Why Use Dryland Swim Training? These Are The 3 Major Benefits
The importance of integrating dryland training into your regular swimming schedule has emerged particularly with the professionalisation of swimming. Professional swimmers and triathletes alike now dedicate a large portion of their training towards dryland training, whilst still maintaining pool swimming workouts.
Caeleb Dressel, one of the most awarded swimmers in the world, has created arguably one of the best swim training schedules by integrating both dry-land workouts and pool workouts. In an interview with My Swim Pro, Caeleb dissected his swim training schedule. In a usual season, Caeleb wakes up, goes to the gym for dryland swim training for two hours, then hits the pool for a two-hour swim session. After this, he takes a break, has lunch and is back in the pool again in the afternoon for another two-hour swim.
Caeleb, just like many other swimmers and triathletes, was forced into undertaking more dryland swim training than usual due to the pool closures and lockdowns caused by COVID-19. Many swimmers and triathletes found the importance of integrating dryland swim training during these times, with many triathletes (including ZEN8 users) finding that they had improved by implementing more dryland training whilst having less pool time. Let's look below at the major benefits of implementing dry-land swim training into your regular swimming schedule.
The 3 Major Benefits of Dryland Swim Training
The pandemic forced a lot of triathletes to find new, innovative ways to build and maintain their swimming without the use of a swimming pool. Many triathletes found that they were able to build their swim-specific muscles, improve their technique and to save time by being able to swim at home.
1. Building Swim-Specific Muscles and Strength
For triathletes, as opposed to other athletes, the purpose of building muscles and improving strength is to increase functional strength and durability. Improving strength will result in more power per stroke as well as having increased form and body position in the water. Additionally, stronger muscles will decrease the likelihood of injuries - particularly in the shoulders - by developing joint-strength.
Improving core-strength, for example, will result in the ability to maintain a long, streamlined and tall body position in the water which will result in less drag and therefore more efficiency in the water. This will become particularly important in the latter stages of the swim where fatigue starts to set in and the body starts to sink, increasing drag and slowing the overall pace.
Pool training alone, unlike dryland strength training, has a limit to the amount of power and strength that can be built. No matter how many times you swim up and down the pool, there is a fixed level of resistance - even with paddles. Utilising dryland training, such as weight training, or using the ZEN8 swim trainer will allow you to increase the level of resistance from what you would find in the pool.
With the ZEN8 swim trainer, for example, the swim cords offer a higher level of resistance than water alone, which will assist in building and strengthening swim-specific muscles. This can even be increased by upgrading to the higher-resistance level 2 swim cords. There are a tonne of workout videos that can be performed using the ZEN8; for example, 3 shoulder exercises to improve strength, mobility and to reduce injuries, or balance workouts to improve core strength. These can be furthered by signing up to the ZEN8 coaching plans which utilise both dryland and pool swimming sessions to make you a stronger, faster and more confident swimmer.
Increased strength, results in increased power, which ultimately results in more efficiency per swimming stroke.
2. Improving Your Swimming Technique
One of the best ways to improve your swimming technique is by using both dry-land and in-pool methods. The biggest advantage of using dry-land technique workouts is that it allows you more time and visibility to improve the minuscule differences that can either make or break your technique. Making small changes to your technique can be challenging in the water, as you may be well aware, due to the challenging environment of water dynamics.
Using dry-land swim training equipment, such as the ZEN8 swim trainer, allows for small, controlled changes to your technique without sinking to the bottom of the pool. This can be furthered by using a mirror or camera to properly visualise your technique. Additionally, the higher resistance offered by the swim cords, allows you to feel each muscle working independently and offers the chance to make small adjustments.
Improving 'the catch' is one of the best ways to increase swimming efficiency per stroke - which is crucial for triathletes swimming longer distances. Kieran Lindards, GP Pro Triathlete, explains how to improve your catch using the ZEN8 swim trainer on dryland. After improving your technique on dry-land, you can take what you have learnt and replicate it in the pool.
One of the biggest challenges facing us triathletes is trying to find the time for all of our training. This can be incredibly difficult, especially if you have a life outside of triathlons. For most of us, the challenge is trying to juggle swim-training, cycling, running, work, a relationship with your partner, friendships, hobbies and time for yourself.
The time it takes to drive to the pool, find parking, change into your swimming clothes, shower, swim for an hour or more, shower again, change again and drive back home can take hours. In fact, the processes around swimming can often take longer than the actual swimming. This becomes a big problem, especially for triathletes, when you have to juggle everything else besides swim-training.
A meaningful and effective swim-workout can be performed in as little as 15-20 minutes using dryland training from the comfort of your own home. And, that is without having to drive to the pool, change and shower. This can be immediately followed by a bike and run to complete a full brick session. Dryland swimming equipment, such as the ZEN8 swim trainer, are not designed to completely replace swimming.
The ZEN8 swim trainer is designed to be implemented into your regular swim schedule and enhance your training by having 2-3 dry-land swim sessions a week alongside a couple of sessions at the pool. It can, however, offer a replacement to swimming on those special occasions where the pool just seems too far away and like a little too much trouble.