing strength training for swimmers helps increase bone density too! Swimmers naturally have a low bone density because they spend the majority of their training in the pool rather than putting weight onto their muscles through dryland training. The extra weight on your bones helps to form stronger bone tissue.

Having a strong core as a swimmer can help you maintain the correct body position in the water that helps to minimise drag. This will help a swimmer to move faster and carry more acceleration into a dive with clean entry. Core training can help to improve your breathing flow in the water, improve posture and upper body strength. You can do many dryland workouts that help to improve core strength, such as using resistance bands or doing sit-ups. At ProSwimwear, we have resistance and dryland training aids to use during your training routine.

Dryland training requires strong focus and coordination. Having the correct body position for the different kinds of exercises that can be used when training outside of the pool is very important and can be learned over time. Balance and stability can be improved with single-legged exercises. When a swimmer gains a constant level of strength, there are a huge variety of exercises that can be done with quick bursts of energy. This helps develop power in your legs and arms, such as squats and push-ups, which then can be applied in the pool.


Dryland training helps to vary your training regime, introducing new movements and challenges to the muscles. The repetitive motions in swimming can lead to injuries and dryland training can target these areas that are underdeveloped. Training out of the water can also help to relieve some of the pressure placed on strained muscle groups. Introducing these exercises can help to develop stronger muscles, letting the muscles get stronger in the weaker movement which will put less strain on them overall.


No Pool? No problem! At ProSwimwear we have everything a swimmer needs to stay sharp for their next race, even when they are out of the pool. Whether it’s a warm-up, strength and conditioning training, or recovery, when you aren’t able to get in the pool we have the best variety of swimmers’ land training equipment so that you can stay race-ready.


Make sure that you check it out below:

How to improve your breathing technique

How to improve your breathing technique

On average we breathe 20,000 times per day. Most of the time, breathing is natural and a subconscious activity to sustain life. However, this style of breathing can often be inadequate for swimming and can limit the distance and speed you achieve in competitions.

Confident swimmers develop control of their breathing as an integral part of an easy and relaxed swimming technique, so let’s look at some of the tips about the inhale/exhale breathing cycle you may need to consider before heading to your next swimming meet.



This is the critical part of the cycle to get right. Correct breathing technique requires you to exhale strongly and evenly under the water, between breaths. Exhaling must be regulated, and slow enough to leave you ready to inhale at the right moment when you turn your head to have a breather. Doing correctly with good timing and rhythm will help the quality and speed of your stroke.


Head position

It is also important to keep your head still in between breaths. Some swimmers allow their heads to roll with every body rotation, making good coordination almost impossible. For example, if you imagine you have a cup and saucer on your head which must stay balanced, this can help your awareness and development of a steady head position. Another tip is to look down at one spot on the pool floor, this also guarantees that your head will not roll side to side. Getting this right helps you to coordinate your stroke, and build a strong swimming rhythm.

Good breathing will not improve your stroke speed and efficiency by itself, it is further improved if you prevent yourself from rolling your head too far as you inhale. You should be looking to the side, not skywards so only one goggle lens needs to be above the water as you breathe. Otherwise, the resulting head rotation will cause you to lose balance and slow you down, which is not what you want this race season! Just remember, except when inhaling your head stays still.



When swimmers move through the water, they create a ‘bow wave’ in the front, as a boat does in the water. This leaves a trough, which swimmers call a ‘pocket’, on each side of your head. This allows a pocket to let you inhale without lifting your head above the water. If your exhalation has been long and steady, you should find that inhaling through your mouth is natural. Observe other swimmers, especially professionals, to observe how they use the bow wave effect whilst swimming to help visualise how you may use it in your own swimming. Lifting your head from the water actually reduces your waves and makes good breathing harder. Furthermore, lifting your head above the water can also lower your body, tilting it downwards, which generates drag and makes swimming harder and more effort.


Bilateral breathing

At first, you should breathe on the side you find most comfortable as you work on mastering your breathing techniques. However, ‘bilateral breathing’ which is breathing on both sides has many advantages. Breathing on one side makes it difficult to rotate evenly as you swim, and swimming in a straight line down the race lane subsequently becomes more difficult. Bilateral breathing will give you a more symmetrical stroke and thus better control of direction. An example of a bilateral swimming pattern could mean breathing every three strokes and thus breathing side to side, before switching and spreading the same pattern on the other side.

Improving any of these aspects listed above can help you to relax, improve your swimming, and essentially put in less effort.

At Proswimwear, we have a vast range of training aids that can help you improve your stroke, and performance in the pool this race season. Be sure to check out our website for great deals!

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