Can you build muscle by swimming?

While working a range of muscles, swimming is distinct in that it delivers resistance without having a significant impact on joints, like weight training frequently does. It's a great muscle-building workout for anyone with restricted joint flexibility because of this. In order to learn which muscles are targeted in each stroke and how long you should swim for, we chatted with Incus-enabled marathon swimmer Neil Gilson. He also offered his best advice for maximising your workout using a pull buoy and paddles.

A total-body exercise

We've all admired the chiselled shoulders and v-shaped chests of professional swimmers in photographs. The breaststroke in particular targets those muscles, which is why they look so nice. However, even if all you do is swim laps to maintain your physical fitness, you are still using your muscles, particularly those in your upper back and shoulders (as well as your biceps, triceps, and forearms when you perform butterfly strokes). Your arms and legs will have to work harder if you add extras like floats or pool noodles. This raises the level of difficulty of your workout as well. If enough protein is consumed, this kind of exercise promotes the synthesis of muscle proteins and increases strength. But muscular growth eventually reaches a plateau, just like with other activities. It's crucial to change up your workout schedule and eat healthy to get through this. This entails eating lean proteins after every swim session and taking breaks in between. You can accomplish your muscular goals by doing this.

Resistance exercise

Swimming is a fantastic form of resistance training since every stroke is countered by the power of the water. Repeated motions against this force will result in muscle growth and improved strength, just like any resistance exercise. It's important to note that the various strokes all focus on various muscle groups. For instance, older swimmers often prefer breaststroke because it might increase lower body strength. The kick movement of the stroke can work the hamstrings, quadriceps, and gluteal muscles all at once. The pectoral muscles might also get a workout from the sweeping arm motion. It's crucial to vary your swimming regimen to maximise muscular growth. You might swim backstroke one week and breaststroke the following week, for instance. As an alternative, you might amplify your workouts using the pool's equipment. Utilising a kickboard or training fins, for instance, will enable you to concentrate on your leg and foot muscles without using your arms to assist you.