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Thread: Dryland Training For Swimmers

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    Dryland Training For Swimmers

    I am looking to see what everyone out there is doing for there dryland program or strength program.

    I work at a facility called IHPSWIM and we take a functional approach to our training. We are taking the intensity to the next level since taper is right around the corner,

    Here is what we did yesterday with the Fort Lauderdale aquatics of Boca Raton.

    Leg Circuit

    3 x

    24 squats
    24 lunges
    24 split jumps
    12 jump squats
    (we do this twice through non - stop in under 2:30)
    That is a total of 6 sets - killer leg workout!

    We finished with some core work and some rope climbing.

    What are you guys doing out there or what questions do you have?

    Grif Fig
    Founder of IHPSWIM

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    aka Elaine-iaK & Aqua Dog ElaineK's Avatar
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    Re: Dryland Training For Swimmers

    Quote Originally Posted by Grif View Post
    What are you guys doing out there or what questions do you have?
    This is what I did today. I typically do a 11/2 workout like this 2x wk. I used to alternate swim and dryland days, but now I try to swim 5x wk. I workout 7 days/ wk, with the 7th day being easy. My swims are typically 11/4 - 11/2 hrs. :

    -Treadmill, walk fast for 20 minutes- Warm up for 10 minutes @ 4mph. Next 10 minutes are 1 minute each at 4.2 mph, 4.4 mph, 4.6 mph. Repeat, etc.
    - Elliptical 15 minutes @ around 125 strides/min
    - Recumbent bike 15 minutes
    - Nautilus weight circuit for legs & torso (2 sets of 12 reps
    - Dumbells for arms, upper back, shoulders (Swimming Anatomy book) (2 sets of 12 reps)
    - 200 crunches of various types (PT recommended for past back surgery)
    - Other various Swimming Anatomy book exercises specifically for breaststroke
    - Stretches recommended in Jan/Feb 2010 Swimmer Magazine
    - Stretches and exercises for ankles and feet recommended for past tarsal tunnel syndrome problem.
    - Stretches recommended by PT for past Thoracic Outlet Syndrome surgery on shoulder

    If I don't get interrupted, I am able to move along with my plan with no breaks in between, except to refill my water bottle. And, I can get it done in 11/2 hrs.


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    Re: Dryland Training For Swimmers

    Quote Originally Posted by ElaineK View Post
    Other various Swimming Anatomy book exercises specifically for breaststroke
    That's where you're going to get my vote to really start looking. Good to see you have some plyo implemented in your workout.

    Book Link:
    [ame=http://www.amazon.com/Swimming-Anatomy-Ian-McLeod/dp/0736075712/ref=sr_1_1]Swimming Anatomy - Amazon.com[/ame]
    "Fran operated under the assumption that ones ability to cope with the travails of daily life fluctuates in direct proportion to ones willingness to work through hurt." -Ian Prichard

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    Re: Dryland Training For Swimmers

    I will have to pick up that book - always good to get antoher point of view.

    We train all of our swimmers under the philosophy that core stability and rotation play a huge role in improving technique and producing power in the water. What do you guys think?

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    Re: Dryland Training For Swimmers

    Quote Originally Posted by Grif View Post
    I will have to pick up that book - always good to get antoher point of view.

    We train all of our swimmers under the philosophy that core stability and rotation play a huge role in improving technique and producing power in the water. What do you guys think?
    That book is "THE" book about dry land training for swimming.

    As far as core goes - I would go as far to say that one NEEDS a strong core to swim well. (Strong of course being relative to body weight and build). The rest of it (rotation and stability) comes from building proper technique on top of that strong core that you're building.
    "Fran operated under the assumption that ones ability to cope with the travails of daily life fluctuates in direct proportion to ones willingness to work through hurt." -Ian Prichard

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    Re: Dryland Training For Swimmers

    I do train a lot on the cardiovascular side, but to an extent that is detrimental for swimming. So I won't include it as my swim specific dryland stuff.

    All I do is 15min of swim cords prior ever swim workout + weights once/week as:

    - 2 sets of 8-10 squats @ relatively low weight. Aimed at injury prevention for breaststroke kicking mostly
    - 2 sets of 12pull up / 12 dips non stop
    - 2 sets of fly specific pulling (using a wide grip bar on a pulley machine) Injury prevention for fly. Found out that too much fly would hurt my arm adductors. Low weight, high rep
    - 2 sets of Nautilus Fly machine (same reason as for the exercise above). Low weight, high reps. Very very high and wide grip (enough to put me in troubles a bit, just like that front-quadrant portion of the fly pulling)
    - 2 sets of Shoulder Press (that's for aesthetic, nice round shoulders look good I find), and a bit for injury prevention there again
    - 2 sets Triceps extensions
    - Abdominal work

    The whole thing takes no more than 45min, and no more than 2 days to recuperate from since I keep everything relatively low weight. I usually swim the same day, after the workout, doing long steady work.

