By Amy Padilla//Contributor | Tuesday, August 20, 2019
Dryland training is an essential aspect of competitive swimming that helps build additional strength, flexibility, and prehab through specific exercises, which results in improved performance in the pool.
Although every team’s dryland training varies, the focus for these exercises is the same. The goal of dryland training is to develop the core, increase overall muscle tone, and progress in areas of weakness to help maintain a stronger and more defined stroke when swimming.
Mike Novell, Fort Collins Area Swim Team head coach said, “We build an athletic development progression that reflects the time of the swimming season and periodization of the swimming plan.”
Here are some excellent exercises FAST uses throughout the summer season to really support their long course training in the pool. Novell said none of this was invented by him, but stolen from many great coaches over time.
1. Scapular pushups/scapular pull-ups/scapular rows/scapular dips
“This helps create well-rounded shoulder strength and mobility. I feel it really helps prevent injury in the long term because athletes learn to activate and use their shoulder joint more efficiently. It helps with the increase in stroke count involved with long course training. We really like doing this type of work early in the season, but we rely on it year round.”
2. Weighted step-up
“To build strength endurance in the legs and promote the kicking involved with fast long course swimming, we use weighted step-ups within our leg circuits. The move is quick and powerful and can be worked in with other legwork on a very fast tempo that really challenges a swimmer’s aerobic capacity as well.”
“We really crawl year-round, but bear crawl, crab walk, plank walk help with coordination, core stability, and shoulder health. Crawling can be done natural or at an incline to increase the difficulty, and is extremely valuable for swimmers of all ages. Crawling is also a great wetland workout for days where you want to mix it up a bit. We typically do surf and turf workouts on long course Saturday workouts to really round out the week.”
4. Med ball throws
“We do a variety of med ball slams and throws during the LC season to help maintain the power during heavy long course water work. I believe it contrasts the water workout and lets swimmers feel explosive, which is sometimes something that lacks during the higher volumes of swimming associated with the LC season.”
Dryland training is a vital component in taking your swimming to the next level. The exercises can vary depending on the age group as well as whether you are a sprinter or long distance swimmer. The most important aspect is that your team customizes the dryland training to meet your competitive swimming needs so you can reach your fullest potential in the pool.