Beachwood Bison Swim Club

Dryland/Lifting Program

Strength training and dryland conditioning will set our program apart from all others.

Please check out the  website and look into how our swimmers will be trained.  You may read more about the program on our facebook page!/pages/Faster-Swimming/44218826036 or just search "Faster Swimming"

There is a series of swim and dryland/lifting workouts on and (search USAswimcoach)

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

presented here.

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:


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,

within reason.

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

should be.

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.


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,

maybe pre-season.

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.

Weight Lifting

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.

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