5 Pieces of Dryland Equipment Swimmers Can Use to Train at Home

Michael Butler
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(Or Anywhere!)

Distance runners in the USA are fortunate as they have access to an abundance of excellent facilities in their neighborhood to train on year-round. Mountain bikers, swimmers, road cyclists and other athletes with outdoor disciplines have the opposite problem…a lack of terrain to train on.

Anyone training in athletics outdoors knows how limiting the weather can be in their outdoor training preparations for competition.

Short of hitting the roads & trails for a high-mileage road run in -25F, a swim when ice covers the swimming pool or a bike ride on a scorching 100F day, there are very few times most of us are able to train outside during the winter months.

Athletics club treadmills, indoor cycling classes and the gym equipment are not adequate, as all facets of an outdoor workout are not duplicated.

This leaves many of us searching for a way (or two!) to stay fit, allowing us to stay in shape for competition or keep good endurance conditioning year-round.

Though there are several ways to do this, I’d like to introduce you to five. They’re simple pieces of equipment that you can find at most sporting goods stores or online, and you can use them to mimic trail running (and some trail running drills), cycling on trails, and swimming.

NZ Manufacturing StretchCordzBest OverallNZ Manufacturing StretchCordz
DEGOL Skipping Rope Tangle-FreeBudget PickDEGOL Skipping Rope Tangle-Free
PowerLung Sport Maximum Resistance Breathing/Respiratory Trainer SportsUpgrade PickPowerLung Sport Maximum Resistance Breathing/Respiratory Trainer Sports

1. NZ Manufacturing StretchCordz

Our rating: 10 / 10

NZ Manufacturing StretchCordz

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  • High quality construction
  • Cheaper than buying a bunch of dumbbells
  • Portable

This Stretch Cordz set is a superb piece of exercise equipment to have at home for your swimming workouts. Many of us don’t have the space to fit a whole gym or don’t want the expense of paying for a gym membership. For this specific situation, this product is a must have for the home swimmer.

The Stretch Cordz has four different levels of resistance and comes with a detailed instruction sheet on how to use them all.

The rubberized handle means that the cord is comfortable in your hands when you are pulling on it.

2. SuperStroke StrechCordz

Our rating: 9 / 10

SuperStroke StrechCordz

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  • Great for cross-training
  • Perfect to take on vacation
  • Multi-use

StretchCordz are great for dryland swimming and cross-training. They take up a limited amount of space and weigh very little.

You should take them on vacation as you can do many dryland exercises. It has two training modes of stretch and strength.

The StrechCordz are great for crawl, backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly, freestyle, and other aquatic stroke workouts.

3. NZ Manufacturing StretchCordz w/Paddles

Our rating: 8 / 10

NZ Manufacturing StretchCordz w/Paddles

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  • Helps build strength for kick
  • Stretch cords help develop coordination
  • Includes paddles and resistance tubes
  • Can be used in water for water walking and aqua jogging

The StretchCords are 5-foot-long, rubber tubes that offer resistance for pumping arms and kicking legs. These stretch cords are 3 millimeter thick, twice as fat as a school ruler, and for resistance training, give you more bang for your buck.

The paddles with a total of 120 lb. of resistance are integrated with this product, making it easy to do your fitness routine in or out of the pool. These make a great addition to your dryland training kit and help you work every muscle group in your body.

The paddles help develop a stronger and more coordinated kick and the stretch cords help build strength in your upper body. The paddles are an especially excellent tool for building a stronger breaststroke kick.

4. TRX Training Slam Ball

Our rating: 8 / 10

TRX Training Slam Ball

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  • Interval Training Tool
  • Ball Size is adjustable to your needs
  • Rubber Slams on any surface, indoor or outdoor
  • Has a training guide on assembly


  • Ball moves around easily
  • The bottom can break

TRX Slam Balls are for use in any sport where you want to increase speed, power, and strength, as well as for endurance training. They are perfect for all the muscles in the body – the core, legs, shoulders, and chest.

These durable but lightweight balls have an easy-grip tread. You will be able to slam the ball on any surface with complete safety, because the ball’s bottom has internal rubber bumpers that soften the contact.

5. Iron Gym Total Upper Body Workout Bar

Our rating: 8 / 10

Iron Gym Total Upper Body Workout Bar

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  • No need to install anything and can be easily moved around
  • Fits on doorways between 6” and 8”
  • You can use it in your living room, bedroom, bathroom
  • No special hardware or equipment is needed to use it

Once you have the Iron Gym Total Upper Body Workout Bar set up, you can choose from a variety of different exercises.

Keep in mind that the grip width is set for a person of average arm length but people with longer arms may benefit from a wider grip. If you want an awesome upper body workout without the cost of a gym membership, then Iron Gym Upper Body Workout Bar is the way to go.

6. NZ Manufacturing StretchCordz Breaststroke Machine

Our rating: 8 / 10

NZ Manufacturing StretchCordz Breaststroke Machine

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  • Lightweight & folds for easy storage
  • Adjustable resistance levels
  • Ideal for water workouts
  • Cost effective

What Is the Stretch Cordz Breaststroke Machine?

Stretch Cordz is a resistance-based swim training product designed to be used in place of a pull buoy for swim training and warm-up before and after a lap swim. It can be used in a pool or on dry land.

