Champion swimmers look amazing. They’re slim, toned and fit, and many of us have looked at them in envy. But are their appearances and abilities all genetic luck, or are there things you can do to achieve a swimmer’s body?
If you’re one of the many people who have wondered how to get a swimmer’s body, this article is here to help you. You might not achieve an Olympic gold medal – but you’ll definitely impress a few people on the beach!
What makes a swimmer body?
If you have looked at champion swimmers, you will have noticed that the male swimmer’s body and the female swimmer’s body have a lot of things in common:
1. They’re tall
Top male and female swimmers all tend to be tall. Many female swimmers are around 1.83 metres in height, with male swimmers usually even taller. A tall physique helps to improve swimming performance for a number of reasons:
- If you’re tall, it takes less strength and effort to move through the water, so you can keep swimming for longer without getting tired.
- A longer length of swimmer results in reduced wave drag, so the shape of a taller swimmer is more efficient in the pool.
2 They have long limbs
The classic swimmer body has long limbs and a long torso, usually with big hands and feet. Large hands on the ends of long arms act like oars, pushing the swimmer through the water more effectively. Large feet also help with propulsion because they work like fins.
3. They are toned without bulky muscles
The swimmer physique tends to be lean and toned. The muscles are defined without being too bulky. Certain muscles are noticeably more defined than others. These are:
- Shoulders. We all associate the swimmer’s body with broad shoulders. This is because the shoulder muscles are developed by swimming strokes, such as freestyle, butterfly or backstroke.
- Triceps. These are the muscles in the arms used to propel you through the water. All swimmers have clearly defined triceps because they are developed by repetitive arm movements in the pool.
- Latissimus dorsi. The lats are the large muscles located in the middle of the back. These are used in all swimming strokes, and they help to create the classic swimmer physique of a V-shaped upper body.
- Abdominals. All swimming strokes use the core muscles, so swimmers’ abs tend to be highly defined.
- Legs. Swimmers’ legs are powerful and toned without bulky muscle. Strong legs are needed for effective starts and turns, as well as better movement through the water, but too much muscle will increase drag, slowing you down.
Swimmers are also associated with low body fat. Swimming is a great cardio workout that burns a lot of calories and speeds up your metabolism. This cuts down body fat and gives the appearance of a slimmer waist, which is something we also associate with the classic swimmer body.
How to get a swimmer’s body
It’s true that some of what makes a champion swimmer is impossible to achieve through training. Height, limb length and the size of your hands and feet are all determined by genetics, so no amount of exercise will change them.
However, no matter your natural shape and size, there are still a number of things you can do to achieve the lean, toned appearance of a top swimmer. Here are our three top tips for achieving a swimmers body.
1. Swim regularly
This should really go without saying. Achieving a swimmer body takes a lot of hard work in the pool! The top swimmers are practising their sport for several hours each day, perfecting their techniques and keeping themselves in top physical condition.
This results in the clearly defined muscles we all associate with a classic swimmers physique.
If you want to put the hours in, it helps if you have a pool in your backyard. This means you can swim in the privacy and comfort of your own property whenever you want, instead of having to wait to go to a public pool. If you’re serious about swimming, a lap pool would be the best choice for you.
It offers a long, unimpeded corridor of water specifically designed for swimming laps. There is nothing in the design that can get in the way of your swimming, and it’s relatively easy to find a size of lap pool that can fit into the dimensions of your backyard.
This makes it ideal for improving your technique and lap times, as well as developing that all-important swimmer body!
2. Do the right exercises
Champion swimmers’ entire lives are dedicated to becoming the best they can possibly be at their sport. But this doesn’t mean they spend all day, every day, swimming. They also hit the gym, usually every day, to improve their body strength and overall levels of fitness.
Most swimmers do regular weightlifting, as well as a combination of other exercises. These include:
- Warmups. Nobody should ever get into a swimming pool without warming up their muscles. A good warmup routine should include stretches, push-ups and sit-ups to improve strength and flexibility, as well as to help prevent you from getting cramps once you get into the pool.
- Planks. Planks are great for strengthening your shoulders, arms and upper body, as well as developing your core strength. When you regularly do planks alongside your swimming routine, you will start to see those highly defined abs that the swimmer physique is famous for!
- Core exercises. A strong core is essential for swimming as it gives you strength and stability in the water. Exercises such as leg lifts and V-sits are ideal for strengthening your core muscles and helping you to achieve a swimmers body.
These are all exercises requiring no equipment – you can easily do them at home or at the poolside before you swim. However, gym equipment can also play an important part in achieving the perfect swimmer body. Exercises you can do at the gym include:
- Rowing. Using a rowing machine is a great way to develop a swimmer physique. It exercises all the muscles you rely on for swimming – the arms, abs, back and legs, resulting in more tone and definition, and giving the appearance of an authentic swimmer body!
- Crunch presses. Combining crunches with dumbbell presses is an ideal exercise for the shoulders, resulting in that broad swimmer look.
- Pulldowns. Pulldowns to the neck and chest exercise the lats, giving strength to your swimming performance and helping you to look more like a swimmer with that V-shaped upper body.
Combine all of these exercises with regular swimming, and you’re well on your way to a swimmer’s body!
3. Eat properly
Swimming is an exercise that burns a lot of calories. If you want to look like a pro swimmer, you have to give your body enough fuel to sustain your training regime. But it isn’t enough simply to eat – you have to consume a nutritious, balanced diet that gives your body exactly the right types of sustenance.
This means balancing your diet into three core groups:
- Carbohydrates. These are the main sources of energy that the body gets from food, and they tend to make up around 50 per cent of a top swimmer’s diet. Carbohydrates are sugars, starches and fibres that the body breaks down into energy. It is important to eat good carbohydrates, which can be found in whole grains, fruit, vegetables, beans and pulses.
- Proteins. Proteins improve the functions of the body’s organs and tissues. They are also essential for building muscle mass, which you need if you are sticking to an intensive training regime and trying to achieve a swimmers body. Top swimmers get around 25 per cent of their nutrition from protein, which can be found in eggs, milk, fish, nuts and seeds.
- Fats. Healthy fats are good for heart health and help to lower your cholesterol. The healthy fats you should be looking for are monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats. Avocado, olives, peanut butter, tofu and sunflower seeds are all excellent sources of healthy fats.
With so much healthy food to choose from, it isn’t hard to create a balanced eating plan that’s delicious at the same time. As such, you can look forward to mealtimes knowing that you are helping to give yourself a swimmer body!
Find out more about how to get a swimmers body
If you’re feeling inspired by this article and can’t wait to get started on your new eating and exercise plan, that’s great! Here at Compass Pools, we’re passionate about promoting the many benefits of swimming for your health and wellbeing. This includes achieving the perfect physique you have always dreamed of!
For more tips, advice and news, keep checking out our blog. Or, if you are trying to find the perfect pool for your backyard, please contact us. With dealers located all over Australia, our team are always happy to help you find the right pool for you.