How to Prepare for Optimal Swim Workouts

Three-time Ironman world champion Mirinda Carfrae demonstrates the exercises from strength coach Erin Carson.

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When strength coach Erin Carson appeared on TriathleteLive last week, she promised viewers some top tips on how to prepare for optimal swim workouts—and here are some video examples, demonstrated by three-time Ironman world champion Mirinda Carfrae from the pool deck in Kona as she prepares for the Ironman World Championship.

Carfrae is one of the many superstar triathletes whom Carson coaches from the RallySport gym in Boulder, Colo.

Carson says: “It is always so important to prepare the body to perform. For the swim, you want mobile ankles and a relaxed core, but the shoulders are the one area not to be missed. Listed below are a few of the exercises my athletes use to get ready for a strong swim session.”

1.  Lat Activation

In this movement be sure to pull the shoulders down. A gentle scapular (shoulder blade) retraction is also recommended here to activate (switch on) the rhomboids as well.

2.  Internal Shoulder Rotation

With an open chest and strong posture, keep your elbow tight to the side of the body, and gently pull the hand towards the stomach. We like to use a light band here as we are seeking to activate and warm up the shoulder joint.

3.  Overhead Reaches with Horizontal Loading

This movement encourages scapular rotation and good shoulder function without adding the stress of overhead loading.  Keeping the band secured below the shoulders does a good job of helping maintain good alignment.

Check back to in the coming weeks for more exercises from Carson.

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