Dryland- Building In-Water Power…Out of the Water

Dryland- Building In-Water Power…Out of the Water

Dryland… the thing all us swimmers have been running away from our whole lives. Sweat, gravity, people, disgusting. But, it does have its uses when it comes to getting the most out of your Swimming Machine. Or at least, we think it does. The trick is to use Dryland training in the correct way, focus on swimming motions all the time and DON’T GET HURT!

Let’s be very clear on what Dryland training is and it is not for when it comes to swimming. Dryland is for improving body awareness, muscle efficiency, power, speed and to prevent injury. Dryland is NOT for getting swole, hitting a new max bench or showing off your pipes. Just remember, Dryland is a supplement to swim training, it is not a replacement and it should not get in the way of what we do in the water, like making us sore or heavy.

 

How Dryland Helps You Swim Faster

Big, strong, muscly bodybuilders make really fast swimmers, so that’s why we need to do Dryland training. No… wait that’s not right. What I meant was we have to do Dryland because it helps our endurance. But that’s not right either. How can 20 reps of whatever exercise help your endurance in a race that takes 100s of stroke cycles? This is how Dryland really helps you swim faster:

  1. Body awareness and control (especially in younger swimmers)
  2. Slightly larger muscle size (especially in girls), which means more strength
  3. Overuse injury prevention for us endurance athletes
  4. Flexibility training to get better traction on the water
  5. Train more efficient, coordinated and powerful muscle contractions to get more power out of the same exact set of muscle fibers

Let’s talk about these in the order they are listed (which is the order of complexity). First off, body awareness. When you were a young age group swimmer, if you did Dryland, it was probably a lot of squats, lunges, pushups and abs with just regular body weight. You probably did lots of reps with little rest. Maybe something like this:

Monday

Wednesday

Friday

4x rounds

2-3 rounds

Wheelbarrow races

5 Squats

30s each

5 Long Jumps

4x rounds

sit-ups

4 Lunges

progress weekly to

crunches

4 Lunge jumps

50 total pushups

plank

leg raises

Planks

Planks

flutter kicks

plank

Russian twists

window wipers

plank

 

If you have been a good student so far, you will notice that these sets do not follow our rule of Specificity of training that we talked about in the first chapter of Part II. Few, if any of these Dryland motions listed mimic or resemble a motion performed in the water, which means they are not specific to the actual motion of swimming. Instead, these Dryland exercises are more “contract, relax” exercises that are simple and straight forward. The goal here is to improve communication between the brain and the muscles and joints it controls. Here is a reminder of how that all works from our Motor Learning chapter.

Ok, so you just went right past that picture, understandable. The bottom line is that there is a signal going down from the brain to tell the muscles and joints where they need to be. At the same time, the muscles and joints send signals up to the brain telling it where they actually ended up after they obeyed directions from above. These signals are compared and adjusted so that what was “supposed” to happen matches what “did” happen. The nerves that transmit these signals are not fully developed until early adulthood. So, the difference between the message sent and the action that occurred is quite big. Dryland training can help improve this communication and is essential to improving swim learning in the water.

Tangent: The sensation of where your muscles and joints are in space is called proprioception. That’s how you can move your body correctly while your eyes are closed.

Next topic, muscle size. If you take exactly one pound of muscle from a girl and compared its function to exactly one pound of muscle from a guy, you find exactly no difference between them.

They would have the same strength, contraction speed, and ability (assuming they had the same number of fast and slow twitch fibers). That is because muscle is muscle no matter where it comes from. The only reason dudes are stronger at baseline than dudets is because they have more muscle. So, it makes sense that if girls increase their muscle size to match that of guys, they will have similar strength and speed gains. Of course, there is an optimum amount of muscle to have. Too much and it will weigh you down in the water and the extra strength will overcome your ability to apply it to the water. Kind of like trying to race a drag-racing car on bicycle tires… too much horsepower for the grip.

The reason girls might benefit more from increasing their muscle mass is because they probably start farther away from the optimum amount to have for a Swimming Machine. Obviously, this “optimum amount” changes based on the person and the event they specialize in. This is just an overview of how Dryland MIGHT help, but not necessarily that it will help.

The way muscles grow in size has been discussed to death in earlier chapters, so here are the reminder pictures. In short, damage by eccentric motions or lactic acid overload stimulate muscles cells to grow larger.

Tangent: Phosphatydileserine is a common structure in cell membranes that creates structure. Supplementation helped weightlifters with their soreness. Nice.

