Hyper-Focused Dryland Training Methods For Swimmers And Triathletes
Deliberate practice makes perfect. It’s more than a cliché. And it’s true for most endeavors, and especially for athletes like swimmers, triathletes, and surfers.
Focusing on specific training methods that target a particular weakness or area of concern for swimmers is crucial to prolonged success, according to Tim Crowley. He’s the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach at Montverde Academy and former USA Triathlon Elite Coach of the Year. In this week’s VasaBlog, we explore how hyper-focused dryland training can solve individual weaknesses for all swimmers and triathletes.
Dryland Training For Active Recovery
During the winter months, athletes in colder climates often spend several hours on indoor trainers per week. Coach Crowley likes to break up long rides or intervals with 5 minute efforts on the Vasa SwimErg. “Instead of spinning on the bike for 5 minutes, a quick Vasa set will help their swimming. Plus, it improves their swim-to-bike transitions and give their butt a break,” says Crowley.
Dryland Training For Strength Sessions
Incorporating swim-specific dryland training into strength sessions is another effective way to integrate swim sets. “We do strength work and then at the end of each paired upper body/lower body exercise, we do 20-30 seconds of hard effort Freestyle using the Vasa. It’s a session that blends general and specific strength and that lets athletes build the ability to sustain power output when in a fatigued state.”
Dryland Training For A Weak Swim Leg
For triathletes with a weak swim, Crowley uses swim-specific dryland training 2-4 days per week. Just 5 to 15 minutes per session helps his athletes get stronger, better, faster. “A small dosage done consistently over time is very effective,” says Crowley, “particularly when it’s focused on an athlete’s weaknesses. It also prevents ingraining inefficient stroke patterns.”
Swim Training For Injury-Prone Athletes
Crowley’s definition of swim-specific training includes strength and conditioning that is focused on building durability and proactively preventing injury. Athletes often take 5,000-8,000 strokes with each arm during a typical swim workout. According to Crowley, about 80%-85% of competitive swimmers already have or will eventually experience shoulder overuse injuries, often in the rotator cuff area.
“Staving off injury is as important to me as building strength and speed,” says Crowley. In the weight room, he trains his swimmers and triathletes to strengthen tendons & opposing muscles, and create muscle balance. His athletes often use the fleet of Vasa Swim Ergs and Vasa Trainers at his training facility to develop muscles which support or oppose the dominant muscles swimmers’ frequently overtrain.
“The Vasa SwimErg lets you generate very specific power,” says Crowley. “You can see and gather data. And 20-30 minutes on a Vasa is like an hour in the pool. We can do some very focused work in a short session.”
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