Reply To: Dry-land Training

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You make a great point about the structural demands of our bodies. It’s interesting that humans are the only animal that can’t instinctively swim yet we have all dedicated ourselves to bettering it. It sounds like you have a background in strength and conditioning so I would love to hear more of your thoughts!

I agree that work on land can get the job done but do all or even most swimmers need it? If weight is the issue than any exercise that accomplishes that goal will help. Although it does seem that most coaches forget that swimming is a great exercise to lose weight. Also, you can’t out train a bad diet.

If ROM is a limiting factor that isn’t being developed by swimming, then we can potentially do some work on land to help that. But forcing kids who have ample ROM to do mobility work seems like a waste of their time.

Same goes for kids who are limited by their jumping ability. The athletes I have coached who have weak push offs are normally the ones with poor streamlines and underwater skills. It seems our time would be a lot more well spent working specifically on that. The extra push offs you do alone will overload their legs/hips and you will accomplish that goal. I coach a kid right now with a 42” vertical but is just an average swimmer. Why are we still spending any time working on his jumps? (That’s obviously a question directed at myself and my team).

E.L. Thorndike’s Theory of Identical Elements states that transfer of training lessens as the tasks grow apart. There are identical elements between a jump on land and a push off the wall but the posture is entirely different. I agree there can be some benefit but blanketly saying this will help everyone seems incorrect.

I can’t deny that land training can help with starts but is it really ideal? Could our time be better spent working on actual dive starts? It seems that doing 15-20 good starts 2-3x a week would build some serious leg strength. And those athletes would be able to work on their entry and breakout which all know to be just as important at the start itself.

“By training everyone the same we will destroy as much talent as we create”