Stretch Cordz are light and compact. It’s ideal for working on extending your stroke because unlike a pull buoy you can attach the cords to your hips so you don’t have to worry about getting them in the way of your hand technique.

7. DEGOL Skipping Rope Tangle-Free

Our rating: 7 / 10

DEGOL Skipping Rope Tangle-Free

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  • You will be able to complete your workouts at the comfort of your own home.
  • A thumb guard protects your hands while you perform the exercises.
  • Spins well, offering a smooth jump rope experience for its users.
  • The handle is covered with memory foam for a comfortable grip.
  • Rapid Speed comes with a general one year warranty on its various parts.
  • Handle and cable could use some improvement.
  • Has a disturbing “ squeaking ” sound.
  • Lasts just a few months before it gives way.
  • After frequent use, the bearings start falling out.
  • If you are looking for a skipping rope for your workout, DEGOL Skipping Rope is worth considering.

DEGOL has a super-wide and smooth surface cable to help ensure a tangle-free workout. The product’s ergonomic handle makes it comfortable to use and makes for a controlled speedy skip.

The rope is made of durable lightweight steel and is fitted with high-precision bearings, which deliver a faster and more stable skip.

8. PowerLung Sport Maximum Resistance Breathing/Respiratory Trainer Sports

Our rating: 5 / 10

PowerLung Sport Maximum Resistance Breathing/Respiratory Trainer Sports

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  • Can be used by both professional and beginner swimmers
  • Very durable
  • Easy to assemble


  • Its handy size can also be a downside for some
  • Can be difficult to track the progress of improvements in your exercise performance

The PowerLung allows you to work both you breathing and your muscles. The training resistance levels can be adjusted, meaning that this product can be used by swimmers of all skill levels.

The Power Lung can be used by swimmers of all skill levels and even by non swimmers, which makes it a very versatile piece of kit. This allows you to train your muscles, your breathing, your nervous system and your mind.

The PowerLung also comes with a one-year’s warranty as well as a helpful instruction DVD featuring assistance from 2008 Olympian Chris Faulkner. It is one of the most cost-effective training aids for swimmers currently on the market.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the best dryland workouts for swimmers?

To go along with the pre-designed strength training program for swimmers, you need some equipment to get the job done.

Having the right equipment will not only prevent injury, but it will also improve your workout times.

Equipment for strength training for swimmers will depend the on activity they are assigned to execute. However, you will typically need a swimmer, a bench, a weight machine, and a bench to execute all the exercises.

Always double check weight bars to see if they have the pounds marked or you could be in for a surprise.

You can always adjust to hit the number of repetitions you need, but it is always best to start with the right weight; then you can always add more weight as you are able.

What exercise can replace swimming?

Fortunately, there is dryland equipment that can simulate the water environment and allow you to stay active during the off season. WaterBells are one of the most popular pieces of dryland exercise equipment for swimmers. These are essentially water filled weights that weigh about 20 pounds when they are filled. This is an extremely affordable option for conditioning, and it has excellent impact absorption properties.

WaterRower is a great alternative to the WaterBell. It uses a similar technology, only it applies it to a piece of indoor rowing equipment instead of weights. The resistance is adjustable, and it also provides a great cardio workout in a controlled environment.

Strength training is a great supplement to your swimming workouts, and the best type of strength training equipment is a weight bench. One of these can easily be found at your local Wal-Mart for a very reasonable price. If you want a higher quality bench (that can hold more weight), then the options grow exponentially.

What equipment do you need to swim?

Whether you are just learning how to swim or are an experienced swimmer, there is a tool for improving your swimming in your not-so-local pool.

A pool is a great kid of place to practice swimming and to get better, but it does have its limitations. You have limited depth to practice in, especially as you learn more about how to swim. You can’t really swim against a current or in choppy waters. And, of course, you can’t practice in the early winter when it freezes. Even if the pool is heated, after a while the water can become too stagnant to practice in.

Fortunately, there are ways to make it easier to train when you can’t get to a pool. Here is a list of different pieces of swimming equipment that can be used instead when you want to try some dryland swimming.

How can I practice swimming on my land?

Many swimmers practice shapes such as the freestyle and backstroke without a swimming pool. You can do this in a lake, at the beach, or even in a good-sized bathtub. You can even create your own pool by filling any large, open area with a few inches of water. Pools are not required for successful swimming training, but they are certainly helpful.

If you cannot practice at a pool or donʼt have one available, try these simple training tips:

Practice at different angles. Try various angles in the pool for your strokes, and practice the strokes without a pool at those same angles on land.

Practice distance while moving through water. Walking (using a kickboard or harness) or running (with flippers) in the water can help you practice distance without the amount of resistance that a pool provides.


Dryland is an essential part of any swimmer’s practice routine, regardless of their level. Even the most elite level of swimmer must focus on dryland exercises. Many of these can be done easily at home.

Our Recommendation

NZ Manufacturing StretchCordzBest OverallNZ Manufacturing StretchCordz
DEGOL Skipping Rope Tangle-FreeBudget PickDEGOL Skipping Rope Tangle-Free
PowerLung Sport Maximum Resistance Breathing/Respiratory Trainer SportsUpgrade PickPowerLung Sport Maximum Resistance Breathing/Respiratory Trainer Sports