Swim and gym routine to exercise shoulders and lats

More defined shoulders (latissimi dorsi, or lats) are a main goal for many starting to exercise. So to help you out we have created a simple swim and gym routine to exercise shoulders and lats.

Our pick and mix swim and gym exercises help you mix things up a little. Enjoy all the benefits of exercising in water after a light gym workout, but with a focus on certain areas of the body for maximum impact.

Remember to always warm up before any exercise. Head over to our stretching video collection to warm up legs, arms and upper body. Note, you will need to be able to swim at least 10 lengths in one swimming stroke to do this exercise. Don’t worry, not all at once.

Exercise shoulders and lats – in the gym

OK, first off is the gym. This should take 20-30 minutes with stretches to warm up. Rest for 30 seconds to a minute between reps. It is important to ensure you have the right weight. A few rules when choosing weight:

  • If it’s your first time or haven’t been to the gym in a while start with a very light weight
  • Never choose a weight because someone else is using it. Listen to your body.
  • You should struggle doing the final few repetitions.
  • If you finish all the sets easily you need to increase weight on the next visit
  • Complete the full movement at a steady pace. Don’t use bounce to help you, this may cause injury

Follow these rules for each of the exercises below. Use the videos to help, and contact the gym staff who will be happy to help if you have any questions. You will be doing:

  1. Barbell Shoulder Press – three sets of six
  2. Assisted Pull-Ups – three sets of 10
  3. Dumbbell Lateral Raise – three sets of six
  4. Lat Pull Down (closer grip) – three sets of six
  5. Dumbbell Shrugs – three sets of 10

Exercise shoulders and lats – in the pool

Next up is to head to the pool. We have two choices here depending on how confident a swimmer you are. If you are not confident use this one. Work from 1-4 taking the rests required after each.

For less confident swimmers

If you can only do one stroke and can swim 10-12 lengths a visit then choose this option.

SectionWhat to do in the poolRest Period
1Swim for three minutes using front crawl, backstroke or breaststroke without resting.Up to one minute after the three minutes.
2Swim four lengths using either front crawl, backstroke or breaststroke.30 seconds after each length.
3Swim six lengths using the same stroke as above.Every two lengths until your breathing returns to normal.
4Swim for three minutes using any stroke without resting.

For more confident swimmers

If you can swim more than one stroke confidently and are capable of swimming more than 30 lengths in a visit then choose this option.

SectionSession SetRest Period
1Swim for five minutes alternating between front crawl and backstroke every length without resting.After the five minutes until your breathing returns to normal.
2Hold a float between your legs and just use your arms for 8 lengths using your favourite stroke.Up to 15 seconds after each length.
3Swim eight lengths using the same stroke as above.Up to 15 seconds after each length.
4Swim 12 lengths alternating between your two favourite strokes every length without resting.