Dryland Exercises for Swimmers

Dryland exercises are non-water related exercises that swimmers use to build their core muscles and performance in the water. Below are some of the most popular and highly regarded dryland exercises that can be performed before or after practices, and even on off days.


Plank position is a favorite dryland swimming exercise as it builds heat and strength in your core as you work to remain still and engage your abdomen.

Side plank

Modified side plank is still effective. If you are not strong enough yet, lower your leg and kneel on the knee closest to the ground with your top leg extended until you have worked towards the full side plank.

Progress into full side plank if you are ready by bringing your top arm to meet with your extended top leg. Stay in this position by holding your ankle and stretching the top leg upward.

For side planks its important to make sure your arms form a straight line (more like the lower picture than the one above).


Push Ups & Hovers

A great exercise to transition into after Planks & Side Planks are Push Ups. Push Ups build tons of upper body strength, as do Hovers. Hovers are when you get into plank position and slowly lower your body down until you are slightly hovering above the ground with bended arms.

Star Ups

Lay down on a flat surface with your arms extended over head and your legs apart. Work on bringing opposite arm and leg together and touching your foot to hand and then switch sides.

Sit Ups & Crunches

Like star ups and planks, crunches are a great exercise to use to work on building core strength.

Wall Sits

Wall sits act to engage your core while you build strength throughout your legs. This is a popular dryland exercise for Swimmers, but most athletes have some experience have it.

Most competitive swimmers also spend a considerable amount of time lifting weights. Aside from weight training and the above dryland moves you can also engage in some movement activities prior to swims to build strength and endurance. A few examples include:

Crab Walk

Crab walking is a great way to build strength in your body and engaging muscles that are used in swimming. Like lunges this activity can be performed around the edges of the deck.


Take a minute or two prior to your swim workout to engage in a set of lunges around the perimeter of the pool, switch sides when necessary.


Running is one of the most functional dryland exercises in the sport of swimming. If you are able, take a lap around a local track or running to your lap pool will work strongly in your favor.

I hope you enjoyed reading this tutorial on popular dryland exercises for Swimmers. Of course, there are multiple different activities to partake in in order to increase your endurance, strength, and mobility as a Swimmer. If you have moves or tips that you personally use Id be happy to learn about them! If you have any questions in regards to Swimming that I could help you answer feel free to email me at WhatKateAte@gmail.com.

Happy Swimming!



Note: I am not a personal trainer or a professional swimmer ( I am however certified with USA Swimming as a Swim Coach and have several years under my belt of competitive swimming) and not all peoples bodys react the same way to exercise, so make sure you listen to your body.


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One response to “Dryland Exercises for Swimmers

  1. Pingback: Designing a Swim Workout « What Kate Ate

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