Number 3, overuse injury prevention. We will go into more detail on swimming Injuries in Part III of the BOS, but for now we should know that repetitive motions can cause damage and inflammation even if the motion is light. Think about carpal tunnel syndrome. Repetitive typing motions (like me typing out these chapters) can cause damage, inflammation and swelling in a tunnel structure in my wrists. This squeezes all the structures inside them, including a big fat nerve called the Median nerve (named because it’s in the middle).

The same thing happens to swimmers in their shoulders, knees and lower back. Strengthening the muscles around these joints can help stabilize them during these repetitive motions and prevent bones and muscle tendons from doing things they are not supposed to. The eccentric motion of weightlifting also seems to have a big benefit on tendinitis (inflammation of the tendon) and is being studied and used in physical therapy to help runners with their Achilles (ankle) and patellar (knee) tendinitis.

Have you ever seen a Cross-fitter try to swim? If you can imagine someone drowning you are pretty close to the mark. These are supposed to be the “fittest people on the plant,” so why do they have so much trouble in the water? If you watch closely, it is because they lack even basic flexibility. Streamlines are out of the question, which means they can’t cut through the water during their stroke. It also means they can’t place their limbs in the correct position to leverage their power in the water.

Shoulder and ankle flexibility are probably the most important for most swimmers. BUT, there are different types of flexibility and ways to train it. On top of that, not all flexibility is desired since the more flexible a joint is, the more unstable it is and susceptible to injury. We will talk more about all this later in the chapter.

This last topic is probably the most complicated and the most powerful way Dryland training can help us swim faster. Let’s start with some observations. Sprinting takes a lot of power, and research shows that maximum arm power in movement specific way (straight-arm pull rather than bench press) is closely related to sprinting ability.

This is so closely related that fluctuations in this kind of Dryland power throughout the season also correlate to fluctuations in that swimmer’s sprinting ability throughout the season.

So, what’s so special about that? Stronger muscles mean faster swimming… duh! Well, what is interesting is not what is happening, but how it is happening. Most swimmers do not pack on a lot of extra muscle from the beginning of the season to it’s end, even with heavy Dryland training. But at the same time, they will get stronger, jump higher and improve their swimming speed. So, if the muscles aren’t really growing, and we are training a lot of endurance yards in the pool (which suppresses muscle growth and maximal strength gains), then how are these muscles improving their power in Dryland? It’s all in the nerves!

We talked about this in the Sprint training chapter, but the weight room is really where we see these kinds of changes. Next time you start a new season in the weight room, notice closely how your Swimming Machine adapts. You will notice that in the first few weeks your body is already improving and making big gains in strength and power. This happens because weightlifting forces the individual Motor Units to fire all at once from the beginning of the lift instead of one at a time.

At the same time, antagonist muscle groups (like biceps and triceps) coordinate better to create a more stable joint and allow more power to be applied. These nervous system changes improve the efficiency of the muscles and increase the power generated from the same group of muscle fibers since they are all coordinated and contracting at the same time, contracting earlier than usual, and directing that power in a more meaningful way. These changes happen at the nervous system level, not the muscle level, which change fast and early in Dryland training since it is all software. Nothing so far has changed with the muscles themselves, only the way we use them.

At some point, all the nerves are trained up and the only other gains in strength we can make are through growing the muscles themselves. This takes time and is not necessarily beneficial to swimmers since the extra mass has to be moved during a race (think Newton’s Second Law). And this has been seen in the research as well. At the elite level of swimming, arm power and Dryland strength no longer correlate with performance. In fact, in the 1992 Olympics, the winner of the 100m freestyle was Matt Biondi. Upon study of his performance, it was determined that he had the lowest average power output of anyone in his heat. This goes back to our original Introduction to the Biology of Swimming: Power to Drag ratio is everything!

Great! Now that you know how your Swimming Machine adapts to Dryland training, we can start talking about the various Dryland training exercises and what they focus on.

 

Circuit, Strength, Power and Speed Training

From here on out we are going to focus our discussion on weight training as our Dryland (called resistance training in the science world). That means picking up really heavy things for a very small number of reps with a lot of rest in between. There are no specific definitions that run around, but I like to separate the various types of weight lifting into four categories: circuit, strength, power and speed training. Let’s start with Circuit training.

