Strength training and dryland conditioning will set our program apart from all others.
Please check out the www.fasterswimming.com website and look into how our swimmers will be trained. You may read more about the program on our facebook page http://www.facebook.com/pages/edit/?id=44218826036#!/pages/Faster-Swimming/44218826036 or just search "Faster Swimming"
There is a series of swim and dryland/lifting workouts on Viddler.com and Youtube.com (search USAswimcoach)
Here is one of our stretching routines:
Here is a short blurb from the Cross training book and the back chapters of the FasterSwimming book:
Cross-training in various sports is good for many athletes. It can increase
general fi tness, speed, strength, coordination, balance and body awareness.
These heightened abilities carry over to your swim training and performance.
Running is the most common form of cross-sport training and is discussed
in further detail in the deck-based dryland section. The most common
form of general cross training during a swim season should be weight lifting
accompanied by some form of deck-based dryland. The only time to really be
concerned about cross-sport training is when you are resting for a meet or in
the taper phase of your season. For example, during your swim taper training,
don’t start running or throwing as the conditioning phase of another sport.
Consider this, as it will impact your swimming performance greatly. Start your
other sports after your taper and important swim competitions. Add NO new
training stimulus during your taper workouts.
Strength and Conditioning
The emphasis of this chapter is on making the whole body stronger and
increasing functional work capacity to help you swim faster. Swimming faster is
the main goal, and can be accelerated by using weight training and deck-based
dryland. GPP (General Physical Preparation), energy system effi ciency, general
and core strength, force production, balance, mobility and fl exibility can all be
addressed and improved upon with the use of the lifting and dryland templates
Both the lifting and dryland programs focus on total body workouts. The
emphasis of each workout can be modifi ed in various ways to achieve the
desired result – improved strength and conditioning in order to swim faster.
Consider these programs as a way to train your body to function at a higher
level. This training emphasizes movements rather than body parts, allowing you
to gain improved body control and greater force production. There are no
body-part split programs here since we are not training individual body
parts, but training the total body with the sole intention of improving swim
performance. There are general divisions for lifting exercises (upper, lower, and
whole body) and general dryland exercise classifi cations (energy-system, power,
strength, and core), but that is as “split” as it gets.
Workout intensity is defi ned within each template (lifting and dryland) individually
and both templates are designed to fi t into a seasonal (i.e. 16-week and
7-week swim templates) plan. Another term for a seasonal plan is a macrocycle:
C R O S S T R A I N I N G
a macro (cycle) is your whole season. Each template is further broken down
into mesocycles. A meso (cycle) is a grouping of training into two to four week
blocks. The last week of each meso can be a back-off week (lifting) or a test
week (dryland). This allows for regeneration, recovery and a chance to adjust
program design for the next meso. Here again, each template is further broken
down into a microcycle. A micro (cycle) contains your individual workouts for a
given week. Suggestions for lifting and dryland templates to fi t into the 16-week
swim program are contained in each sub-chapter. More detailed workouts are
given in both for the 7-week taper program. These detailed workouts are not
written in stone, just suggestions of how things might work best.
Progression is the key to results with these (and most) programs. Gradually
increase the weights you lift and the length, density, or intensity of your dryland
efforts. Planned progression in lifting and dryland yields positive results in swim
The time you spend lifting and doing dryland should be nothing but productive.
Detailed time parameters are given for both types of work, and in general
workouts should have a goal of being completed in about one hour. That’s a
total of only four to fi ve hours per week to get the most out of your lifting and
dryland training. You could certainly see benefi ts with less frequent – yet still
consistent – efforts; two to three hours of this type of training per week. Of
course, the greatest improvements will be seen by those sticking as close as
possible to the program design.
Both active stretching (moving your body through a full range of motion with
no pauses or “holds”- also called dynamic stretching) and passive stretching
(holding a stretch for a given period – also called static stretching) are included
in weight lifting and dryland cool-downs. Active stretching can also be used
prior to a workout, gradually moving to full range of movement while getting the
body warmed up and loose. Passive stretching is best saved for after a workout,
when the body is completely warm, the muscles are loose, and short periods
of holding a stretch can lead to muscle lengthening rather than muscle tearing.
