Strength training for open-water swimming

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Strength training for open-water swimming

Whether you’re new to open-water swimming or have been jumping into the bay or ocean for years, it’s worth thinking about your preparation outside of the time you spend in the water. Incorporating strength training into your activity program can significantly improve your performance.


5 reasons why strength training is good for open-water swimming

1. Injury prevention

The repetitive nature of swimming can lead to overuse injuries if certain muscle groups are overworked. Strength training helps balance muscle development to stabilise and support our joints, reducing the risk of injuries. Strength training improves your capacity to tolerate load and forces and improves your resilience during the demanding movements of open water swimming.


2. Enhance performance

Open water swims often require covering long distances, and endurance is crucial for success. Strength training has been shown to improve cardiovascular fitness, allowing your heart and lungs to work more efficiently. As your muscles develop your vascular system and the efficiency of how your muscles utilise energy improves.


3. Improve core strength

A strong trunk is fundamental for open-water swimming performance, especially in the unpredictable environment of open water. Strengthening your core muscles will help you to maintain a stable body position to manage the waves and currents of open-air swimming.


4. Increase power

When open water swimming, explosive strength will help you navigate through waves. Strength training can help enhance your explosive strength which will help with more powerful strokes as you navigate the conditions of the water and the competitors around you.

5. Better coordination

Strength training goes beyond just building muscle; it also activates and refines our neural system and its pathways. These activities play a crucial role in enhancing your swimming control and biomechanics. In cases where mechanics falter due to weak or dysfunctional muscles, including strength training in your exercise program will help you address these areas.


Strength training programs at Kieser use our exclusive Swiss-engineered machines that enable selective strengthening of specific muscle groups for safe and efficient training.

To find out more about strength training at Kieser, or make an appointment for an initial assessment with a physiotherapist, visit


Written by Kieser Physiotherapist Steven Ooi.