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Weight Lifting Routines For Swimmers - Strength Routine Phases

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Phase A - 2 to 3 Sessions per Week, 3 to 4 weeks -

This is part one of a basic plan designed to increase muscle strength. It can be more refined based on a particular need or a season plan. It may need to be modified based on what equipment you have available. You will use the routine two to three times each week, progressing through each phase. The first few sessions establish starting points for the rest of the sessions. You should stop lifting weights 10 days before the first day of the competition. To make gains, you are breaking down your muscles, then letting them rebuild. To give them the time to rebuild, do not lift two days in a row. To help prevent injury, do not "lift to failure"; always end feeling like you could do a few more.

This phase is to either get you started or to build strength. The first few times you do the workout, start light. Estimate a weight that you feel you can lift 15 to 20 times; the next time you do the routine, if that weight was to light, add one unit of weight. If it was to heavy to complete the minimum number of repetitions, then decreases it by one unit for the next time. Continue this process until you have established your lifting goal. Don't worry about starting too light; you will build up to the right level; this is much safer than trying to lift too much the first time! Perform one set of 10 repetitions the first week, then two sets of 10 repetitions the second week, then two sets of 10 to 14 repetitions the the remaining weeks.

Phase B - 2 to 3 Sessions per Week, 4 to 12 Weeks -

This is the second part of a basic plan designed to increase muscle strength. It can be more refined based on a particular need or a season plan. It may need to be modified based on what equipment you have available. You will use the routine two to three times each week, progressing through each phase. The first few sessions establish starting points for the rest of the sessions. To make gains, you are breaking down your muscles, then letting them rebuild. To give them the time to rebuild, do not lift two days in a row. To help prevent injury, do not "lift to failure"; always end feeling like you could do a few more.

This phase is to take your strength gains and build on them. Begin the phase with the same weight load that you used on the previous phase and adjust as you progress. Perform two sets of 8 reps the first week, then three sets of 6 reps the following week, then 3 sets of 6-8 repetitions the following week. Every fourth week, instead of the phase B workout, perform the phase A workout at 70%-80% of your current weight goals.

Phase C - 2 Sessions per Week, 2 to 4 weeks -

This is the third and final phase of a basic plan designed to increase muscle strength. It can be more refined based on a particular need or a season plan. It may need to be modified based on what equipment you have available. You will use the routine two times each week. The first few sessions establish starting points for the rest of the season. The final phase is for the last four to five weeks before your biggest competition; you should stop lifting weights 10 days before the first day of the competition. To make gains, you are breaking down your muscles, then letting them rebuild. To give them the time to rebuild, do not lift two days in a row. To help prevent injury, do not "lift to failure"; always end feeling like you could do a few more.

This phase is for the last three to four weeks before your biggest competition, and you should stop the routine 7 - 14 days before the first day of the competition. You are going to maintain most of your strength gains, build more muscular power, and begin to reduce the stress to your muscles so they are fully recovered by your big event. You will not increase the weight load during this phase, but will add one set each week, starting with three sets the first week.

Remember to start light and gradually increase the weights; slow progress is the key to good strength gains without injury! Keep that log book, hit the gym, and watch yourself get faster in the pool.

Swim On!

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