Sport Specific Weight Training Programs for Swimmers


Hi Educated Crowd!

I've got three, count'em, three sons on the HS swim team this year. (The funny part is I, THEIR MOTHER, can't swim a stroke other than "dog paddle".)

I'm wondering if there's a website that offers conditioning/weight training programs for competitive swimmers?

I've tried getting them to do Cathe with me, but they won't budge.:-rollen

Thanks in advance,

Hi, Amadeus! Say, I did a search on the Human Kinetics (, Speedo ( and Kiefer ( websites and came up with precisely nothing in terms of books or videos for cross-training for swimmers. I'm sure there are websites for competitive swimmers that will eventually yield the kind of information you're looking for; maybe a Google search would get you there.

I do know from my father (who announced FSU swim meets for decades and who sired two competitive swimmers - i.e. my now-couch-potato brothers) that swimmers do indeed have to do a lot of cross-training on land to increase their power in the water. I'd have to think that a good machine or free-weight program would be of first importance. I'd also have to think that the strength demands on the lats, shoulders and upper arms would be profound, so it would make sense to target those areas. Also, because most of the competitive strokes are face-up / face down (front crawl, backstroke, butterfly), the strength demands on the hip flexors (including the rectus femoris, which is also part of the quads) and extensors (gluteals; hamstrings)are also profound; thus targeted strengthening in these areas would be important. Also, especially for the butterfly, I would think your sons would need to pay attention to strengthening the core muscles, especially the erector spinae of the lower back.

ALSO, to make sure strength imbalances don't lead to compromised joint function, your sons should also pay attention to training the muscles NOT recruited in swimming. From what I remember about swimming, most of the competitive strokes (not including the breast stroke) occur in what's called the sagittal plane of motion, and the muscles recruited in the frontal and horizontal/ transverse planes of motion (pecs, middle delts, hip abductors {the hip adductors I think are kind of recruited in the breast stroke whip kick) are NOT recruited in swimming. Thus your sons would want to do some targeted strengthening there, as well as rotator cuff work, so that they don't remain overly weak in those areas.

Just a few thoughts from someone who flunked Dog Paddle. I do think a Google search would be your best bet; maybe there's a male Cathe Friedrich counterpart out there in video land that will do the exact same exercises Cathe does - but in a MANLY way!

Hope this helps! See ya tomorrow!

Annette Q. Aquajock
In an inappropriate response on this post, I'm going to ask you if you'd like to borrow my Mindy Mylrea interval tape (forgot the title) and/or my Christi Taylor hi/lo dvd. Needless to say, I don't use them much. But it's great to preview before you spend a buck. I'll bring them tomorrow if you want.

I would dearly love to preview them; I'm tired of buying great looking packages with empty innards on the exercise video score!


Also, maybe you also want to check with the U of M; I know they have a swim team, not to mention a swim training facility (The Natatorium) that is just to die for; maybe some of their coaching assistants / grad students would be willing to pick up a few extra bucks doing some training sessions. Just a thought -

The book "Getting Stronger" by Bill Pearl has sports specific programs, and swimming is one of them. He has in-season & out-of-season programs.

Just Do It! :)
Dryland training refers to strength building exercises that are performed out of the water on "dryland" (the deck). In most cases dryland training refers to basic calasthetic type exercises such as push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups, jumping jacks. These exercises that do not require special equipment or weights are called "body weight" exercises where each individual is moving his/her own weight. This type of exercise is considered safe for all levels of age group swimmers but is generally not necessary in swimmers younger than age 12.
Dryland also includes exercises that require equipment such as jump rope, medicine balls, swim benches, stretch cords, and weights.
Dryland training is used by some of the best swimming programs in the world for the following reasons:
Increased flexibility
Muscular strength training
Improved coordination
Aerobic conditioning
Injury prevention & rehabilitation
Weight training is a more advanced form of dryland and is usually considered in addition to normal dryland routines. Weight training for swimmers is considered an important part of a serious training plan, however, it is generally accepted that weight training should not be started until the athlete has reached his/her teens. Weight training can be dangerous and should only be performed under close supervision by a qualified instructor.Use of Nautilus equipment and resistance training is encouraged! Cross training is another term that is used frequently in athletics and refers to exercises or training methods that an athlete performs for the purpose of strength building that do not have a close association with their chosen sport. For example running, rowing, or playing water polo are considered cross training activities for swimmers.

There's some good info here that Im sure you'll find helpful too-- Your friend in fitness~~Francine

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