Generally speaking, the stronger swimmer is the faster swimmer. Most effective swim programs include strength training for their athletes. Whether it is resistance training, weight-lifting, or dynamic body weight bearing exercises, swimming programs at every level acknowledge that building strength means improved power and speed for swimmers.
Added strength, however, can be difficult to translate directly into the pool. Practicing correctly designed yoga movements and sequences can help make strength more functional to swimmers.
For one, yoga builds a strong and stable core system. Improved core tension better connects a swimmer's upper and lower body, resulting in more power applied to stroke. In addition, yoga also develops the rotational strength and connectedness that is needed for strokes like freestyle and backstroke.
If a swimmer is going to build strength in the weight room, they also need to be mobile enough to employ it in their swimming. Without mobility, a swimmer is limited by how far they can reach, how flexibly they can move and the angles at which they can engage the water. Yoga helps improve a swimmer's mobility and can minimize or even remove these limitations.
Stability is another crucial component to strong swimming. Swimming-specific yoga can help develop the scapular, thoracic, and hip stability that powerful swimming requires. This improved stability also means fewer injuries for swimmers. While yoga sequences are strengthening swim-specific muscle groups, they are also working on a swimmer's weak areas and opposing muscle groups that often get left out in traditional resistance training.
Overall, yoga builds a higher level of strength in swimmers. Yoga practices require focus and concentration while demanding strength, balance, and endurance. Swimmers who consistently practice correctly designed yoga poses and sequences have an improved mind/body connection that boosts their traditional strength training like a multivitamin.