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by Bo Hickey

March 17, 2020

Try these workouts if you're unable to swim

We’ve seen many of our beloved pools close their doors to combat the spread of COVID-19. I can assure you of one thing during this process: Being stagnant with your daily movement is not the best path forward.

To help keep you moving, I’ll be releasing dryland workouts on Mondays and Thursdays for a few weeks for you to complete at home. There will be a bodyweight option and a minimal-equipment option.

These dryland routines will help you maintain mobility and strength during this time of social distancing. They’ll also be an effective resource for the next time you go on the road for work or a family vacation and need some workouts.

You can complete each dryland training session up to twice a week. I recommend spacing out the sessions by 24 hours to allow your body to recover. By adding this dryland training to your day, you will be well-equipped to return to the pool when the time comes.

Note: Click on each exercise to take you to a video demonstration of the movement, complete with audio instruction. This page will be updated with a new workout on Mondays and Thursdays.

WORKOUT 1 (released March 17)

Warm-Up

Complete two rounds of the following exercises. Take minimal rest between exercises and rounds. This will help improve your range of motion for swimming and prepare you for the next phases of the training session.

Power Output

Complete three rounds of the following exercises. Take minimal rest between exercises and two minutes of rest between rounds. This phase is going to focus on your ability to create powerful starts and turns. You can utilize a chair, box, or step for these movements.

Strength-Building

For this next segment, pick one of the two options below. If you don’t have any equipment at home, complete the bodyweight circuit. If you do have bands and dumbbells, there is an option for that as well. You can also use household items (for example, filled water jugs) for weight.

With either circuit, complete four rounds of the following exercises. Take minimal rest between exercises and rounds. This phase is going to focus on total body strength, so you’re more equipped to maintain optimal body positioning in the water.

Postural Strength-Bodyweight

Postural Strength-Bands/Dumbbells

WORKOUT 2 (released March 19)

With this workout, we’re mixing in a focus on lactic acid buffering capacity. Think of this as your ability to manage fatigue late in a race. This workout will help you finish a race as strong as you started it.

Warm-Up

Complete two rounds of the following exercises. Rest minimally between exercises and rounds. You can also utilize this as a warm-up for your swimming when you get back to the pool.

Buffering Capacity

For this section, I want you to start a stopwatch. You have one minute to complete one set of one exercise. For example, if it takes you 40 seconds to complete the spectrum squats, you get 20 seconds of rest before starting the table rows. Complete this same format for both exercises for five rounds. This should take you 10 minutes to complete with a running clock.

Building Strength

This section has two options, completely bodyweight or with a resistance band. Pick one of the two options, and complete four rounds of each exercise. Rest minimally between exercises and two minutes between rounds.

Base Strength: Bodyweight

Remember, any training you can complete during this time will be super beneficial. Not only will it help you stay sharp physically and mentally, it will help you stay prepared for your triumphant return to the pool!

WORKOUT 3 (released March 23)

Today's workout will challenge your balance. When a movement challenges your balance, smaller stabilizing muscles light up and spring into action.

Warm-Up

Complete two rounds of the following exercises. Take minimal rest between exercises and between rounds.

Coordination

This section includes one slow movement and one faster movement to challenge your balance and coordination. The big key is that you maintain control regardless of pace. I compare this to swimming fast. If you are just thrashing around without controlling your movement, you will not move forward as efficiently as you can.

Complete four rounds of the following exercises. Take minimal rest between exercises and one minute of rest between rounds. 

Building Strength

With this section, you have a bodyweight option and then an option for if you have some dumbbells and bands. Complete four rounds of the following exercises. Take minimal rest between exercises and two minutes of rest between rounds.

Bodyweight

Bands/Dumbbells

Static Core

I like to finish some of my dryland training sessions with some basic planks or bridge holds. It provides a training effect and challenges mental toughness. Late in a race, it is easy to lose your swimming form. Use this end of session challenge to visualize holding form to the final wall. Complete two rounds of the following exercises. Take minimal rest between exercises and one minute of rest between rounds.

WORKOUT 4 (released March 26)

Today’s focus is on your ability to maintain your posture as your position changes. This is a valuable training focus, as swimming requires you to be able to work through multiple positions.