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    Re: Dryland Training For Swimmers

    If we're going to talk sets (please note these were all set up by my trainer - I'm not a masochist - just doing what I'm told):

    I lift 6x a week. 3 circuits performed 3x per lift. Each circuit consists of hitting each muscular group for strength and then a plyo (or two, if I'm ambitious) and finally a core activity (again, or two if I'm ambitious).
    I perform each muscle group 2x a week. So I have a legs day, arms day and a "Chest/Shoulders/Back" day. Each lift takes between an hour to 45 minutes.
    My lifting program is a conditioning program - so my lifts are in sets of 12, with the exception of core which can range from 15 to 50 (depending on what needs to be done)

    My rest day is generally saturday - even then I'm allowed to do cardio; I usually don't - I sleep.

    Outside of that - I perform at least 1 cardio activity per day (Swimming counts as a cardio according to my trainer). So if I'm not swimming on that day (T/Th/Su) I will either run (M/F) or play basketball (sprints)

    However - most importantly - and something that should be stressed to everyone: all of the dryland + swimming + other cardio in the world is worthless without good nutrition and enough sleep.
    "Fran operated under the assumption that ones ability to cope with the travails of daily life fluctuates in direct proportion to ones willingness to work through hurt." -Ian Prichard

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    Re: Dryland Training For Swimmers

    Quote Originally Posted by bzaks1424 View Post
    However - most importantly - and something that should be stressed to everyone: all of the dryland + swimming + other cardio in the world is worthless without good nutrition and enough sleep.
    Good point! I am worthless without good sleep, that's for sure. I need a good, solid 8 hours of to be useful for anything worthwhile. And, that was my problem at Nationals. My sleep wasn't good going into it and it didn't get good again until several days after. It's not that I didn't try; I allowed plenty of time for sleep, but it was due to my heat intolerance issues and a couple of other things out of my control.

    As for nutrition, right again. Good nutrition IS in my control and I do a darn good job of it. But, having said that, I do allow for my chocolate from time to time... But, even that, I cut out for several weeks leading up to Nationals- then splurged on my cruise.

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    Re: Dryland Training For Swimmers

    One of the things that I beleive is most important when I train my swimmers in the gym is using periodization - just as we do in the pool.

    For example - we shouldn't be doing the same sets, reps, and loads 365 days a year just like we shouldn't do the same swim workout 365 days a year.

    To peak - you must peak ALL aspects fo your training.

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    Re: Dryland Training For Swimmers

    Quote Originally Posted by Grif View Post
    For example - we shouldn't be doing the same sets, reps, and loads 365 days a year just like we shouldn't do the same swim workout 365 days a year.
    Why don't you post some dryland workouts in the Workouts Section? Or do a blog?
    "Fran operated under the assumption that ones ability to cope with the travails of daily life fluctuates in direct proportion to ones willingness to work through hurt." -Ian Prichard

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    Re: Dryland Training For Swimmers

    With masters swimmers, we focus upon restoring lost movement literacy. Quite simply, most swimmers (especially masters, but age group as well) have fundamental movement dysfunctions on land that make efficient movement very difficult in the water. If you can't move efficiently on land in a sterile environment with no temporal parameters, your chances of success probably won't improve when we make you answer to the pace clock, take your oxygen away, and inject your muscles with metabolic waste products as the aquatic workload increases. Dryland conditioning must support the technical elements you are trying to achieve in the water. Otherwise, you are simply adding power to dysfunction.

    Dysfunction is a pretty strong term, so let me briefly describe how we identify it. We use both the Functional Movement Screen and the rotational sport screening tools developed by the Titleist Performance Institute in coordination with the Functional Movement Screen founders. Each land-based screening tool looks at some aspect of your fundamental movement ability. We can determine dysfunction based upon how you perform in each of these basic screening moves in a controlled environment. Think of screening as like an eye chart or a blood pressure exam. The blood pressure exam determines whether your blood pressure is above or below a certain known risk factor level. A low blood pressure doesn't tell us whether you fit in terms of cardiovascular performance. Likewise, a high blood pressure doesn't tell us whether the cause is short term stress or a major coronary blockage. However, the blood pressure exam is effective at identifying those in the population who are at risk for serious conditions.

