Dryland training, or strength training on land for swimmers, is important for aquatic athletes of all ages and abilities. Our bodies are lighter in water, so it is difficult to build the key muscle groups necessary for the sport in the pool. That’s where dryland exercises come in. Strength training helps athletes build the power, coordination, and flexibility needed to maintain proper swimming form across longer distances. While we are excited to get back in the pool, look at this time as an opportunity to get stronger in other areas. Our coaches share their favorite dryland exercises to help you stay in swimming shape at home.  


Superman Swimmers: This exercise strengthens your lower back and core muscles. 

  • Lie on your stomach with your arms out in front of you, arch your back, and use your core muscles to lift your chest and legs up off the ground. Remember to keep your arms and legs straight, fingers outstretched, and toes gently pointed. 
  • Relax and let your arms and legs come back down to the floor. Repeat. 
  • Complete three sets of 30 repetitions. Rest for 30 seconds in between each set.  

Advanced: Flutter your arms and legs for 30 seconds before returning to the starting position. For the second set, flutter them for 60 seconds. For the final set, flutter them for 90 seconds. Rest for 30 seconds between each set. 


Swimmer Planks: Mimic the freestyle stroke while holding a plank to build a strong, flexible core and improve coordination and balance. 

  • Start in a high plank position, keeping your arms in line with your shoulders and forming a straight line with your body.  
  • Raise your right arm and move it in a circle as if swimming a freestyle stroke, then return to your plank. Repeat the motion with your left arm. This completes one repetition.  
  • Complete three sets of 20 repetitions. Rest for 30 seconds in between each set. 

Advanced: Do a set with butterfly, backstroke, or breaststroke arm movements. 


Wall Sit: The wall sit is an effective, low-impact exercise that strengthens your legs and core, two of the most important muscle groups for swimmers.  

  • Find an empty space along a wall. With your back flat against the surface, slide down as if to sit in an invisible chair with your legs bent at a 90-degree angle. 
  • Hold this position for 30 seconds, then rest for 30 seconds. Complete three sets.  

Advanced: While in your wall sit, hold your arms over your head in a streamline position. Remember to keep your back and arms flat against the wall. 


Streamline Squats: Swimmers are fastest and most efficient after they push off the wall into streamline position. Streamline squats are a great way for athletes to practice this technique on land and build power.  

  • Start in a squat position with your feet shoulder-width apart and legs slightly bent. Bring your arms overhead into streamline position. Remember to keep your arms pressed against their ears with your hands stacked on top of each other, identical to the way you would hold streamline position in the water. 
  • Put your weight in your heels and bend your knees to perform a squat, keeping your chest and head upright with your fingertips pointed at the ceiling. 
  • Complete three sets of 10 repetitions. Rest for 30 seconds in between each set.  

Advanced: Do a jump squat while maintaining your streamline position. Complete three rounds of 10 repetitions with 30 seconds of rest between sets. 


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