Do not underestimate the need for both types of stretching, as full range of
movement is necessary for faster swimming.
This way of training, both the organization and the parameters, will be new to
many of you. Open your mind and experiment with the templates. Set up the
workouts with different exercises or parameters and fi nd what works best for
you. Plan your work with the templates and follow your plan! Of course, adjust
accordingly along the way – nothing, again, is written in stone. Things pop-
up and get in the way – your car breaks down, the sewer backs up, whatever
– simply adjust your workouts as best you can to maintain progress. Take into
account planned events, as well, such as important meets, holidays, vacations,
etc, so that you can effectively plan your training around them. A little extra
planning, especially with the lifting template, may be required after your fi rst
several meso’s/training blocks (or can be found “here”), but the benefi ts
are multiple. These being balanced workouts designed to increase athletic
performance, making your whole body stronger and more fi t, and that can be
easily modifi ed to match the needs of your day, week, or season. Plan your
workouts and their progression and swim faster!
1. Strength and Flexibility training should go hand in hand.
2. One of the best times to stretch is right after a strength workout such as
weightlifting, dryland routine or general warm-up for practice or meet. This
enhances muscular development and can actually decrease post exercise
soreness. When you stretch actively after your initial warm-up you increase
blood fl ow and elevate your core body temperature to enhance performance.
3. There are internal and external infl uences to your fl exibility. You can control
many of these factors.
a. The temperature of the place where one is training. The warmer the better,
b. Your core body heat is at its’ peak +/- 4pm, that is when your tougher
workouts should be scheduled.
c. Be aware of injuries and recovery. The healthier you are the more fl exible you
d. Perfect practice makes perfect, so stretch!
e. Don’t wear clothing that prohibits full range of motion while stretching.
f. Proper nutrition and hydration help relax the body and increase fl exibility.
g. Keep the body warm during competition.
h. One’s commitment to achieving fl exibility. (i.e. 10-15 minutes per day)
4. Stretching is not warming up, as listed above you should do a general warmup
before stretching then your workout. The purpose of the general warm-up
is to increase your core body temperature and get your blood fl owing.
Increased blood fl ow in muscles improves muscle performance and fl exibility
and reduces the likelihood of injury.
5. Proper breathing is important. Taking slow and relaxed breaths while
stretching, trying to exhale as the muscle is stretching helps blood fl ow and
fl ushes the musculature of by-products from previous exercise.
6. Massage is another way to help fl exibility. A massage helps increase blood
fl ow, relaxes the muscles massaged and can help remove metabolic waste.
WEIGHT LIFTING GUIDELINES FOR SWIMMERS
1. When the core of your training is aerobic you don’t need to lift aerobically.
Lift for speed and strength.
2. Flexibility work is key especially after lifting. Stretching after lifting increases
blood fl ow which aids in recovery. You must maintain your fl exibility for
swimming and retain full range of motion.
3. Large, compound, multi-joint exercises (i.e. the deadlift) should go fi rst in a
weight training program designed to improve athletic performance
4. Lift for improved performance, not to induce soreness. Unnecessary
soreness will not only hinder general recovery but reduce power and speed
in the water.
5. Maintain bar speed throughout your lifting.
Example of how to work through a set (chest exercise):
Let’s say your begin doing fl at bench warm-up with 135 lbs. Begin with 2-3
sets warm-up with this weight doing +/- 8 reps, now lets begin. As you
increase your weight you must maintain the speed of each lift, for example if
you increase your weight to 155lbs and did 5 reps total and 4 of them
maintained speed and you struggled with the 5th rep you should have
stopped at 4 reps. Now increase the weight and try for 2-3 reps maintaining
your speed. Remember that we are training you for power and speed,
working your fast twitch muscles. If you are more of a distance swimmer this
will only help your training.
6. Lifting is for total body strength, improved nervous system function and
increased power and speed. Lifting must compliment your swim training and
will improve your swimming performance.
