Swimming is no doubt considered a form of resistance training. This low-impact exercise requires you to pull and push your muscles continuously. You must have heard that swimming helps in building lean muscles. So, the question that arises in your mind is: Does swimming build muscle mass?
The short answer to this question is yes. Swimming can build muscle mass, but it would require extensive effort and sheer determination. Besides muscle mass, swimming also leads to improved aerobic fitness, increased stamina, and it is also helpful in burning calories and cutting back on body fats.
There is a huge difference between swimming and bodybuilding. You might have seen the bodies of Olympic swimmers and noticed that they are not similar to that of bodybuilders. This is because swimming requires extra time and effort to build muscle mass compared to bodybuilding and weightlifting.
In this article, we will be explaining “Does swimming build muscle?” and what other factors you should consider getting muscles through swimming.
Is Swimming Resistance Training?
The process of resistance training starts with the stretching of the muscles causing them to tear apart. You might be wondering why you feel a sensation of soreness and fatigue after swimming. It is because the muscles are tearing apart during resistance training. However, the muscles recover with time, and that’s when you gain muscle mass.
In case you didn’t know, swimming helps build muscle mass by applying resistance to different types of muscles of the body. It takes nearly 24-48 hours for the muscles to recover after tearing apart. However, once they are fully recovered, you will see growth in the muscles.
Here’s an interesting fact you might not know:
The resistance of water is more intense than the resistance of air.
This is the reason you must pull extra efforts while swimming as compared to bodybuilding or weightlifting.
Does Swimming Make You Stronger?
Swimming gives you the strength that you cannot get from any other form of exercise. However, there are specific techniques that you need to follow to gain the maximum muscles you can. Here are some of the benefits of swimming that will persuade you to dig out your swimming costume:
- With better techniques, you can improve your cardiovascular fitness.
- You can build all the muscles of your body, starting from the upper body to the core and the legs.
- Unlike bodybuilding and weightlifting, you are less at risk of getting injuries.
- Are you worried because of obesity? Swimming can help you lose weight.
- Increases flexibility.
Best Swimming Drills for Muscle Building
Are you a beginner? Don’t worry. We will tell you the best techniques to swim for strength and muscle building.
#1. Consistency Is the Key
Swimming once or twice a week and expecting to look like Michael Phelps? Never, you might be misguided by someone.
In swimming and bodybuilding, consistency is the key to strength and muscle building. Therefore, you need to swim at least 3-5 times a week to pull out the best body shape.
#2. Kick Drills
You need to hold a kickboard in front of your body and work on different muscle groups. You can try this drill and keep working on different muscles.
Kick drills can help in providing you excellent propulsion and leading to better results.
#3. Frog Kick
You can use this technique to work on inner thighs and glutes. In addition, a frog kick will assist you in toning and shaping the body.
All you need to do is bend your knees, move your feet closer, and move your legs upwards, just like a frog.
#4. Butterfly Kick
To pull out a butterfly kick, you need to bring your legs together and use your hips to kick your legs, acting as a fin.
This drill will help you in improving the deep ab muscles and the muscles alongside your abs. Do you want a six-pack? Then, do this drill and achieve it!
Why Isn’t Swimming Alone Enough to Build Muscle?
You can surely build muscle by swimming alone. However, swimming and bodybuilding can altogether produce better results. Who doesn’t want impressive gains!
Swimming and weightlifting, when coupled together, can make your body look like a masterpiece. However, you must be careful about certain things before doing these exercises. For instance, during weightlifting, it is advised to work the same muscles that you work during swimming.
Although swimming is the best exercise for muscle mass building, it requires weightlifting as well. Therefore, weights are used to complement swimming to help you build a body you have never imagined of. Moreover, you should avoid working out more on the chest and biceps.
Another important thing you need to take care of is your diet. If you want to gain muscles, it requires extra effort and energy. The energy comes from the proper diet. Now you know why junk food won’t give you energy.
The Nutritional Aspect of Swimming:
You probably would have heard of Michael Phelps a.k.a Flying Fish. He used to consume nearly 12000 calories every day. An average person consumes almost 12000 calories in a week. Astonishing. Isn’t it?
A perfect diet is a fuel you need during swimming to pull and push your muscles as hard as you can. Here is some nutritional advice for swimmers who want to build muscles:
- Carbohydrates are essential for a person who works out.
- Your muscles tear apart during swimming. Proteins are the healers there!
- How can you forget to take the good fats? Good fats come from fish, nuts, and other organic food. These fats are essential for bodily functions.
- If you are swimming daily, you need to take enough calories to make sure your body thrives.
5 Tips for Effectively Building Muscle – Swimming
- Prepare a diet plan and consume adequate calories.
- Swim at least three times a week
- Increase your metabolic stress to maximize muscle growth.
- Incorporate strength training into your routine.
- Add resistance during swimming to increase muscle growth.
Swimming and Muscle Building: Conclusion
Swimming is no doubt a great low-impact exercise to build muscles with zero risks of getting injuries. However, let’s not forget that swimming can increase your lung capacity and stamina. We have also seen that by coupling swimming and weightlifting, you can get impressive gains.
Moreover, it would help if you were careful of your diet to maximize muscle growth.
Don’t stop here, watch this video to know 5 Most Common Mistakes of Freestyle Swimming.
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Writer | Triathlete
A writer by passion and a triathlete coach profession. In his free time, he swims, runs, cycles, and helps newbie athletes to achieve their goals.