Warm-Up

Complete two rounds of the following exercises. Take minimal rest between exercises and rounds.

Tempo

For the squat jack, focus on getting in and out of the squat as quickly as possible. When you do this, be aware of your knees. Sometimes they like to buckle when stability is not maintained. The same thing can happen on your flip turn and minimize your push off of the wall. For the active bows, focus on your back. Try to keep your back straight during the leg drive.

Complete four rounds of the following exercises. Take minimal rest between exercises and a minute of rest between rounds.

Building Strength

For this section, you have a bodyweight option and then an option for if you have some dumbbells. Complete four rounds of the following exercises. Take minimal rest between exercises and a minute between rounds.

Bodyweight

Dumbbells

As we settle into a new week, I hope you are finding your footing with your new routine. Remember, structure is the key to freedom, regardless of the situation you are experiencing. Schedule out some time to complete these dryland movements to keep yourself prepared for a glorious return to the pool!

WORKOUT 5 (released March 30)

Warm-Up

Complete two rounds of the following exercises. Take minimal rest between exercises and between rounds.

Quickness

This exercise is all about getting off the ground quickly and efficiently. For the first round, keep track of how many repetitions you complete. Then try to match or beat your score for each round after that. The goal is to not slow down!

Complete six rounds of the following exercise. Rest 40 seconds between rounds.

Kick Strength

Next, let's get your legs primed for the next time you get to kick in the water. Focus on your knees throughout this series. Save the wobbly knees for the dance floor. For the split squat, you can complete the movement with your bodyweight or by holding a weight at chest level.

Complete four rounds of the following exercises. Take minimal rest between exercises and rounds.

Upper Body Strength

Today's final segment is geared toward your upper body and core. You have a bodyweight option and an option if you have access to an exercise band.

Complete four rounds of the following exercises. Take minimal rest between exercises and two minutes of rest between rounds.

Bodyweight

Exercise Band

WORKOUT 6 (released April 2)

Today's session is going to challenge your base athleticism. One thing to remember with your training is that becoming a better athlete will give you a greater foundation to become a better swimmer.

Warm-Up

Complete two rounds of the following exercises. Take minimal rest between exercises and rounds.

Athleticism

Part of being an athlete is interacting with the world around you in a controlled manner. It means you can absorb and deliver efficient force to achieve your desired outcome. Bring the focus as you complete this segment.

Complete five rounds of the following exercises. Take minimal rest between exercises and two minutes of rest between rounds.

Building Strength

For this segment, you have two options. One option is completely bodyweight and the other includes an exercise band. You can complete one or both options.

Complete four rounds of the following exercises. Take 30 seconds rest between exercises and rounds.

Bodyweight

Exercise Band

If you are in need of an extra challenge, I am kicking off a weekly fitness challenge. This challenge will not only allow you to compete against others, but it will also teach you about your strengths and areas for improvement.

WORKOUT 7 (released April 6)

Let's work on some balance today. Balance and coordination are critical variables to swimming success. As you complete any balance exercises, focus on your knees. Do they wobble all over the place? Try to avoid this and control the movement.

Warm-Up

Complete two rounds of the following exercises. Take minimal rest between exercises and rounds.

Balance & Coordination

Complete four rounds of the following exercises. Take minimal rest between exercises and two minutes of rest between rounds. Remember to focus on the stability of your joints as you complete these exercises.

Quickness

Complete five rounds of the following exercise. Rest 40 seconds after each round. Keep track of how many repetitions you complete during the first round. Then try to match or beat that score for each round after.

Building Strength

For this segment, you have two options. The first option is completely bodyweight and the second option utilizes an exercise band. You can complete one or both of these circuits based on the equipment you have available.

Complete four rounds of the following exercises. Take minimal rest between exercises and rounds.

Bodyweight

Exercise Band

WORKOUT 8 (released April 9)

Let's work on your walls and kick speed with today's session! Being able to complete your turn, create force, and get off the wall quickly are critical steps to making your walls an advantage versus a disadvantage. The good news is that you can practice this skill out of the water.

Warm-Up

Complete two rounds of the following exercises. Take minimal rest between exercises and rounds.

Core Stability

In this next segment, I want you to focus on two key areas: controlling hip rotation and also your low back positioning.