7. Do not lift to muscular failure. It is old school to lift aerobically if you train 2-
6 hours a day aerobically in the pool. You eventually reach an aerobic
threshold and then the rest of your training is useless. An example of aerobic
lifting would be 3-5 sets with 10-15 reps or circuit training where you spend
30 seconds or more at stations, sound familiar? That type of training has a
purpose but not when you are getting your aerobic training from swimming,
8. Distance swimmers will gain speed and power from lifting. If you are training
for the 1,500m (1650yds) your aerobic training is in the pool. Lifting as
prescribed here is a great form of cross training that will not only help your
power and speed but help in recovery from all your slow twitch swim work.
9. You must remember the key ingredient to this whole program is based
on training for the exact event. Lifting for speed and strength should be the
basis of any lifting program. There is a local team that over-trains swimmers
and forces bad weight lifting mechanics upon its swimmers. I was asking
them about their weight lifting program and they told me that they push
multiple reps to ultimate failure. Does any coach even old school do that?
NO! They give hard sets but you are always able to fi nish to the wall and
complete the set. Do you ever pass out or sink to the bottom? Then why
would you train that way in the weight room? The problem is that most
coaches don’t understand how weight lifting, body strength, speed and
power work to help swimmers.
10.Weight lifting is one dryland component of swim training. Deck-based
dryland, active stretching, yoga or any exercise regime that increases wholebody
strength can be included in your complete training program.
11. Each person has a certain muscle make-up that helps pre-determine
success for particular events and if a coach doesn’t try to recognize
individual differences then true success or full potential will
never be known. In short there are fast twitch and slow twitch muscles
in everyone and each person has a different percentage. The hard
part of coaching is trying to recognize the tendencies. Long distance
training will reinforce the slow twitch muscles and slow down the fast twitch
fi bers of that swimmer. Weight training correctly will help maintain the fast
twitch fi bers throughout this type of program. Remember there is no need to
lift aerobically as you are getting all you need and more in practice. There is
an aerobic threshold for each swimmer and program that each coach needs
to recognize for each training group. What that yardage number is has to
be determined and hasn’t been studied enough. Once this yardage fi gure is
reached the remainder of practice aerobically is useless. I would place
the fi gure to be around 7,500 +/- yards per workout. Once a swimmer
is in aerobic shape. This can be determined by max heart rate sets
based on time after sets are completed for full recovery. The faster
the recovery to resting heart rate the better shape the swimmer is
in aerobically. The heart rate set must be completed using a set
that is a slow build in speed that utilizes slow twitch fi bers as they recover
faster due to their size and energy demands on the body.
12. Coaches must remember the key ingredient to this whole program is based
on training swimmers for the exact event. Most coaches still believe that
training swimmers for the mile will prepare you for the 500. I believe that
training swimmers for the mile will prepare them for the mile and hurt the
speed needed for the 500. I said speed for the 500 and speed and power
are part of each event. Training for the 50, 100 and 200’s take more speed
and power and are important components of training after a swimmer is in
shape aerobically. Please remember that while you are in the aerobic phase
of training, speed work must always be a part of the workout and the basis
for your lifting program.
13. I have had a handful of swimmers that came from programs that over-trained
and were in excellent aerobic shape but had no speed and power or ever
trained for specifi c events. It took about 6-8 months to get these swimmers
to train with speed and power (quality for each event). This can be
accomplished through weight lifting.
14. Kicking drives speed and power in the water and comes in-part from
dryland. This needs to be a larger part of practice. Add slow controlled
kicking while using correct body position without kickboards as an alternate
way to kick in practice.
The main strength development component of training is lifting weights. There
are several reasons to lift weights with regard to swim performance. Increased
force production heads the lists, leading to increased force production in the
water. Whole-body strength and injury prevention follow close behind, allowing
for increased swim training tolerance. Lifting heavy weights that allow for
moderately fast bar speed* increase your nervous system function, as well; all
factors adding up to improved performance in the water.
*bar speed refers to the speed of the bar during the concentric or actual lifting
portion of an exercise.
An individual weight training session will include an active warm-up, work sets
of the day, and a cool-down including active and passive stretching. Each
workout will consist of a total body workout, including upper, lower, and whole
body exercises. All major exercises are compound, multi-joint movements.
Most weeks will consist of two lifting workouts. This sub-chapter will show
you how to set up an individual workout, the weekly (microcycle) set up, the
mesocycle set up, and how the whole season fi ts together. Let’s start at the
beginning: the individual workout.