Circuit training is kind of what it sounds like. You set up a whole bunch of exercises and rotate through them one after another. These are usually done at a light weight, about 30-40% of your 1-rep max (guesstimated if you don’t actually max out), and performed for a set time instead of a set number of reps. Once time is up, switch stations and repeat until you have done a few rounds. Here is an example:

 

Monday

Wednesday

Friday

 Squats-Russian twists-Rows-Sit-ups-Med Ball Throws-Hanging leg raises-rest.

 Bench Press-Window Wipers-Dumbbell Jumps-V Ups-Straight arm pulldowns-Leg Raises-rest.

Pullups- Bicycles-pushups - crunches-Box jumps-alternating leg lifts-rest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, what’s this good for? You may notice that once again we are not being very specific in our motions. Instead, we are using general weightlifting motions like squats and bench press in our circuit. That’s because the goal of circuit training is just to build a base, learn the foundations of the exercises and prevent future injury by preparing the body for heavier and faster exercises. Circuit training is also the only type of Dryland that will increase your VO2max. Most likely, that is because we are using so many major muscle groups in relatively the same time (kind of like swimming). This forces the heart to send blood to all parts of the body at the same time, stressing its capacity to do so, and therefore signaling the heart to adapt by growing in size. Here is the reminder pic from our Cardio chapter.

Circuit training is great for young swimmers and early in the season when you have to get back into shape quickly and do some lifting without overdoing it. The relatively light weight will keep technique good and won’t hurt you even if it was bad. And although we said earlier that weightlifting involves long rest and circuit training does not, if you look closely at the circuit we described there is a lot of rest in between the use of different muscle groups. So, for instance, legs only get hit once per round and a round might take five minutes or so. That way, we can work on all the muscles without overdoing any single group.

Once we have our fitness level up and know we can do things right and without injury, we can start doing our strength, power, speed cycles. These three modalities feed into each other and should be done in that order. Here, exercises should be separated out and done one at a time (squats alone, pullups alone…). We like to use four major swimming motions in Dryland: Jumping, Pushing, Pulling, and Abs trained for stability.

Strength is defined as the maximum weight that can be lifted with just one rep (a 1-rep max if you will). That 1-rep max does not have to move quickly, in fact, it doesn’t have to move at all. Strength training by far recruits the most Motor Units since it requires just about every cell in that muscle to get the weight moving. By the research, trying to push or pull against an immovable object (like a house) will recruit even more Motor Units than a weight that is moving (like a 200lb squat).

But, pushing on a house won’t train the entire range of motion of that joint, so we will stick normal lifting exercises. Plus, pushing an immovable object has no sense of accomplishment… aka not fun. Here are some of our favorite strength training exercises.

Strength

Jump Exercises

Ideal: Barbell squats. Other options: Dumbbell squats, front squats, leg press, single leg squats. Add bands, chains, or seated lifts to improve exercise.

Pull Exercises

Ideal: Pullups. Others: Straight arm pulldowns, lat machine, Rows (dumbbell or barbell)

Push Exercises

Ideal: Barbell Bench. Other options: Dumbbell bench, weighted pushups, incline/overhead press

 

This type of training can be dangerous for the in-experienced swimmer. But there are a couple ways to minimize the risk. First of all, realize that you are not really trying to get a 1-rep max. What you really want is to struggle a bit with your 1-rep, and then STOP. We are not training to be Olympic powerlifters here, we are just trying to supplement our swimming, so never ever lift until failure. Also, don’t worry about doing it “right.” For instance, just go as low as you are comfortable on squats. Don’t worry about getting to 90° or doing deep squats or other weightlifting nonsense. Focus on you, not the lift. If all else fails, just use a machine! By the science they aren’t as good as the free weights at transferring the gains from the weight room to the pool, but getting injured is not going to transfer either…

Tangent: If you want to add a layer of fancy, include resistance bands or chains to the exercises in order to increase the weight as the muscle completes contraction (where it is strongest). This will further develop the nervous system to "accelerate" the weight as it is lifted.

While strength training does the best to develop recruitment of Motor Units, it does not train that recruitment to be quick. What I mean is, if your 1-rep max squat takes about 3 seconds to perform, then your leg muscles are probably recruiting Motor Units over the entire 3 seconds. On top of that, your Motor Units start to turn off at the end of the squat because your body doesn’t want to leave the floor with hundreds of pounds on its back. That means you are training a motor pattern that is programmed to stop pushing at the end of a jump. Imagine trying to spend 3 seconds jumping and then shutting everything off right before your leave the block… not going to be good. The next stage in Dryland training is to get all that recruitment to happen as early as possible and accelerate the contraction of the muscle as it pushes through its range of motion, which is done with Power weight lifting.

