A lot of people think that swimming resistance bands or swim tethers just hold you in place so you can swim in your pool. Well, now that I think about it, that’s basically what they are. But in reality, it’s much more than that. Used properly, it can be one of the best pieces of pool equipment that you can invest in!
Resistance Band Exercise #1 Targeting Specific Muscle Groups
Remember that saying, “Different strokes for different folks”? Well, the same is true with swimming strokes! Different swimming strokes target specific muscle groups! And the best thing is that with swimming resistance bands or swim tethers, you can focus on perfecting those strokes to get the best muscle group workout possible!
- The Butterfly Stroke - This stroke requires the fullest engagement of all the muscle groups and the most arm muscle engagement. This is why Olympic Butterfly swimmers have extremely toned triceps, biceps and extremely broad shoulders. The butterfly focuses on catch starting with hands and ending at their lats. Although this may sound like an over-focus on the upper portion of the body, the high intensity promotes toned muscles throughout the body.
- Freestyle - This stroke focuses on the hands, hips and feets. The feet will function as the fins while the hands act as the paddles, both rely on the largest muscle groups of the legs and arms for forward propulsion. The hips are central to everything as this facilitates easy rotation to shift from one side to the other and vice versa.
- The Breaststroke - Although it looks like the breaststroke focuses on upper body movement to propel the swimmer forward, the one doing most of the work is actually the lower body. The rhythm of the stroke is determined by how much water is displaced by the swimmer between their legs. Getting the correct technique will allow you to excel in kick sets with minimal fatigue and maximum results for the lower body!
- The Backstroke - The backstroke relies heavily on the chest and midsection muscles. While it looks very easy and relaxed, it actually takes a lot of effort to engage these muscle groups. Couple that with the flexing of the trapezius and lats that come with the stroke, the backstroke is great for toning up the pecs, thighs, glutes, as well as the ab area.
Resistance Band Exercise #2 Jogging in place
If you can swim in place, then a swimming resistance band can definitely help you jog in place! Why would you need a tether though right? Well, for a number of reasons:
- Pool Size - Hard to jog around a tiny pool right? Exercise is all about repetition and you can’t really jog for extended periods of time without changing your stride or form when you reach the other end!
- Pool Slopes - Unless you’re blessed with an extremely long and flat pool, it’s hard to get the perfect depth to get an optimal jogging in place workout. With the swimming resistance band, you can go to the perfect depth and do your jogging in place for as little or as long as you want!
Jogging in Place Posture
Believe it or not, there is actually good form when it comes to jogging in place! It’s not just running willy-nilly in the pool. You know what they say about practice right? Practice is good, but correct practice is best!
First of all, try to keep a natural running gait whenever you’re going to jog in place in the pool. This means that your back should be straight, your arms should be snug alongside your hips, keep your knees high with every step and your abdominal muscles should always be engaged. Don’t know what that looks like? Imagine running up a hill! That’s how you should be feeling when you’re jogging in the pool.
We like running in chest-deep water as this reduces your body weight by up 90% making it a very low impact exercise. This is great for injured limbs while providing maximum resistance at the same time, giving you a great full body and cardiovascular workout without risking further injury!
Resistance Band Exercise #3 Strength Training
Being tethered with a resistance band or a swim tether will allow you to push yourself as hard as possible without risking injury. Sometimes we get carried away when we’re doing strength training and the worst thing that could happen is hitting the other end of the pool with powerful strokes and breaking a bone or two! When you’re tethered in place, you can concentrate on developing those powerful strokes peacefully and without thinking about reaching the edge of your pool.
Resistance Band Exercise # 4 Endurance Training
You can’t really tell how far you can push yourself if you keep stopping to turn around or if you’re worrying about hitting people right? Of course the best way to train would be to do an open ocean swim but that’s not really an option for many people. With a resistance band or a swim tether from Water TechniX, you can train safely at the comfort of your own pool and pool size wouldn’t be an issue. As long as you have enough space to properly do your strokes then you can swim for as long as you like, non-stop!
Resistance Band Exercise # 5 Precision and Form Training
Swimming takes a lot of concentration and getting your form right is already very tough without distractions. As a matter of fact, many professional swimmers already utilise resistance bands and swim tethers to practice their form! Being tethered to one place will allow you to actively think and observe your stroke while free of other distractions. As we mentioned at the start of this post, different strokes focus on different muscle groups. When you’re tethered, you can work on the proper form, feel each of the muscle groups working without any distractions whatsoever! How do you know when you’ve hit the right form? Well, the strokes become easier, they feel more natural, and most importantly, you’ll be feeling targeted parts of your body feeling the workout, instead of just feeling tired all over!
Aside from the five swimming exercises outlined above, there are a lot more things that you can do with a resistance band or a swim tether, all you need is a little bit of creativity and a lot of planning!
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Happy swimming :)