Yoga for Swimmers: How to Incorporate Yoga Into Your Program

Incorporating a swimming-specific yoga practice into your program is an effective and efficient way to accomplish many of your dry land goals.

When incorporating any modality into your training there are many things to take into consideration:

  • Goals for the specific modality
  • Time restraints
  • Timing
  • Facility access
  • Delivery of the program

Goals of a Swimming-Specific Yoga Practice

The first thing to do is determine what you want to gain from the yoga practice. Some of the benefits include:

  • Increasing mobility
  • Improving strength
  • Optimizing recovery
  • Developing body awareness
  • Injury prevention
  • Breathing efficiency
  • Moving with ease
  • Mental Skills


How much time do you need for an effective yoga session?

An effective practice can be done in as little as 15 minutes. In fact adding different elements into your warm-up or warm-down routines is a great way to start.

An ideal duration is 45 minutes to an hour, but you do not need that much time to reap the benefits of a yoga practice.


Macro – Periodization

How yoga fits into your periodization is the most important aspect to consider when implementing a practice. To be effective it needs to compliment the training you are doing in the water in a systematic way.The yoga practice should be designed to address the different of swimmers so it can be incorporated seamlessly into a periodized program.

Micro – When to Do Yoga

The timing of a yoga session is determined by the goals of the practice. Yoga can be done before, during or after your in water training.

When doing a session before a practice they focus can be on active mobility, activation, body awareness, breathing and mental skills. A session during a practice can target mobility, strength, body awareness and breathing. After practice the concentration can be put on many different areas such as recovery, mobility and breathing.


The ideal facility is very different than what is necessary. Just as a 50-meter is nice to have you don’t need one to excel in the sport.

What is ideal:

  • Mats
  • Forgiving flooring
  • Quiet space
  • Appropriate lighting

What is necessary:

  • Easy to breath
  • Traction



Online programs are a cost effective way to access an expert in the field at any time anywhere.

In Person Teacher

There are many good yoga teachers, but when bringing someone in you should ensure:

  • They understand how yoga fits into your overall training plan
  • The unique needs swimmers have
  • The personality of the teacher resonates with the athletes

Using Different Components

Implementing different aspects of a yoga practice into your dry land training can be quite simple. Many sequences involve very common dry land and stretching activities performed with greater awareness and connection to the breath. The QSwim app is a fantastic tool to use for this purpose.

Classes Outside of Structured Training

Just as there are many great yoga teachers there are a lot of incredible classes. When doing a separate practice ensure that what you are doing fits into the periodization of your program.

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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