Complete four rounds of the following exercises. Take minimal rest between exercises and one minute of rest between rounds.

Walls & Kick

Now that you're warm and ready to go, this section is all about speed. Think about minimizing your contact time with the ground for both of these movements.

Complete five rounds of the following exercises. Take minimal rest between exercises and two minutes of rest between rounds.

Building Strength

This last section is an add-on that you can complete if you have access to exercise bands.

Complete three rounds of the following exercises. Take minimal rest between exercises and two minutes of rest between rounds.

WORKOUT 9 (released April 13)

Today, we're going to work on your start power. With any jumping activity, focus on landing with control. This means, aim to minimize any knee wobble and land in a squat position.

Warm-Up

Complete two rounds of the following exercises. Take minimal rest between exercises and rounds.

Core Positioning

Complete four rounds of the following exercises. Take minimal rest between exercises and one minute of rest between rounds.

Start Power

Complete three rounds of the following exercise. Take two minutes of rest between rounds.

Building Strength

This segment has two options. You can complete the bodyweight option or the option that includes dumbbells. You can also complete both options if time allows.

Complete four rounds of the following exercises. Take minimal rest between exercises and rounds.

Bodyweight

Dumbbell

WORKOUT 10 (released April 16)

Let's take a slightly different approach to today's dryland workout. This is a great option for when you need something a little more low impact or have movement limitations that restrict your ability to complete full compound movements. As the case with any dryland training session, take your time to learn the movement and always stay in control of your pace. This session uses a ball, band, and a dumbbell. If you do not have access to all three items, that is not a problem! Complete the exercises you can and modify with at-home items where you can.

Warm-Up

Today's warm-up is going to focus on breaking up any tense points you could be experiencing from fascia interacting with your muscles and movements. You'll need a tennis ball, lacrosse ball, golf ball, or some hard round object you can get your hands on. If you have upped your running lately, these exercises are also good to help work out any kinks you are experiencing because of that.

Complete three rounds of the following exercises. Take minimal rest between exercises and rounds.

Pull & Drive

The next section is going to focus on your shoulder stability and your ankle mobility. I like to look at this as the ends of your stroke. Ankle mobility is critical to kick propulsion. Your shoulders need to be stable to handle the repeated load that swimming brings.

Complete three rounds of the following exercises. Take 30 seconds of rest between exercises and rounds.

Postural Stability

Let's get your hips and core involved. Focus on avoiding any wobbly joints during these two movements. The first step in building stability is to be aware of these little wobbles that occur. Specifically, watch your knees and elbows during these two movements.

Complete three rounds of the following exercises. Take one minute of rest between exercises and rounds.

Building Strength

Finally, you can add this segment in if you have access to some light dumbbells, a water jug, or a can of soup. Take your time with these movements and only load to the point where you feel comfortable.

Complete three rounds of the following exercises. Take one minute of rest between exercises and rounds.

WORKOUT 11 (released April 20)

It is another day to get your body prepared for a glorious return to the pool. Today we are going to add some swimming specific intervals to the mix. If possible, work your way through this training session in the order listed. This way you're optimally prepared for the swim intervals at the end.

Warm-Up

Complete three rounds of the following exercises. Take minimal rest between exercises and rounds.

Leg Contrast

This segment builds from a slow movement to a faster movement. The common mistake is that athletes rush the slow movement. You need both the gas pedal and the brakes.

Complete four rounds of the following exercises. Take minimal rest between exercises and two minutes of rest between rounds.

Pulling Position

Now that your legs are awake, let's focus on your pull and your body positioning during your pull.

Complete four rounds of the following exercises. Take minimal rest between exercises and two minutes of rest between rounds.

Swimming Intervals

Finally, let's turn and burn! Now just because it is time to go fast, do not forget your form. Move with purpose.

Complete the following ladder as quickly as you can with good form.

  • Speed skiers x 20 seconds FAST [FR or FL]
  • Hamstring walks + Band x 3 each leg leading
  • Speed Skiers x 30 seconds FAST [FR or FL]
  • Hamstring Walks + Band x 3 each leg leading
  • Speed Skiers x 40 seconds FAST [FR or FL]
  • Hamstring Walks + Band x 3 each leg leading
  • Speed Skiers x 50 seconds FAST [FR or FL]
  • Hamstring Walks + Band x 3 each leg leading
  • Speed Skiers x 60 seconds FAST [FR or FL]

WORKOUT 12 (released April 23)

Let's work on some top-end speed today! Take your time with the warm-up and make sure you are feeling good as you head into the speed set. This way you can give your best effort and get the most out of today's training!