    The same applies to basic movement ability...for example, if you can pass the shoulder screenings, it doesn't mean that your arm mechanics will be great in the water, but if you can't pass the shoulder screenings it means you are at greater risk of injury when attempting complex sport specific movements involving increased load. Even if you manage to keep yourself free of injury with fundamental movement dysfunction, it often requires you to use inefficient compensations such as calling upon your "prime-mover" muscles to act as stabilizers or calling upon your stabilizing muscles to act as "prime-movers". Note, just because something is inefficient doesn't mean it should be changed. With experienced athletes, it is sometimes necessary to take an "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" approach. Ultimately, this is a strategic decision to be made by the coach, athlete, and any support staff (dryland coach, PT/chiro) involved in the process.

    The term "functional training" has become quite the buzzword in recent years, but has unfortunately become bastardized by many of the clowns that populate the training world. The term "functional" has become so broad that it often includes any body weight exercise performed with high repetitions for long enough to make you feel sore in muscles that you think should be sore (see, e.g., Boot Camp Blast-o-robics class). We should define "functional" not by what the workout looks like, but instead "what does it produce." Jumping up and down from boxes CAN be a functional exercise for developing explosiveness and most would consider it to be more functional for athletics than strapping yourself into a machine and cranking away. However, if you have some fundamental movement limitation, one of two things will happen if we give you any advanced exercise. First, you might use poor mechanics. Second, you might use good mechanics but use inefficient motor-neural pathways to achieve the good mechanics. If your knees collapse inward during your jump landings, you really aren't improving your "function" unless your standard of functional is to simply move inefficiently with greater power.

    Grif has posted a pretty intense workout and I am sure he has a great sense of his athletes' ability and very rigorous technical standards for these exercises when supervising workouts. I just want to make sure that everyone holds themselves to these high standards in their dryland workouts and doesn't simply shop around for novel exercises. As physical therapist extraoridinaire Gray Cook notes, if you shop around for exercises without screening and assessing basic movement ability, it is like throwing a bunch of letters against a wall and hoping that a dictionary will emerge. What is more important than the exercises to improve function is finding out what is causing the DYS-fucntion in the first place (whether a lifestyle factor or current exercise selection). Remove the bad before adding the good.

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    Re: Dryland Training For Swimmers

    Great points from the above poster. When designing a dryland program we all need to use progression and make sure propoer technique is demonstrated before moving to the next step. For example, one must show proper from in a body weight squat before adding speed and eventually moving on to a jump squat.

    I work for JC Santana at the Institute if Human Performance and he has developed 3 simple rules to follow:

    1 - No Pain in Movements (you would think would be the obvious but isn't to some)

    2 - Show control in all movements

    3 - Use proper progression

    If you follow these rules and make sure your athletes have fawless technique you are good to go.

    To your point on the term functional training - I do beleive this term is misused way to much in the industry. To many people decide that standing on a stability ball or some senseless exercise that so called looks creative but doesnt so anything is now functional training.

    You must always ask yourself why am I doing this exercise and how does it being the function I am trying to improve.

    Train Hard, Train Smart.

    Next week I will post some workouts that our swimmers are doing in there power phase right before taper starts.

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    Re: Dryland Training For Swimmers

    I think Dave Salo's book [ame="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/073607242X?ie=UTF8&tag=theathkvill-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creative ASIN=07360"]Complete Conditioning for Swimming[/ame] is a great place to start as well...
    Marc Randell
    The Athlete Village
    Reaching Peak Performance.

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    Re: Dryland Training For Swimmers

    Here is part of the workout that I did yesterday with Elle Weberg and Arlene Semeco. On Monday's we do upper body power mixed in with some lower body and core exercisesThese are two high level athletes so they workout is somewhat advanced. Make sure you master the basics before moving on to faster, more explosive movements.

    Circuit # 1 (go through this 3 times)

    Lat pulldown 3 x 5
    Overhead Med Ball Slams 3 x 5
    1 Leg squat or a staggered squat 3 x 10
    Stability Ball Knee Tucks 3 x 15

    Circuit # 3
    Machine Rows 3 x 5
    Rope Climb 3 x (1) - 15 to 20 ft rope
    Stability Ball Bridge 3 x 15
    Stability Ball Log Roll 3 x 10

    If you checkout IHPSWIM on facebook you can find pictures and video clips of some of the other exercises that we do.

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    Re: Dryland Training For Swimmers

    Grif, this is a great thread that you have started. I know that I need to get stronger out of the pool. I am not an elite athlete, nor do not have the time to commit to a full dryland program. I think that it would be helpful to have a shortened version of a workout that people of all abilities could integrate into their routines. What exercises would you recommend?

