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Swimmer body?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Not being a swimmer myself, I´ve been watching the championships the last days. One of the things
that strikes me is how similar AND good the swimmers look, physique-wise. There sure is a swimmer
physique, something that is very different from every other athletic bodytype I can think of. It
seems like they all have slim legs, huge shoulders and pretty big backs, low body fat but not too
ripped. The body proportions looks great to me, it´s a very classic and healthy look.

Now, I suppose these physiques are not a result of swimming only, there has to some weightlifting
going on too. My question is basically: How does a swimmer get this physique? (What does a swimmer
weightlifting program look like? Favourable exercises/reprange? Is the physique a result of years of
crawling? etc)

I know this is a purely aestethic matter, but I´m sure it´s something that more than I have
thought about.

Thanks in advance,

Werther
post #2 of 8

Re: Swimmer body?

Some swimmers will not do any heavy weights. The ideal bodyfat to swim is around 10%, so obviously
you diet to maintain that fat. But for exercise, there is basically swimming, swimming, and
swimming. For my school (top 10 US) a moderate training program would be

6 am - 5000 m (90-120 mins) afternoon - weights (mostly shoulder, tricep, forearm, back, neck...
some people do more legs / squats /deadlifts than othes) another post weight 5000 m (or more / less
depending on your swimming goals)

this would be a heavy swim day, to rest the body one would do maybe a 2 hour 5000m to 8000m again,
depending on your goals. And obviously they taper down for the world championships (so take that and
add the TV weight and they are a little bit fatter than normal

So, really the shoulder and the legs come a lot from just swimming, it really does add that
much muscle.

"Werther" <sjuminus1@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:f789d196.0307261601.1ab27989@posting.google.com...
> Not being a swimmer myself, I´ve been watching the championships the last days. One of the things
> that strikes me is how similar AND good the swimmers look, physique-wise. There sure is a swimmer
> physique, something that is very different from every other athletic bodytype I can think of. It
> seems like they all have slim legs, huge shoulders and pretty big backs, low body fat but not too
> ripped. The body proportions looks great to me, it´s a very classic and healthy look.
>
> Now, I suppose these physiques are not a result of swimming only, there has to some weightlifting
> going on too. My question is basically: How does a swimmer get this physique? (What does a swimmer
> weightlifting program look like? Favourable exercises/reprange? Is the physique a result of years
> of crawling? etc)
>
> I know this is a purely aestethic matter, but I´m sure it´s something that more than I have
> thought about.
>
> Thanks in advance,
>
> Werther
post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 

Re: Swimmer body?

"Adam Lipschultz" <dansmeek@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:<yjKUa.124432$o86.10222@news1.central.cox.net>...
> Some swimmers will not do any heavy weights. The ideal bodyfat to swim is around 10%, so obviously
> you diet to maintain that fat. But for exercise, there is basically swimming, swimming, and
> swimming. For my school (top 10 US) a moderate training program would be
>
> 6 am - 5000 m (90-120 mins) afternoon - weights (mostly shoulder, tricep, forearm, back, neck...
> some people do more legs / squats /deadlifts than othes) another post weight 5000 m (or more /
> less depending on your swimming goals)
>
> this would be a heavy swim day, to rest the body one would do maybe a 2 hour 5000m to 8000m again,
> depending on your goals. And obviously they taper down for the world championships (so take that
> and add the TV weight and they are a little bit fatter than normal
>
> So, really the shoulder and the legs come a lot from just swimming, it really does add that
> much muscle.
>
> ------------------------------------------
Thanks Adam.

As for the weightlifting, do you do the usual bodybuilding shoulder/tric/back etc exercises or do
you do any "swimming specific" exercises in the gym? How about weights and reps? Is it the normal
8-15 rep range or more high rep/low weights (50-100 reps)?

/Werther
post #4 of 8

Re: Swimmer body?

> Thanks Adam.
>
> As for the weightlifting, do you do the usual bodybuilding shoulder/tric/back etc exercises or do
> you do any "swimming specific" exercises in the gym? How about weights and reps? Is it the normal
> 8-15 rep range or more high rep/low weights (50-100 reps)?
>
> /Werther

No. What will often be the case is the use of the light free weights to simulate the swimming
movements. Usually 8 pounds to 12 pounds. There would be no weight lifting exercise similar to
swimming movements. A long distance swimmer may do this for a longer period of time (e.g. continuous
shoulder movement for 120 seconds) while a sprinter may do this as fast as he can for a shorter time
period (e.g. 20 seconds).

Swimming is a lot about balance, so when you mimic the movements with weights you will get a great
full body workout even though it looks relatively easy.

adam
post #5 of 8

Re: Swimmer body?