Power is defined by moving weight at maximum speed. Other names for this training are Speed Loading and Ballistics. This has been proven to be very effective for speed-based athletics (like us!). Instead of moving a very heavy weight slowly (like strength training), you try to move less weight (about 50-60% of 1-rep max) as fast as possible. Ideally, you would keep accelerating that weight until you had nothing left to push against, like dumbbell jumping. Here is another list of our favorite exercises for power training swimmers:

Power

Jump Exercises

Ideal: Dumbbell Jumps. Other options: Squats, leg press throws, single leg jumps. Add bands, chains, or seated lifts to improve exercise.

Pull Exercises

Ideal: Straight arm pulldowns. Others: pullups, lat machine, Rows

Push Exercises

Ideal: Weighted lift-off pushups. Other options: Dumbbell/barbell bench, incline bench

 

In order to perform these exercises well, the body is forced to recruit many Motor Units as early as possible in the exercise. That means the average power produced while performing said exercise increases, meaning you can accelerate more weight faster. If we graphed it out, we would be looking for increasing our “area under the curve.”

I think this type of training is the most important for swimmers because unlike other athletes (runners), we not only have to move our own body weight, but we have to move the weight of the water as well. Even jumping off the wall in a flip-turn requires you to move both your body and the water stuck to it. These exercises mimic our racing environment the most and should be a big part of any Dryland program (even if that means cutting out the strength and circuit training).

Last step... SPEED! It’s what we have been working so hard for, so let’s get on it. At this point, we want to put all the weights away and just try to move our body weight as fast as possible (for most exercises). The idea is to further speed up recruitment and train the muscles to reach full power as soon as possible.

Traditionally, this has been done with plyometrics, which is where you fall from a box and then immediately jump as high as you can. Plyos takes advantage of the “stretch reflex” to produce more force than possible with a stand-alone jump. This has a few drawbacks when it comes to swimming. First, eccentric motions (like landing from a box) create more muscle damage and soreness then concentric ones (bad for swimming workout later), and it doesn’t mimic jumping off the blocks or walls where we won't have a sudden eccentric motion (unlike basketball for instance). On top of all that, there aren’t good plyo exercises for pushing and pulling with the arms. So, we narrow our speed training to concentric only motions with very light/body weight exercises that follow through. Here are the favorites:

 

Speed

Jump Exercises

Ideal: Box jumps. Others: Long jump, single/two leg jump rope.

Pull Exercises

Ideal: Med ball slams (one or two arm).

Push Exercises

Ideal: Med ball throws. Others: clap pushups


It is really important for swimmers to focus on concentric only exercises, and this can be done throughout the entire Dryland cycle. Seated squats, Up-only pullups, and having spotters help with the “down” motions of all lifts are simple ways to avoid the soreness created by eccentric motions. And like always, what you train is what improves, and research shows that training concentric motions improves concentric ability more than other types of training.

Tangent: Elastic strength is based on the connective tissue that supports the muscle and can “store” energy as the muscle is stretched suddenly. This energy can then be used to assist the contraction of the muscle, producing a lot of force. This can only occur during eccentric exercises which swimmers don’t do, so we have no use for training this.

Putting all these types of Dryland training into a cohesive season plan is called Periodization. We want every part of our Dryland to feed into the next step. After we go through a cycle, we start from the beginning and try to achieve more on the second round. Here is what a sample Dryland periodized season could look like.

It’s complicated, and these are just examples of exercises, sets and reps you can do. We think about 1-2 weeks of each type of Dryland (circuit, strength, power, speed) is enough to gain the benefit and see an improvement, but short enough to keep from getting boring. Just remember that different aged swimmers, different abilities, different backgrounds and different goals will require a lot of adjustment. Luckily, Dryland is a supplement to our training, not the main event. So even if it is sub-par, it’s probably ok. Except this next part… that seems to be important and can definitely be improved better on land.

Tangent: Periodization first made popular by Soviet weightlifting athletes. Thanks Mother Russia.

 

Flexibility: Increasing Power and Decreasing Drag

Really? We have to talk about this? Stretching is easy and straightforward, but it is probably the most neglected aspect of your training. For new swimmers, gains in flexibility can potentially be much more beneficial than swim training. And for experienced swimmers, flexibility might mean the difference between winning gold or just being a memory. So, let’s talk, and maybe in a few minutes you will be convinced that training Flexibility training (yes, training) should be part of your weekly routine

First off, what is Flexibility? Flexibility is a term to describe the range of motion (ROM) of a joint, or how many degrees that joint can pass through from full relaxation to full contraction of the muscles crossing that joint.

