By Mike Mejia, M.S., C.S.C.S
Muscles Trained: Upper body and core.
Importance to Swimmers: Helps improve rotational strength and range of motion through the upper body and core.
Execution: Stand with your back to a wall, with your heels positioned about 12 to 18 inches away from its base. Next, holding a medicine ball out in front of your chest with your palms facing each other, begin rotating to one side as you attempt to touch the ball to the wall behind you. As you turn to your right side, rotate the ball so that your left hand is on top and your right is on the bottom. After making light contact with the wall, bring the ball back around to the center and repeat to the left side, making sure to rotate the ball so that your right hand is now on top. Continue until you've completed 8-10 repetitions on each side.
How far away you position yourself from the wall will depend on both core strength and flexibility. Those of you who are a less flexible should therefore start out a little closer to the wall, and look to increase the distance as you your strength and flexibility improve.
Keep your knees soft and lower body stationary throughout the movement as you rotate your shoulders and torso. This will help strengthen the core and improve the flexibility of the lats and upper back. Also be sure to keep your arms as straight as possible, without locking the elbows.
Try to keep your body weight centered so that your torso is lined up over your mid foot throughout the exercise. At no point should you lean back towards the wall in an attempt to rotate further. This would be indicative of poor flexibility and can place unnecessary stress the lower back.