Good Out of Water Exercises for Swimmers

Swimmers excel in the water, but being out of the pool should not leave them high and dry. Swimmers who engage in dry land training, which is simply conditioning and exercises done out of the water, get an edge over those who don’t, says Cristin Reichmuth, head coach and founder of Body and Mind Solutions.

What it Includes

Dry land training works best when it embraces a number of elements, according to TheACC.com. These are core and cardiovascular workouts along with strength and power training. Strength and power training both also work on flexibility. Cross-training on land, which supplements the swimmer’s regular pool routines, enhances the body's major muscle groups, all of which are needed for swimming. TheACC.com breaks the training down into a five-month plan.

Daily Core

Training the core muscles is vital, and core exercises are best when done daily, TheACC.com notes. A variety of crunches work the core, with some doubling as cardio exercise, Reichmuth says. Working with a medicine ball or physio ball is another ideal way to build and maintain core strength while working on flexibility and fluid movements.


Cardiovascular training for swimmers is the first phase of training and includes any number of exercises, depending on what you enjoy. The goal is to boost your endurance and enhance cardiovascular fitness. Jogging and running, either on flat surfaces or on hills, are always options. Others include rowing, roller skating, stair-climbing, jumping rope, or any kind of bicycling. The cardiovascular phase lasts six weeks.

Strength and Power

Strength and power are the third and fourth installments in a swimmer’s dry land workout routine, says TheACC.com, both of which also increase flexibility. Here the goal is not to build big muscles but rather to increase speed with bursts of strength. The power phase’s weightlifting works well with push presses, squats, lat pull downs, seated rowing, bench presses, and punches and kicks to a heavy punching bag. Reichmuth also recommends using very light weights to work your arms in the same fashion used for a number of different swimming strokes. Plyometrics, like a trampoline, which use quick bursts of power to build strength, work well in the power phase. The plyometric jump box works, as do the same exercises used during the strength phase, but with higher weights and lower reps. Strength training lasts for eight weeks, and power training for four weeks.


The main goal of the taper phase is to simply maintain the fitness level you’ve achieved over the past five months, TheACC.com explains. Accomplish this with at least three cardiovascular sessions each week, each lasting 30 minutes, and lifting light weights. The taper phase lasts two weeks.

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