Why Do it? The Benefits of Land Training
To be a good swimmer, you must possess technical skill, muscular balance and strong athletic ability. In addition to training in the water, you need to participate in dry land workouts as a way to stay competitive.
Dry land training is a vital part of your training program. It is important to improve your strength and conditioning at proper intervals to prepare yourself for successful competition. When applied properly, dry land training can improve your performance and your chances of success, while decreasing or eliminating the occurrence of injuries during practice and competition.
Dry land exercises that help your swimming can be put
into four different types.
- · Cardiovascular Conditioning Exercises aid your overall endurance.
- · Stretching helps keep your muscles lengthened to avoid injury, especially as your flexibility enables
stronger propulsion when swimming.
- · Core work : strengthening your core helps with your body roll, stroke technique and also helps avoid injury.
- · Strengthening through weight training, particularly of the triceps, quadriceps, hamstrings and latissimus dorsi, help develop the muscles that power you through the water.
Some activities you can do include running, jogging, skipping and rowing. This type of exercise not only helps your aerobic capacity, but it also can help with fast-twitch muscle fibre development, especially if you incorporate running sprints. These muscles then enable faster sprint times in the water as well.
Exercises should be conducted to focus on stretching your shoulder and back muscles, as well as your hamstrings, calves and quadriceps, as these are the muscles most heavily used in the water.
Core (Upper/lower & deep) Abdominals
Core training is of vital importance for water sports athletes. Your core provides the starting point for
strength, power and stability, so if it is weak, you will be open to injuries. If you have a weak core, you may fall out of proper body position, causing increased resistance from the water, resulting in slower
movement. This improper body positioning can also cause discomfort and, over time, injuries
Strengthening and Weight Training
Because water provides a significant amount of resistance, it is important to strengthen the muscles
necessary for successful performance. Once your body is well conditioned, you should start strength training through weightlifting (either through use of own body weight, or through use of weights. This has to be age appropriate).
Balance is important in strength/weight training. You should focus on muscle groups used during swimming. Lateral pull-downs, triceps push-downs and rowing will work the same muscles used for swimming. It is also recommended that you utilise dynamic, or constantly moving, strength exercises using body weight to mimic the body movements of swimming. When using weights it is the number of repetitions that is important rather than the amount of weight lifted. Too much weight coupled with too few repetitons leads to muscle bulk and less flexibility around the joints.
Nova Centrion SC (Nottingham & swim club to Rebecca Adlington) Land Training programme
- Age Group swimmers: Land warm ups/cool downs/Injury prevention, e.g. bands & stretching, core & body weight exercises, e.g. press ups
- Youth swimmers: Land warm ups/cool downs/Injury prevention, core & body weight exercises, medicine ball
- Senior swimmers: Land warm ups/cool downs/Injury prevention, core & body weight exercises, more advanced medicine ball exercises, individualised programme, e.g. weights
Land training is a key component in the development of a swimmer. Above is a basic outline of the progression a Nova Centurion swimmer will go through in their swimming career.