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How Swimmers Get Lean Muscular Bodies?

Aug 11, 2008
As a physical fitness instructor, when I am meeting potential clients to assess their fitness objectives for the first time, a very common request would be "Can you help me develop a swimmer's body?" The question seems like a no brainer, don't you think so? The most logical and simplest answer would be to swim more often, isn't it?

Really, do you think it just that simple? If that is the case, you will see many people with lean muscular bodies in your neighborhood swimming pools, right?. So why isn't that the case?

Firstly, we need to know what do my clients mean by getting a swimmer's body? Is it the body of your local lifeguard or of world class competitive swimmer's physiques like those of, say, Ian Thorpe? I put my last dollar down that they meant the latter.

Most of you would have seen Ian Thorpe's superb body shape in swimming competitions or commercials that he is endorsing. Do you really think world class competitive swimmers get their awesomely well toned muscular body by merely swimming? Of course not. The reason for them having such fabulous body shapes are that they include weight training into their exercise program. So their toned muscles are built mostly in the gym and not in the pool.

The perceived misconception about swimmers having well sculpted lean muscular body is that people only see them swim but did not see them working out in a gym.

Yes, swimming is a fantastic exercise and will get some people into shape, but not the body shape of world class competitive swimmers. Now, unknown to most people, although swimming is a fantastic exercise, trying to get a muscularly toned physique through swimming may get you into trouble because swimming only develop the muscles that are used to pull and not to push.

You can swim in any stroke and in any style, your swimming actions are all pulling actions. That means that swimming only develops your pull muscles. This can lead to muscle imbalances. An imbalance in a muscle group will cause the opposite muscle to work too hard, causing pain, loss of strength and endurance in that muscle group. Never thought of it that way, did you?

Now, since the opposing muscles (push muscles) are not being trained, the development of the pull muscles will also hit a plateau pretty quickly since your muscles like to grow and gain strength symmetrically. This is your body's natural way to protect you from muscle imbalances and will put the swimmer's improvements to a screeching halt. That is one of the reasons why competitive swimmers have to train with weights not only to strengthen their pull muscles but to develop the push muscles as well.

So you see, competitive swimmers get their muscularly toned body not by swimming training alone but through weight training as well. So if you are one of those who desire to get that fabulous swimmer's body, then you must include weight training into your swimming program.
About the Author
Chris Chew is a fitness personal trainer and author of "Burn Fat Build Muscles Fast". More free articles at his sites at How To Get Rid Cellulite and How To Gain Weight For Thin People
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