Warm-Up

Complete three rounds of the following exercises. Take minimal rest between exercises and rounds.

Top-End Speed

This is where it is your time to shine! Think about moving as fast as you can while maintaining control of your body. If you feel yourself losing control, slow it down. Speed without control is a wasted effort in and out of the water.

Complete eight rounds of the following exercise. Rest 45 seconds between rounds.

Conditioning

Let's keep your heart rate up with this next segment. Keep track of your time with a running clock. If you revisit this workout in the future, try to beat your previous time.

Complete five rounds of the following exercises. Take minimal rest between exercises and rounds. The first set includes four of the rapid-fire squats and 12 push-ups. Then increase the repetitions by two for the rapid-fire squat and decrease the repetitions by two for the push-up. Complete this format for each round.

Building Strength

For this segment, you will need access to an exercise band. You might be feeling fatigued from the speed and conditioning work, so take some extra time to focus on your form.

Complete three rounds of the following exercises. Take minimal rest between exercises and two minutes of rest between rounds.

WORKOUT 13 (released April 27)

Onward and upward! I applaud you for taking the time to keep your body going during this time. Exercise is an awesome physical and mental aid. Even if you only have time to complete a little portion of the workout, that is progress!

Warm-Up

Complete three rounds of the following exercises. Take minimal rest between exercises and rounds.

Power Development

For this segment, I want you to focus on minimizing your time in contact with the floor while maximizing your jump distance. Control your knees! Save any knee wobble for the dance floor, not for when you're landing from a jump.

Complete six rounds of the following exercise. Take two minutes of rest between rounds. Aim for your best effort during each round!

Building Strength

You have two options for this segment. Feel free to complete one or both options as your equipment availability allows. Remember, you can load movements with some household items too!

Complete four rounds of the following exercises. Take minimal rest between exercises and one minute of rest between rounds.

Exercise Band

Dumbbell

WORKOUT 14 (released April 30)

Today is going to have a distance specific component to it! For when we get to that segment, pick your track based on what event is your favorite or best.

Warm-Up

This warm-up will really work out your kinks today. Take your time with each movement and gradually increase your range of motion.

Complete three rounds of the following exercises. Take minimal rest between exercises and rounds.

Distance Specific

For this segment, complete the sprint format if your favorite event is 200 yards or less and the distance format if your favorite event is over 200 yards. The sprint group will complete five rounds of the movement with 20 seconds at a fast pace (think 9 or 10/10 effort) and 40 seconds of rest. The distance group will complete five rounds of the movement with 30 seconds at a moderate pace (think 8/10 effort) and then 40 seconds at and then 30 seconds at an endurance pace (think 4/10 effort). Take no additional rest between sets.

Body Position

Next, let's work on how well you can hold your body in a straight line as external forces show their might.

Complete four rounds of the following exercises. Rest 60 seconds between exercises and 60 seconds between rounds.

Building Strength

Finally, build your strength to help prevent injuries and aid in maintaining swimming form longer in practice and races. For this segment, you will need a dumbbell or a household item to use as weight.

Complete four rounds of the following exercises. Take 60 seconds of rest between exercises and 60 seconds of rest between rounds.

WORKOUT 15 (released May 4)

Let's get moving! Today, we will focus on your wall transitions. Focus on maintaining control of your knees when we get into the wall segment. One of the biggest mistakes I see during flip turns is a lack of knee stability. If your knees are wobbly when you push off of the wall, you lose out on valuable force. A stable knee is a helpful knee!  

Warm-Up

Complete three rounds of the following exercises. Take minimal rest between exercises and rounds.

Wall Power

Remember, focus on minimizing any side to side knee movement during these exercises.

Complete three rounds of the following exercises. Take minimal rest between exercises and two minutes of rest between rounds.

Body Positioning

For this next segment, your goal should be to hold your body in a straight line throughout the movement. Avoid any breakdowns in that straight line position!

