Dry land exercises for swimming

Summer, the season for sunshine, warm temperatures, and THUNDERSTORMS that close your pool!

This is something that I find to be very frustrating. I used to live in South Florida – and my only swim option (without dropping some serious cash on Master’s swimming – it was expensive there!) was after work, until 7:30 or 8pm. I’ve got memories of rushing home from work calling the pool to see if they were still open, as dark clouds began to roll over the horizon. I had the pool’s number on speed dial.

This is something I didn’t escape by moving to Tucson – apparently June-August is Monsoon season!! We get passing thundershowers most afternoons, and pools here tend to close by 7pm.

So, what should you do when your pool is closed, and you’ve got a swim on the schedule? Well, that depends.

Can you reschedule the swim?

If you can, switch a different workout that you can do – like a bike or a run – from an upcoming day, and move that swim. Try to swap workouts of similar length and intensity.

If not, you can substitute something else for your swimming:

Situation one: you’re a skilled swimmer and fairly content with your abilities and progress. This is me. I’ve been swimming since I was 5, and I’m pretty sure I can do it in my sleep. You would likely benefit from a bike or a run.

Situation two: you’re a weak swimmer. Or a new swimmer. Or you’re simply striving to improve your times. You would likely benefit more from a swim-specific strength training session. There are some awesome resources available to guide you through this. Recently, this article popped up on USA Triathlon’s Multisport Lab. It’s got a great workout outlined for you, including Simulated High Cadence Swim Drill, Crunches with Weight, Stability Ball Push-Ups, Tricep Rotations, and Oblique Rolls. There are also some good ideas on About.com, a great series on NetFit that includes pictures of the movements, and a few interesting ideas in this article. Keep the weights and resistance low at first – you want to be sure that you’re properly executing the movements before you add weight. Be sure to do a good 10 minutes of cardio prior to the weight training session as well.

These swim-specific strength training programs can also be used as an addition to your usual swimming routine.


2 responses to “Dry land exercises for swimming

  1. Great post! But I know this is random – but I’ve also found out that crossfit has really helped my swimming (when I cant’ get the to the pool or on my ‘off season). I feel so strong!

  2. Great information! Here in NE Fla, we experience the same things you did in SoFl – seems like rain every afternoon….which is the only time I can get to the pool. More often than not, it compromises my swims during the summer.

    I have also started using bands to simulate my pulls. That has helped quite a bit too.

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