Dryland Training is Important for Any Swimmer & Here’s Why
Competitive swimming is vigorous – there is no doubt about that. Long grueling hours training in the pool, a strict 12,000 calorie diet, traveling to meets on the weekends and numerous personal sacrifices are the building blocks of Olympic swimming champions like Rowdy Gaines and Amanda Beard.
Any swimmer or coach will tell you that a “good” swimmer trains in the pool solely, however, a great swimmer will incorporate dryland training into their swim routine as well. Why? A swimmer at their best competitively is explosive and swift in the water. Dryland training does just that: improves the swimmer’s power, athleticism and overall speed in the pool.
In this issue of SwimMirror’s blog, let’s dive into five reasons for dryland training:
1. Build muscle and bone density
2. Core strength
3. Injury prevention
4. Correct biomechanics
5. Enhanced power
Build Muscle and Bone Density
Swimming alone does not build muscle, despite the repetitive movement through the water, it doesn’t trigger muscle development. The way to foster muscle strength is to engage muscle groups by applying stress, such as bodyweights or dumbbells. During strength training exercises, the muscle contracts to resist the downward force of the gravity. For this reason, the muscle experiences micro-tears, which is why people have soreness after weight training. Muscle builds up as the body repairs these micro-tears.
So, what are the benefits? The body increases both muscle and bone density – each contribute significantly to added power and faster times in the water.
In any sport, a strong core is essential for overall posture, agility, balance and potency. Swimming is no exception. Swimmers need a strong core to transfer force efficiently from one part of the body to another through hip rotation in freestyle to the underwater dolphin kick off the wall. Coaches and swimmers incorporate core exercises that target various muscles in complex movements.
So, what are the benefits of core strength? This enables the swimmer to accelerate faster in a turn, and carry more speed off a dive with a clean entry.
It goes without saying that sports injuries are debilitating to an athlete’s career and health. However, they happen, especially without proper training and preventive measures. According to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), shoulder injuries are the most common in elite swimmers with a prevalence between 40% and 91%. This is caused by the repetitive motions performed in a swimmer’s daily training. When the same muscles are used incessantly, they become overdeveloped and stressed. So, how can a swimmer remedy this? By integrating various dryland exercises that target underdeveloped areas and relieve the stressed muscle groups.
What are the benefits? Having stronger muscle groups prevents injuries by distributing force correctly, allowing for less stress on joints and tendons.
Posture, alignment and correct biomechanics are crucial for swimmers. It promotes the best form in the water and prevents injury. Swimmers should focus on core strengthening exercises as well as exercises that target large muscle groups.
How does it benefit a swimmer’s routine? Dryland training helps improve balance, alignment, posture and muscle coordination, which translates to all-around better technique in the pool.
The goal of dryland training is to encourage a stronger and more explosive swimmer in the water. As mentioned before, training in the water alone does not generate much muscle mass. It is important to first develop baseline strength and work up from there. Every swimmer is different, so they should create a strengthening plan that suits their goals and capabilities. Some recommended exercises to enhance explosiveness are: squat jumps, lateral pull-downs and push-ups.
Land exercises assist in developing explosive power and speed – the kind that wins championships and crushes PBs. For a swimmer, this force and agility applies to starts, turns, dives and finishes.
SwimMirror: For when you hit the water!
A well-rounded swim training routine includes both dryland and water exercises. As we have discussed, technique is central to a successful swimmer. A SwimMirror can help to refine your swim technique with real-time self-assessment. As you swim down the pool lane, you can see your movement and correct your technique. See more benefits of the SwimMirror and start training better today.
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