Yoga for Swimmers: Developing Your Strength with Yoga

For a swimmer developing strength is important to increase the ability to generate force, support technical development and reduce the risk of injury.

To move through the water effectively a swimmer needs to have strength in different areas of the body as well as a strong connection throughout. That synergy is what ensures that your strength is being used as efficiently as possible.

The importance of this connection is one of the reasons that yoga is an extremely effective method for swimmers to develop strength. The awareness that a yoga practice requires not only helps condition targeted areas of the body, but also creates a stronger connection throughout.

These five yoga poses will not only develop your strength in specific areas, but create a stronger connection throughout the body.

Down Dog Twist

Areas targeted: Back, shoulders and core

Yoga for SwimmersLachlan and Emily Photography

Down Dog

  • Start in table top (on hands and knees)
  • Walk your knees back a few inches
  • Externally rotate your shoulders (keeping your fingers pointed forward turn your elbow creases away from you and twirl your triceps towards one another)
  • On an exhale press the ground away from you and your hips up and back in a diagonal direction
  • Come into an inverted ‘V’ position as you bring your legs towards straight
  • Make the priority the length in your spine rather than how straight you can get your legs

Down Dog Twist

  • From down dog
  • Feel strongly into the right hand, pressing the ground away and stabilizing your shoulder
  • On an inhale reach the left hand towards the outside of the right shin or ankle
  • As you bring the hand over look underneath the right armpit
  • Continue to press the ground away strongly staying connected through the shoulder, core and spine

Dolphin Glide

Areas targeted: Shoulders, back and core

Yoga for SwimmingYoga for Swimming

Forearm Plank

  • Start in table top (on hands and knees)
  • Place forearms on the ground with your elbows directly under your shoulders and your palms flat on the ground
  • Walk your knees back a few inches
  • On an inhale extend the legs bringing the knees off of the ground
  • Ensure that your shoulders are over your elbows and then press the ground away feeling the shoulder blades come away from the spine
  • Have the seat in line with the rest of the spine and engage the glutes to create a strong body line.


  • From a forearm plank
  • On an inhale put a slight bend in your knees
  • On an exhale press into your forearms and pressing the ground away directing your hips up and back into an inverted ‘V’ position
  • Feel active length in your spine from your tailbone to the crown of the head keeping the neck in line with the rest of the spine


Areas targeted: Shoulders, triceps and core

Yoga for Swimming

  • Start in a high pushup/plank position
  • Keeping the shoulders away from the ears shift forward just slightly
  • On an exhale keeping your elbows tucked in towards your ribs slowly lower yourself down towards the ground
  • Hover a few inches off the ground
  • Keep your spine long and core strong

Hollow Rock

Areas target: Core

Yoga for SwimmingYoga for Swimming


  • Start by lying flat on your back with your arms extended overhead
  • Keeping your legs together extend them in the opposite direction of your arms and point your toes
  • Your arms can be in streamline or shoulder width
  • On an exhale press your low back flat down into the ground
  • On the next inhale start to rock the body with as little movement in the hips and shoulders as possible


High Lunge

Areas targeted: Legs and core

Yoga for Swimming

  • Start in a runner’s lunge
  • Have your front foot pointed straight forward feeling strongly into the four corners of the feet
  • Have your knee directly in line with your ankle ensuring that you can see your toes in front of your knee
  • Ensure you are on the ball of your back foot and pressing through the heel
  • Square your hips feeling as if your front hip is moving back and your back hip is moving forward
  • On an inhale with a strong core and long spine come up with the upper extending the arms overhead
  • Ensure your torso is directly over your hips

This Yoga for Swimmers article is brought to you by Swimming-Specific Yoga the world’s top resource for online yoga classes and content designed for swimmers and multi-sport athletes.

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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 …

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