Does Dryland Improve Sprint Swimming Performance?

Michael Butler
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The Research: Dryland for Sprint Swimming Performance

There is only one style of swimming that differs from all the others; the freestyle. This style of racing is done without any kicking, in a straight line. As other swimmers are able to move through the water by means of their hands or legs, this kind of swimming has become known as powerful and relaxed. Dryland training for swimming can be done in a wide variety of ways.

Also, it is not necessary to fill the pool with water. In fact, aquatic dryland offers benefits that traditional dryland cannot. It’s possible to train in all three planes of exercise on dry land. Dryland training that includes a swim set has two main components; aerobic and anaerobic.

Dryland training also offers a way to have a better swim set. It’s best to do dryland on land and not in the water. It’s good to do it before you are going to go swimming and not immediately after. When it’s done right, it can make your swim sets much more effective and improve your workout. It will prepare you for the strenuous effort and reduce the time you spend in recovery so that you can have more workouts. Like all training, it takes consistency to be effective. It’s good for your body as well as for your mind.

Key Takeaways:

{1}. Slow and steady wins the race.
{2}. Researchers from Sweden researched the effects of dryland exercises on middle and long distance swimmers and sprinters.
{3}. The researchers concluded that dryland training can improve sprinting performance but not endurance performance.
{4}. The researchers recommend dryland training for up to 4 weeks.

The Takeaway

Dryland training like lifting weights and running improves both strength and mitochondria quality which can be translated to greater speed in the pool.

However, dryland directly contributes to your swimming performance. Swimming with extra muscle tissue can negatively impact balance and mobility.

If your dryland training takes you away from swimming, the overall impact on your speed may be less than zero.

Dryland and off-season training is important for building strength and endurance. But that doesn’t mean that you should ditch the pool for a regular gym membership. As a swimmer, dryland training should be viewed as a complement to your swimming.

The best way to utilize a swim dryland regimen to produce gains in strength, power, and speed is to use a strength trainer who’s an expert in swimming. The trainer should design your workouts based on your goals for the day, on what you have planned for the rest of the day after hitting the gym, and on the strengths and weaknesses you’ve identified in the water.

Strength training can reduce body fat and increase muscle mass, so being aware of its impact on mobility and stroke mechanics in the water will ensure that you stay injury-free and your dryland training does not cancel out the benefits you’re creating in the pool.