If you have been swimming for some time now, you might have heard people through around the phrase “swimmers body” here and there. Maybe you have even been complimented with the term or set a goal for yourself to have a swimmer’s body. But what exactly does that mean?
Well, for starters, it goes without saying that there is more than just one type of swimmer’s body. This is because different people practice using different strokes and distances. And as a result, you can see swimmers of all body types around.
So, since swimmers come in a wide variety of body types, which one is the ideal one? Which is the perfect “swimmer’s body”?
The Famous “Swimmer’s Body” Explained
When people usually talk about the “swimmer’s body” they mean the body type that you can see in international-level competitive swimming sports. These competitive swimmers are typically toned and have log torsos arms but short legs.
Their bodies are not bulked with muscles; rather, the broad shoulders, defined abs, triceps, lats, and an above-average height fit them into the “swimmer’s body”. But how do they build this body? And, is swimming the only way you can get this body?
Do swimmers have to be born with a Swimmer’s body?
No one is born with a swimming body. Although some genetic features, like height, sure do help, swimmers work on themselves for hours every day to get the ideal body. They make lifestyle changes to accommodate their physical appearance, and their strict regimes only get more intense as competitions approach.
But, it needs to also be recognized that their hard work would be for nothing if they did not have some genetic features that put them at a vantage point. You really need to remember this if you are trying to build a “swimmer’s body” because you should understand that even if you are not born with the typical swimming figure, you can work for it. But, if you have been working hard for some time now and do not see results, that is alright because your genetics also matter.
What are some of the features that male and female swimmers have?
All the features that make up the ideal “swimmer’s body” contribute to the swimmer’s ability to swim more easily in one way or another. Although mostly the same in both men and women, these features have some differences here and there.
Height, for instance, benefits both men and women. It allows them to keep the wave drag to a minimum and also helps them reserve energy by having them use less strength and energy. Additionally, taller swimmers have longer arms, hands, and feet, allowing them to soar through the water at a higher velocity.
For the famous “swimmer’s body,” male swimmers usually have a height of over 6 feet. Take Michael Andrew as an example; he is 6’5″! And Nathan Adrian stands even taller at the height of 6’6″.
Elite female swimmers are known to have heights that easily surpass 6 feet. Tke Penny Oeksaik and Katie Ledeckey as examples; these women stand proud at 6′!
Center of Mass
Swimmers require balance in the water, and the center of mass helps them have a “swimmer’s body”. Someone with a swimmer’s body has their center of mass close to their lungs which is the center of flotation. This is because the closer they are, the less effort it takes for the swimmer to float horizontally.
If you have looked at a swimmer’s body, female and male, both have triangle-shaped torsos that are longer than average; this usually happens when the center of mass is close to the lungs.
Do you know what else matters for swimmers to have a swimmer’s body? Their wingspan, a.k.a, how far their arms spread out. A larger wingspan means the swimmer can pull more water during strokes and propel themselves forward more easily.
Whether it is a male swimmer body or female, the wingspan matters a lot. People with swimmer’s bodies have arms that are relatively longer and proportionate to their bodies.
Just as a larger wingspan can help swimmers, hyperextension can also help. Hyperextension refers to the ability to extend joints beyond a straight line, and people who can do so can kick greater volumes of water and catch more water during strokes.
For a swimmer’s body, female and male swimmers both have advantages with hyperextension as it allows them to bend their arms and legs further than others.
Swimmers also need flexible shoulders and ankles to have the ideal swimmer’s body. Whether it is a male or female swimmer, flexibility will allow them to rotate their bodies more easily and hold on to water during long axis strokes. It will also allow them to keep their chests pressed down further, which will lengthen their strokes.
Slow Twitch vs. Fast Twitch Muscle Fibres
Another feature that both male and female swimmers need is slow twitch and fast twitch muscles. Slow twitch muscles are great for endurance events like long-distance swimming. Similarly, Fast twitch muscles are important for powerful bursts of movement like sprinting.
Both of these together determine the potential of a swimmer, and having both of them opens up swimmers to a wide range of events, giving them the “swimmer’s body.”
FAQs – Swimmer’s body
Can you build a “swimmer’s body” on land?
If you want to have a toned swimming figure through exercises you can do on dry land; you will be glad to know that a few can help you.
Planks, lat pulls, rowing machines and crunch presses are just a few of the many exercises you can do to help you get toned muscles. These will stabilize your core and back and build muscles in your arms as well.
What foods to eat to get a “swimmer’s body”?
Besides exercises, you can try out diets to help you have the “swimmer’s body” you desire. Your diet should mainly consist of carbohydrates, proteins, and healthy fats necessary to strengthen muscles and bones.
There are quite a few features that define a “swimmer’s body”; while some can be gained through workouts, others are gained genetically. No matter what it is, you will be able to gain a “swimmer’s body” with a little hard work and determination.
You can also read: What is a Metabolic Workout, and how to Try it Properly?