Exercise To Improve Your Catch

Courtesy of Deniz Hekmati, Swimmer Strength:

Finding variety in the weight room is sometimes difficult. Here is an exercise for one of the most important phases in swimming: the catch. This exercise promotes strength in the Latissimus Dorsi and parts of the Triceps Brachii, the major swimmer muscles. The movement is very similar to the catch in backstroke and freestyle, and the stability ball adds extra core and balance work. This same exercise can be done with both arms for breaststrokers and butterflyers.

How to execute:

  • Get in a comfortable supine position on a stability ball where the head and back are resting on the ball.
  • By actively staying engaged in the core, keep the hips up high so we have a nice straight line from our knees to the neck.
  • Grab a dumbbell (DB), and keep it straight above the chest. Make sure to keep a slight bend in the elbow so the arm is not completely straight.
  • Lower the DB in a controlled movement. Remember to not go down too low as many swimmers are able to hyperflex the shoulder in this movement. Other swimmers may not be able to go down far at all because of tightness in the lats and triceps; hence, this would be a good stretch to open up those tight areas.

About Swimmer Strength

Swimmer Strength provides high-quality and reliable information about strength & conditioning for swimmers. They educate and motivate the world of swimming that designing dry-land programs are difficult, but if approached strategically can be extremely beneficial for outcomes in the pool. Swimmer Strength gives new ideas and adds variation to your programs that are swimmer appropriate.

Deniz Hekmati, Swimmer StrengthAbout Deniz Hekmati

Deniz Hekmati is the founder of Swimmer Strength. He helped coach César Cielo to his two World Championship gold medals in Barcelona 2013 and is currently working with youth swimmers to improve functional movements and create body awareness in early ages. After 4-years of college swimming and a degree in Exercise Sciences, he wants to help educate the swimming world in designing safe and effects strength programs.


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That is a very interesting movement, thank you. I will try it.


It would probably just be better to do a one arm straight arm pull down with a cable and handle or rope. That way there is tension the whole time like when you swim. With this movement there is a very short time of tension

About Gold Medal Mel Stewart

Gold Medal Mel Stewart

MEL STEWART Jr., aka Gold Medal Mel, won three Olympic medals at the 1992 Olympic Games. Mel's best event was the 200 butterfly. He is a former World, American, and NCAA Record holder in the 200 butterfly. As a writer/producer and sports columnist, Mel has contributed to Yahoo Sports, Universal Sports, …

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