Yoga for Swimmers: 3 Poses to Strengthen Your Core

When working with coaches on implementing yoga into their programming the development of the core is always one of their biggest priorities at any time of the season.

A strong core is needed in all strokes. A strong core connection links the upper body to the lower body, creates propulsion in certain strokes and a well conditioned core reduces resistance.

Without a strong core connection you are also leaving yourself vulnerable to injury.

Three Poses to Strengthen Your Core

Boat

Goal: To increase strength in both abdominal muscles and hip flexors.

Yoga - Boat 1How to do it: Come onto your seat with your knees bent and your feet out in front of you. Bend your knees and place your heels on the ground with the feet engaged curling the toes back towards the shins. Squeeze your legs together so that you are gathering strength in towards the centre of the body.  Keep your upper body long with the spine straight and the chest forward.

On an exhale rock back on to your seat so that you are balancing with your feet in the air. Hold a strong core and bend the elbows turning the palms up to face the ceiling. Breath deeply to bring ease into this pose.

This is the first variation boat.Yoga - Boat 3

Other variations include bringing the legs towards straight, creating different movement patterns with the legs and having the arms in more challenges positions such as streamline.

How long to hold it: This pose can be done for any length of time dependent on the strength of the athlete. Just as with any pose as soon as proper alignment begins to break down come out of the pose slowly.

Most often I will have athletes in static holds anywhere from three to eight breaths.

 

Three Point Plank

Yoga - Three point pushup 2

Goal: To increase static core strength while developing balance and stability in the upper body.

How to do it: Start in a table top position where you are on your hands and knees. Have your fingers spread wide with the index finger pointed straight forward. Align your shoulders over your elbows and your elbows over your wrists. Externally rotate your shoulders so that the pit of the elbow is pointed away from you.

On an exhale tighten through the core feeling the belly button come towards the spine and the spine towards the belly button. On an exhale lift the the knees coming into a high push up position. Inhale and bring the feet approximately mat width apart.

Focus on keep a strong core connection throughout the body on your exhale and on an inhale raise one leg off of the ground a few inches.

As you do this movement you should ensure that both the hips and chest stay square. Breath deeply to bring ease into this pose.

How long to hold it: This pose can be done for any length of time dependent on the strength of the athlete. Just as with any pose as soon as proper alignment begins to break down come out of the pose slowly.

Most often I will have athletes in static holds anywhere from three to eight breaths.

 

Side Plank


Yoga - Side plankGoal: 
To increase static strength throughout the core specifically targeting the oblique muscles. To increase shoulder stability and to improve balance.

How to do it: Start in a high push up position. Ensure that you have proper alignment with the fingers spread wide, the index finger pointed straight forward, the shoulders over elbows, the elbows over wrists, the spine long, core engaged and the shoulders externally rotated.

On an inhale move one hand to the middle of the mat. On an exhale shift the body Side plank easier version
opening up through the opposite side. Ensure that the spine stays long, the core is engaged and that the arms are positioned in one line across the body.

Ensure that the glutes are engaged and the hips are held high. Breath deeply to bring ease into this pose.

This is the most basic side plank. Some other variations include placing the top foot in front of the bottom leg for more support, have the forearm of the supporting arm on the ground rather than the palm and lifting the top leg. There are many others, creativity is often the only limiting factor.

How long to hold it: This pose can be done for any length of time dependent on the strength of the athlete. Just as with any pose as soon as proper alignment begins to break down come out of the pose slowly.

Most often I will have athletes in static holds anywhere from three to eight breaths.

 

 

NEW ONLINE SERVICES COMING SOON!!!

I am excited to announce that in the next few weeks Excel with Grace will be unveiling its new online services that will include access to exclusive content, private training and customized group programs!

ABOUT EXCEL WITH GRACE

ExcelWithGrace-icon 3Excel With Grace’s mission is to assist people in improving their health and achieving their athletic goals through the creation and delivery of targeted yoga.

Excel with Grace offers specialized Sport Specific and Therapeutic Yoga programs and workshops in Vancouver, BC.

Sign up for the Excel with Grace newsletter to stay up to date with our new services and receive quality content on how yoga can improve your athletic performance.

You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

About Jeff

Jeff Grace Head Shot

Jeff Grace is the owner and operator of Excel with Grace which specializes in teaching sport specific and therapeutic yoga.

Jeff is trained in vinyasa (flow), hatha, yin, restorative and therapeutic yoga practices. He is also completing his 500 hour certification as a yoga therapist.

Jeff has been deeply immersed in the sport of swimming for decades. He has been coaching for over 20 years and has had athletes medal at both CIS (Canadian Interuniversity Sport) Championships and Age Group Nationals.

Other articles in our Yoga for Swimmers series include:

How Madi Wilson Uses Yoga to Improve Her Swimming

Yoga with Mitch Larkin and Madi Wilson

Video – 3 Poses to Enhance Recovery

Video – A Short Sequence for Your Knees

3 Poses to Keep Your Knees Healthy

5 Ways to Make Yoga More Enjoyable

7 Reasons Why Swimmers Should Do Yoga

3 Ways to Increase Shoulder Stability

3 Fundamentals of Yoga to Focus on With Swimmers

3 Restorative Yoga Poses to Help the Effectiveness of Your Taper 

4 Ways Mindfulness Can Improve Your Swimming Performance

3 Ways You Can Use Yoga to Prepare for a Race

A Short Sequence for the Shoulders

Incorporating Yoga Into Your Seasonal Plan

Yoga a Key Part of World Champion Mitch Larkin’s Success

Yoga for Swimmers: Release Tension in Your Quads and Glutes

Why Yoga Takes Swimming to the Next Level

Yoga for Swimmers: Increase Your Core Strength

Why Olympic Swimming Champion Rebecca Soni Does Yoga

Leave a Reply

About Jeff Grace

Jeff Grace

Jeff is a 500 hour registered yoga teacher who holds diplomas in Coaching (Douglas College) and High Performance Coaching (National Coaching Institute - Calgary). He has a background of over 20 years in the coaching profession, where he has used a unique and proven teaching methodology to help many achieve their …

Read More »

Want to take your swimfandom to the next level?

Subscribe to SwimSwam Magazine!