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by Bo Hickey

April 19, 2019

Fight the effects of aging and position yourself to perform at your best for years to come

In its simplest form, power is your ability to move with a high rate of speed. In swimming terms, you can think of this as the propulsion you generate from your stroke and kick and your ability to shoot off the blocks and walls.

Unfortunately, if you Google power and aging, things can look pretty bleak. It’s frustrating to get slower each year and feel like you have no say in the process.

Although you can’t stop the aging process, you can prolong your ability to perform at a high level by adding some form of strength training. Doing so as an adult has been shown to help with maintaining your power. You don’t have to overhaul your current training schedule to unlock these benefits. A few simple additions can make a quick impact.

Building Your Base

Here’s a sample routine for you to follow. Complete one round of the following exercises in order. At the end of the round, rest for two minutes, and then repeat for a total of three sets. Doing this two or three times a week will provide amazing benefits.

Base Strength Routine

  • 8 goblet squats
  • 8 single-arm hinge rows (each side)
  • 4 plank walk + push ups
  • 8 single-arm Romanian deadlifts (each side)
  • Max-time active hang

Begin by focusing on proper form and not worrying about the amount of weight you use for each exercise. Then gradually increase the weight you use. Once you start adding weight, the biggest key is to avoid going backward with your weight progression. Think of it as always striving to bring your floor up a notch. If you can improve a fraction each time, the fractions will propel your baseline of performance.

If you need help performing this routine, here are demonstrations of all of the exercises.


The next thing you can implement to improve your explosive power is plyometrics. This is the practice of exerting a high level of force over a short amount of time.

Plyometric movement is very much a part of swimming, from your push off the wall to how much force you can generate during your stroke while sprinting.

Even the lower intensity plyometric movements provide tremendous value, so start there and gradually progress over time. With both the lower and upper body plyometrics, pick one or two variations that you feel comfortable completing. Complete three sets of the movements you pick. The big key with plyometrics is the rest interval. Take enough rest so you feel fresh and ready to operate at a high level for each set. Do not rush your rest! Do these routines two or three times a week.

Lower Body Plyometrics

  • 20 lateral speed hops
  • 5 depth drops
  • 5 depth drops to squat jumps

Upper Body Plyometrics

  • 10 speed rows
  • 10 speed skiers (each side)
  • 10 power push-ups

If you need help performing these exercises, here are demonstrations of the lower body plyometrics routine and the upper body plyometrics routine.

Final Thoughts

The final tip for maintaining power is the simplest: When it’s time to move fast, move fast. I often see Masters swimmers getting caught in a gray area when it comes to training in and out of the water. Although you don’t have to spend all of your time going fast, make sure it’s a quality, focused effort when you do. This will give your body the stimulus it needs to continuously improve.

Seeing improvement in the pool is fun, but strength training provides benefits to mental health and helps you stave off age-related physical decline. Focus on maintaining your power capabilities and always strive for improved technique in the water. This potent combination will open the door for fulfilling performances throughout your Masters Swimming career.


  • Technique and Training


  • Strength Training
  • Age