Of course, that’s too simple for us. There are actually two types of flexibility: static and dynamic. Static flexibility is the maximum ROM of that joint, or what we would normally think of as flexibility. But dynamic flexibility describes how much effort it takes to attain that range of motion. This is potentially much more important to a swimmer than simple maximum ROM. Think of dynamic flexibility as “stiffness.”

Tangent: Dynamic and static flexibility are not the same as dynamic and static stretching. Stretching exercises are what you do to attain flexibility.

Here is what dynamic flexibility looks like in real life. If we compare two swimmers and their ankle flexibility they can each have the same static flexibility with a total ROM of about 20°.

But, swimmer one only needs about 5lbs of force to get to his maximum 20°, while swimmer two needs about 20lbs to reach that same ROM.

When they dive into the water and start dolphin kicking, swimmer one is able to use almost all his ankle’s ROM because as he kicks the water is putting about 10lbs of pressure on his foot. However, swimmer two needs a lot more force than the water can provide, so his ankle only works in about 10° of its range. There is a lot of water he is not catching and kicking because his ankle is less dynamically flexible than swimmer one.

We have all seen this in underwater footage of Olympic swimmers. Their bodies seem to be made out of rubber and can bend and move with much greater ease than other athletes, that’s dynamic flexibility!

Tangent: Joints are designed to be mobile, that’s how they bend. But joints also have to be stable, which means they can’t let surrounding muscles, tendons and bones just flop around in there. The stiffer a joint is, the more stable it is. The more flexible, the less stable. This instability can cause problems (especially in the shoulders) and we will discuss in detail in the Injury chapter in Part III.

On the other side of that coin, most other sports require stiff joints and will prevent swimming flexibility from maxing out. Another reason to give them up once you decide to commit to swimming.

The shoulders are another important joint that needs to be very mobile for optimum swimming. Flexible shoulders allow swimmers to reach for the water at a better angle (especially in butterfly) and allows you to start your catch earlier, which means increasing the power of stroke, which means faster swimming! Flexible shoulders also make it easier to get in a good streamline and maintain that position while you are swimming your full stroke, which means less drag, which also means faster swimming!

Hopefully by now you are convinced that being flexible is a good thing for your Swimming Machine. The next question then is how is your body adapting to make you more flexible when you do stretch? Let’s start with taking a look at a muscle in its natural habitat.

Here we see a group of muscle fibers (individual muscle cells) grouped together and held together by connective tissue which acts as scaffolding and support for the muscles. This is the “fascia.” These muscles connect over a joint by their tendon. Between the muscle and skin is a layer of connective tissue, and the outer most layer is of course the skin. Flexibility is affected by muscle length, muscle spasticity (or how relaxed it is) and connective tissue structure between individual muscle fibers and between the entire muscle and the skin. Regular stretching and rolling alters these to make muscles more flexible.

For the muscle length, stretching forces the muscle fibers to be stretched out and held at their maximum length (duh...). If you over-stretch past the full length of the muscle cell, it will break! Broken muscle causes soreness and pain. It will also signal the muscle to get longer by adding sarcomeres into it’s internal structure. Remember sarcomeres from Chapter 1? They are the base unit of how the muscle works and adding sarcomeres in series (that means connected end to end) will both lengthen out the muscle and improve its shortening speed. A great thing when you are trying to swim fast.

As you might have guessed already, if a muscle is longer it will be easier to stretch out since there is more “slack” on the line. This is where we get our improvement in dynamic flexibility.

Muscles naturally have a “tone” to them. That means they are never truly “off” and are always just a little contracted even when relaxing. This helps keep your limbs from flopping around and it protects joints from abnormal movements and from sudden changes in body position. When we work out (especially Dryland), this muscle tone increases to help protect the body against further injury. This spasticity will decrease flexibility since the muscle cells themselves are now fighting against the full ROM of a joint.