Werther wrote:
> Now, I suppose these physiques are not a result of swimming only, there has to some weightlifting
> going on too. My question is basically: How does a swimmer get this physique? (What does a swimmer
> weightlifting program look like? Favourable exercises/reprange? Is the physique a result of years
> of crawling? etc)

I think there are two main components. First, you have to be genetically pre-disposed to the swimmer
physique. Second, you have to swim 6,000-10,000 meters per day for about 10 years. Weightlifting
probably has little to do with it.

martin

--
Martin Smith email: mws@computas.com Vollsveien 9 tel. : +47 6783 1188
P.O. Box 482 mob. : +47 932 48 303 1327 Lysaker, Norway
post #6 of 8

Re: Swimmer body?

Incidentally, (and irrelevantly) a lot of women REALLY like the male swimmer physique, and much
prefer it to the "side of beef" type. Personally, I'm for an intermediate type. Madelaine

"Martin W. Smith" wrote:

> Werther wrote:
> > Now, I suppose these physiques are not a result of swimming only, there has to some
> > weightlifting going on too. My question is basically: How does a swimmer get this physique?
> > (What does a swimmer weightlifting program look like? Favourable exercises/reprange? Is the
> > physique a result of years of crawling? etc)
>
> I think there are two main components. First, you have to be genetically pre-disposed to the
> swimmer physique. Second, you have to swim 6,000-10,000 meters per day for about 10 years.
> Weightlifting probably has little to do with it.
>
> martin
>
> --
> Martin Smith email: mws@computas.com Vollsveien 9 tel. : +47 6783 1188
> P.O. Box 482 mob. : +47 932 48 303 1327 Lysaker, Norway
post #7 of 8

Re: Swimmer body?

First, you have to be genetically
> pre-disposed to the swimmer physique.

This is true, but I think this affects younger kids, while there body is still growing. By this I
mean, even if you have the natural physique of say a couch potatoe,,, if you put your body in the
pool long enough and are willing to sacrifice the pain, you body ADAPTS to the swim, and thus the
swimmer physique.

Weightlifting probably
> has little to do with it.

I agree somewhat, but bear in mind that with weightlifting, a person who say has slow twitch
shoulder muscle, can reverse those muscles into becoming fast twitch (maybe if they were a sprinter
or something). Weights also help a lot when your tappering. I guess, look at the body of swimmers
from the 1950's, and look at the body's of them now. See how huge their necks are. See those
incredibly developed shoulders. That all has to do with weights.

>
> martin
>
> --
> Martin Smith email: mws@computas.com Vollsveien 9 tel. : +47 6783 1188
> P.O. Box 482 mob. : +47 932 48 303 1327 Lysaker, Norway
post #8 of 8

Re: Swimmer body?

Adam Lipschultz wrote:
>
> First, you have to be genetically
> > pre-disposed to the swimmer physique.
>
> This is true, but I think this affects younger kids, while there body is still growing. By this I
> mean, even if you have the natural physique of say a couch potatoe,,, if you put your body in the
> pool long enough and are willing to sacrifice the pain, you body ADAPTS to the swim, and thus the
> swimmer physique.
>
> Weightlifting probably
> > has little to do with it.
>
> I agree somewhat, but bear in mind that with weightlifting, a person who say has slow twitch
> shoulder muscle, can reverse those muscles into becoming fast twitch (maybe if they were a
> sprinter or something).

...which is the opposite of what a swimmer wants. Swimmers don't lift weights the way body builders
and power lifters do. Swimmers use light weights and do many reps.

> Weights also help a lot when your tappering. I guess, look at the body of swimmers from the
> 1950's, and look at the body's of them now. See how huge their necks are. See those incredibly
> developed shoulders. That all has to do with weights.

I don't think so, because I have the neck and the shoulders, but I did very little weight lifting in
both my young swimming period and my masters swimming period. I swam quite a lot.

For a child, swimming a lot gives a good chance of building a swimmer physique. But for an adult in
his 30s and beyond, I don't think swimming will change the physique the way weights will, but a
weight-built physique will not be the same as a swimming-built physique in terms of performance in
the water.

There are enormous benefits to doing a lot of swimming, but the amount of swimming necessary to get
a swimmers physique is beyond most adults, if for no other reason than they simply have neither the
time nor the recuperative power necessary to do as much work as necessary - unless they use
artificial means.

martin

--
Martin Smith email: mws@computas.com Vollsveien 9 tel. : +47 6783 1188
P.O. Box 482 mob. : +47 932 48 303 1327 Lysaker, Norway
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