Reply To: Dry-land Training
You’re correctly applying the principles of specificity and individuality as well as the law “I only have so much time”. As coaches, we want a complete set of tools to train various levels of competence and fix individual discrepancies. Your 42″ vert probably doesn’t need to spend more time on his triple extension; sounds like your staff identified that which is exactly what we should be doing as coaches.
Everything I’ve written on these forums I might apply to an individual in pieces *if they need work on that specific piece* and if it’s a higher priority item. I only work with adults now, 18-24yo, so the focus is equally spent on power and technique. They also have time on their own to do things in the gym/pool. Sounds like you deal with children and adolescents so your prioritizations will be different.
ROM becomes an issue after puberty when muscle builds faster. If I started bodybuilding at 14, by 18 I would probably have horrible ROM for throwing a baseball, running, swimming, eggbeater, etc. Everything except deep squats and bench presses. However, if I’ve been swimming since 10-12yo, with good technical ROM, then it won’t be an issue as I build *swimming* muscle into adulthood. It will probably stay with me for years… assuming I don’t get into bodybuilding.
I guess there are 2 things I’ve been consistent about in these forums:
1) Rushall is correct that weight training is irrelevant for improving swimming performance. However, in this area, he’s generalizing by grouping every exercise into the term “weight training”. I’m being specific. The hip hinge is a very underdeveloped movement in swimmers (and water polo players). Notice I’ve never said to do pushups, pull ups, deadlifts, lunges, and TWISTING MOTIONS!, etc like every other site (looking at you USMS and NSCA) because those *are* irrelevant. Laughs: https://www.nsca.com/uploadedFiles/NSCA/Resources/PDF/Education/Articles/Assoc_Publications_PDFs/land-based_strength_and_conditioning_%20for_swimming.pdf
2) You need overload to continue improvements and this can be broken down into multiple single biomechanical motions that combine into a complete skill [isolated biomechanical power specificity and complex biomechanical power specificity]. Costill says that to overload your complete swimming motion swim faster; this works for the complex biomechanical power skill of swimming because water increases resistance exponentially. However, 15-20 good starts will initially overload an athlete’s triple extension on land but after 40-60 starts every week for 8-12 weeks it has adapted (assuming the athlete isn’t gaining weight). The movement speed becomes comfortable so an overload must be applied somewhere to continue muscular development. I would *not* apply weight to a swimmer on the block. I would break the complex skill into isolated motions (in this case the hip hinge and countermovement squat) and apply some weight (5-10% bodyweight creates a minor overload that has been shown to limit the impact on technical proficiency of a complex skill). The block start is a 1 rep-max (in terms of maximum bodyweight power) exercise. After benching 135lbs 40-60 times a session for 8 weeks I’ll be really comfortable at 135lbs but my 1RM progression will have stopped. I need to add weight to keep progressing.
If John has an awesome start then looks like a parachute when he’s in the water he needs to work on his streamline. If Anna has been doing starts for 10 weeks but still looks like she just falls forward maybe developing power in isolation should be programmed for her.