Complete four rounds of the following exercises. Take minimal rest between exercises and rounds.

Building Strength

This last segment includes an exercise band. If you do not have access to an exercise band, complete each movement with just your bodyweight. Complete four rounds of the following exercises. Take minimal rest between exercises and rounds.

WORKOUT 16 (Release May 7)

Today's warm-up is a great tool to help you with knee stability. If you struggle with squats and lunges, try adding in this warm-up as a separate little session during your weekly training.

Warm-Up

Complete three rounds of the following exercises. Take minimal rest between exercises and rounds.

Quickness

This section targets your foot speed. Try to minimize your time in contact with the floor and keep your heels off the ground.

Complete six rounds of the following exercise. Take 40 seconds of rest between rounds.

Body Positioning

Let's move on to some ground-based exercises. The two movements in this segment will challenge you to control momentum to execute accurate movements. For the push-up variation, you can also complete it from your knees.

Complete four rounds of the following exercises. Take minimal rest between exercises and one minute of rest between rounds.

Leg Drive

Today's last segment is all about your legs. Let's get them ready to kick like a machine when your local pool reopens.

Complete four rounds of the following exercises. Take minimal rest between exercises and one minute of rest between rounds.

WORKOUT 17 (released May 11)

Today's session has a fair amount of movements that utilize an exercise band. If you do not have one, you can complete the movements with just your bodyweight.

Warm-Up

Complete three rounds of the following exercises. Take minimal rest between exercises and rounds.

Spectrum Legs

This section will start with a slower-paced movement and then build to a maximal effort. Focus on your form during the slower-paced phase so you can maximize the maximal effort!

Complete five rounds of the following exercises. Take no additional rest between exercises and rounds. Aim for continuous movement for all five rounds.

Posterior Strength

Let's work on your back and hamstrings with these two movements. Your balance and coordination will be challenged.

Complete four rounds of the following exercises. Take minimal rest between exercises and 60 seconds of rest between rounds.

Core Strength

The final segment today will give you a nice little core burn! Make sure you stay in control of your pace throughout the movements.

Complete four rounds of the following exercises. Take minimal rest between exercises and 60 seconds of rest between rounds.

WORKOUT 19 (released May 18)

Get ready to focus on top-end speed today! One thing to always remember when training speed is to focus on your form. Speed without form results in inefficient movement. Only go as fast as you can while maintaining form.

Warm-Up

Complete three rounds of the following exercises. Take minimal rest between exercises and rounds.

Building Strength

Now that you have worked out some kinks during the warm-up, let's move on to some strength and body positioning. Take your time with these movements and use it as a time to prepare your body for the upcoming speed work.

Complete four rounds of the following exercises. Take minimal rest between exercises and one minute of rest between rounds.

Speed Training

For this segment, you will need a timing device. Complete four sets of the following exercises. Each exercise will be completed for 20 seconds at your maximum intensity with proper form. Then you will rest 40 seconds before moving on to the next exercise. This section should take 12 minutes with a running clock.

WORKOUT 20 (released May 25)

Today's session focuses on powering up your kick and stabilizing your flip turns. Let's dive in! Take your time with the warm-up and make sure your body is prepared.

Warm-Up

Complete three rounds of the following exercises. Take minimal rest between exercises and rounds.

Kick Power

For this segment, you will need a thicker band and a stable source to anchor the band. You can use two poles, two trees, or any other attachment point that allows you to safely anchor the band. You can also sub in a stability ball for this movement. Move quickly, focusing on the down-kick into the band.

Complete five rounds of the following exercise. Rest 90 seconds between rounds.

Turn Stability

When you execute a turn in swimming, you are completing a change of direction that includes a high force environment. When you struggle to maintain knee stability, this can result in some unwelcome knee pain. This segment will help you with your ability to absorb force and become more efficient at the change of direction movements.

Complete four rounds of the following exercises. Take minimal rest between exercises and two minutes of rest between rounds.

Building Strength

Finally, let's finish out by focusing on strength. For this exercise, I want you to think about moving at a slow pace throughout the interval. Exaggerate your core tension, and keep your back pressed firmly to the wall.

Complete four rounds of the following exercise. Rest 60 seconds between rounds.

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Categories:

  • Technique and Training

Tags:

  • Drylands