Here’s a simple, 5-minute exercise routine that will help strengthen your shoulders and core.
Why Do It:
Shoulder and core exercises can get a little boring sometimes. Throwing a stick into the mix keeps things interesting and challenging.
How to Do Them:
First, get a stick. A broom handle works really well, or a painter’s pole.
For each of these exercises, a stable body position is very important. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, and with your toes pointed slightly inward.
The first exercise is called “The Popov” because it was one of Alexander Popov’s favorite exercises.
Start by holding the pole in both hands with an overhand grip.
Bend forward at the waist, keeping your back as flat as possible, and move your arms as if you were swimming freestyle.
Keep the elbows nice and high.
Keep your armstroke smooth and continuous.
Extend FORWARD with the hands.
Think about LIFTING with the elbow to start each armstroke.
Keep going for 50 to 100 armstrokes.
This exercise builds functional shoulder strength. It also encourages a high-elbow recovery as well as a RELAXED recovery.
It helps you build a rhythmic stroke, and helps you learn to engage your torso as you swim.
The second exercise is called “The Twister.” Keep your body and feet in their stable position, with toes pointed in. Hold the stick with an overhand grip.
Make sure you’ve got enough room, and then all you need to do is twist your body to the right and to the left.
Rotate completely from one side to the other, but keep the motion smooth and continuous.
Make sure you’ve got enough room.
Keep going for 50 turns — 25 to one side and 25 to the other side.
If you’re doing this correctly and getting a full turn each time, you should feel the contraction along each side of your spine and in the muscles that SUPPORT the spine.
Exercise #3 is called “The Scarecrow.” Keep your feet and body stable, and drape your arms over the stick.
While keeping your posture fairly erect, and without bending your knees, lean first to one side…
…and then to the other side.
You’ll feel the stretch all along your side.
Again, keep your motions smooth and continuous.
Keep your stomach pulled in.
Keep going for 50 stretches.
Exercise #4 is called “The Cruncher.”
Start by holding the stick very lightly with an underhand grip, and hold the stick at about waist level.
Now start walking…or marching…bringing one knee, then the other, up to the stick.
To really benefit from this exercise, lift your knee by CRUNCHING YOUR ABS rather than by simply lifting the knee. You’ll feel the difference right away if you do it correctly.
Keep going for 50 knee lifts. Again, keep your motions quick and continuous.
If you’re a breaststroker or butterflyer, this exercise is great for working the muscles you need when turning at the wall.
This exercise has an unexpected benefit for flip turns, too. It helps develop your sense of timing for when to start the push as your feet hit the wall.
GLENN: Short clip #10
To do this one really well, remember to point your toes as each foot leaves the ground.