Stretching, especially after Dryland, can help fix this problem and keep muscles loose. The way this works is that inside muscle tendons is a stretch sensor called a Golgi tendon organ. This specialized cell’s job is to sense and report how stretched out the muscle is. The Golgi is carefully calibrated to maintain the muscle at a certain stretch and will reflexively contract the muscle if the stretch is suddenly changed (like when the doctor hammers on your knee). During Dryland, the Golgi becomes hypersensitive and increases the tone of the muscles cells to keep them from suddenly moving. Stretching forces the Golgi tendon organ to recalibrate itself and let go of its insane drive to keep the muscle spasming out. This changes the tone of the muscle, loosening up its grip on itself and helps return normal ROM to the joint. Yay!

The Golgi tendon takes about 10 seconds of stretching to get it to relax, that’s why coach always makes you hold stretches for 20-30 seconds at a time. Just going through the motions and feeling a little stretch won’t do.

Connective tissue makes up about 30% of the mass of a muscle. That’s a lot to improve, and a shame to ignore. The theory behind stretching and rolling out is that it restructures connective tissue over time to enhance the ease with which muscles slide around as they move underneath the skin. Remodeling connective tissue can also help direct the forces of the muscle more accurately, helping lay down more power in the right direction.

It is funny to think of a bundle of ropes (connective tissue) as something that is alive. It is important to know that everything in the body is alive and is constantly being broken down and replaced by something new, even bone. It might take a few years, but this 30% of structure proteins can be shaped like Playdough to improve its function, and our swimming.

The last and most important question on our list today is: What’s the best way to stretch? I’m sure you have done the typical stretch and hold for 30s seconds at least two times for the billion muscles in your body… boring! Here are a couple ways to amp up your stretch routine.

First off, don’t do every muscle group every day. The goal should be to do every muscle group twice a week. Two days of upper body, two days of lower body. If you really don’t have the time or the discipline, stretch your ankles and roll out your shin muscles in the front of your legs. This is the most important joint to be flexible with.

Instead of doing the typical stretch and hold, try adding proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation… or PNF. Start your stretch like normal. After about 10 seconds, manually contract that muscle against resistance for a couple seconds and then stretch further and hold. Repeat two to three times. The way this would look in real life is if you were stretching your hamstrings (back of your leg muscles) by placing your heel on a chair, and then leaning over your leg. After the 10 second hold, press your heel hard into the chair for a few seconds and then relax and stretch it out further. PNF is a relaxation reflex that occurs during the process of contracting and relaxing. The Golgi organs in your muscle tendons are really toned down and you can get a much farther ROM stretch.

Be careful! PNF stretching will force your body to go above and beyond what it is capable of. Use it only if you need to jump start your flexibility training in season. If you are going to do it, be consistent. The damaged muscles will adapt and recover well, but if you are not consistent, you will just keep getting sore every time you do PNF stretching. During taper, ditch the PNF and avoid the damage completely

Ballistic stretching is where you bounce repeatedly and force the muscle to stretch out. The science says it’s more dangerous and should be avoided… but we swimmers do it all the time. They are called fins! When you first start using fins, they are sooooo painful and the top front of your ankle will feel like it is ripping apart (which it kind of is). This is a form of ballistic stretching. So, keep doing it and don’t complain so much when you have to do a set with fins and it hurts, it’s a good pain.

Lastly, rolling. The technical term is self-myofascial release. The connective tissue encasing muscle is called the fascia and is extremely tough stuff. The name self-myofascial release explains everything: self = you do it, myo = muscle, fascial = connective tissue, release = separate. That means rolling out separates and loosens the connective tissue and fascia surrounding muscles (at least… that’s what we think happens). This helps the muscle move more easily inside its tough case and do its job with less friction. Try to roll a couple times a week on top of the stretching. And like PNF, ditch the roller during taper. If you are sore from races, squishing muscles and damaging them further won’t help. Remember, we are training flexibility and once we get it, we don’t need to keep beating it to death during championship racing season. Taper your flexibility training just as you would taper your swim training.

That’s it! That’s everything you need to know about Dryland training and all other kinds of training for the Swimming Machine. Hopefully by now, you have a greater understanding of what is on the white board every practice and how it is going to help make you a better athlete. My advice is to keep comparing what you now know and what is going on in the pool. Try to put into words what you feel and link your training to what parts of the Swimming Machine it is adapting.

Before you know it, those 3x1000s don’t look so bad when you know they are part of Aerobic Endurance training that maximizes the oxygen consuming ability of mitochondria and will help improve the Lactate Threshold by reducing the amount of lactic acid created by generating more ATP from efficient aerobic engines helping you swim faster for longer with less pain… or something like that.

 

Karl Hamouche- Swim Smart founder
© 2018 Swim Smart, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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