STRENGTH TRAINING IMPROVES SWIMMING PERFORMANCE
Hsu, T. G., Hsu, K. M., & Hsieh, S. S. (1997). The effects of shoulder isokinetic strength training on speed and propulsive forces in front crawl swimming. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 29(5), Supplement abstract 713.
The effects of shoulder isokinetic strength training on 50 m sprint time, propulsive force of arm stroke, and propulsive force for whole stroke in crawl stroke swimming were assessed in competitive swimmers (M = 8; F = 20).
Two groups were formed. Both groups had the same training program but one experienced added isokinetic strength training that focused on the internal and external rotator muscles of the shoulders. The study lasted five weeks.
The strength trained group improved significantly in the three factors involving swimming speed and propulsive forces. No changes were observed in the swimming-only group.
Implication. This is one of the few studies which shows that strength training does affect swimming performance. It also focused only on 50 m sprint time. Since very short distance sprint performances are related to strength there may be some value in considering strength training for individuals who wish to compete in those events. However, strength training for distances beyond "power" races still is a dubious procedure, particularly when it is entertained for very long periods of time (e.g., as a ritual part of a season's program).
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