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    Re: Dryland Training For Swimmers

    Quote Originally Posted by KEWebb18 View Post
    I know that I need to get stronger out of the pool. I am not an elite athlete, nor do not have the time to commit to a full dryland program. I think that it would be helpful to have a shortened version of a workout that people of all abilities could integrate into their routines. What exercises would you recommend?
    I'm not Grif, but I would like to chime in with a few comments on these points:

    If you're not an elite athlete and have time limitations it is paramount that you get some basic assessment of your movement abilities first. Many masters swimmers have this misconception that dryland training must involve long sessions in the weight room. You can eliminate a lot of superfluous activity (and save time!) by identifying your weak links of movement first.

    Some common dryland dysfunctions that manifest themselves in the water include....

    1) The pattern of unstable neck, lumbar spine, knee, and scapulae combined with immobile thoracic spine, hips, shoulder joint, and ankles. The cause of this dysfunctional series of joint patterning often relates to lifestyle/postural issues. You can throw all the exercises you want at the issue, but as soon as you leave the gym and get in your car or go back to your desk with crappy posture you've just erased the new "software" that you just downloaded with all of your exercising.

    2) Poor landing skills. A lot of swimmers spend too much time on the wall during their turns because they don't know how to land softly and change directions. When performing jumping drills (whether plyo jumps or simply jumping rope) the focus should not only be on the explosiveness of the push, but also on the quality of the landing. This is where the supervision of a good coach is PARAMOUNT...if you're working out under Grif's supervision you'll probably get this down quickly. Show up at some nonsense boot camp class at your local big box gym and you'll just randomly burn some calories and learn poor habits (and possibly get hurt in the process).

    3) Inability to segmentally disassociate. Basically this refers to the ability to move the lower body independently of the upper body in the appropriate sequence. Many stroke flaws (and technical flaws in all rotationally based sports) exist because the upper body and lower body are unable to work independently.

    4) This is related to number 2 and 3, but deceleration skills are also a problem for many swimmers. That is, they can rotate from side to side, but lack power because they can't change directions quickly. Again, this is a motor learning issue that will show up both on land and in the water.

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    Re: Dryland Training For Swimmers

    One more brief comment...Rope climibing and rock climbing are about as good as it gets for dryland conditioning. Unfortunately, these activities aren't readily available most places due to insurance policies. Rope climbing forces the body to move in that natural primitive crawling pattern of L arm-R leg/R arm-L leg. Any time we can restore our basic movement patterns and build dynamics from there we are in the right direction.

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    Re: Dryland Training For Swimmers

    Thanks KeWebb - a good discussion is great for everone and gets you thinking about what we should really be doing.Thanks to Ap4305 for making some great points and really adding to the blog.

    First, as Ap4305 mentioned, we have to look at our needs as a swimmer. I will keep it general here. I call it L.A.P.S. - Lower Body Power, Alignemnt and core rotation exercises, Pull and Push Power, Shoulder Stability. Obviously it helps to look at these areas a little more closely as Ap4305 has but this is a general way to make sure all your needs are addressed in a dryland program.

    I have found that doing timed circuits are a great way to do a workout for someone who is short on time such as yourself KeWebb. I usually do 30 seconds per exercise with a 15 second rest/transition period. Here is an example of circuit for a beginner

    Exercise # 1 - Bodyweight Squat - L
    Exercise # 2 - Planks - A
    Exercise # 3 - Resistance or Cable pulldowns or swims - P
    Exercise # 4 - 2 hands on the flexibar (upper vibration) - S

    Perform this 3 times through - it takes only 3 min per round and a total of 9 min. If you design another one and do that 3 times it will only take 18 minutes. How is that for a short effective workout?

    I will post some more circuits or you can check soem videos, photos and workouts on my ihpswim facebook page.

    Oh yeah, and I love rope climbing and totally agree with Ap4305, it doesn't get much better than rope climbing when it comes to pull power and core strength
    Last edited by Grif; July 8th, 2010 at 10:23 AM.

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    Re: Dryland Training For Swimmers

    Thanks for the information. I think that it is really to get confused with all of the different information available out there. Videos really help to reinforce what the exercises should look like.
    It makes sense that rope climbing would be one of your fundamental exercises that you use for the dryland training. It is one of the hardest things that I have ever tried! For people who do not have access to a rope or a rock wall, is there anything that can be used as a substitute that is just as effective?

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    Re: Dryland Training For Swimmers

    Another alternative which we use is a good old peg climbing board but those are not frequently availible either. You can buy a 1.5" inch manilla rope about 15 ft in length and toss it over a pull up bar. It gives you 7.5 ft" of length on each side. From there you can perform pull - ups on the rope with a staggerred hand position. This is not as beneficial as the rope climb because you end up doing have the reps with one arm over the top and then you switch. When you climb the rope you will incorporate more rotation as you pull.

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