Land training makes the hours of work spent training in the pool more productive by strengthening and conditioning the muscles used specifically for swimming. Land training is held at Donyngs in the main sports hall and we use resistance bands, medicine balls and bodyweight for a variety of exercises.
WHO CAN ATTEND?
The following squads should attend Land Training as part of their scheduled training structure:
Below are 2 examples of exercises that your swimmers can do at home or at their gym 2-3 times a week for optimum results. Technique is king so pay particular attention to the form.
The squat simulates pushing off the wall when doing a turn. Squats can be done progressively starting with bodyweight, bands, and then weights. Squats can also be done ployetrically which means adding in a fast movement like a jump. This will really help pushing against the volume of water on those wall turns.
Essentially the squat is one of the most important exercises as it works the legs and the core. Particular attention should be paid to getting the technique correct as done incorrectly can lead to injury, particularly if you increase the workload too quickly before the body has adapted.
GETTING IT RIGHT: Practice in front of a mirror for maximum visual feedback.
•Stand about 10-15cm away from a kitchen chair and simply sit down and then stand back up again paying attention to how the movement feels.
•Repeat, but this time look at what your knees are doing. Do they drop towards each other. Do you lean forward as you sit down? Did you just plop down on the seat and then put your hands on your knees to get back up again? If so, the chances are that your gluteal muscles are slacking in their responsibilities!
•IF YOUR KNEE DROPS IN: Repeat the exercise slowly and when you see your knee fall inwards really concentrate on keeping them apart. Think about keeping the outside of the knee over the outside of your little toe. It is not expected that you do this, but just thinking that you are helps to control your muscles. Once you can do this, progress to using a band around your upper knees as this will really fire-up your gluteals and help correct the inward movement.
•IF YOU DROP TO THE SEAT: Repeat the exercise slowly and when you feel your body dropping away really concentrate on slowing the fall. Notice when you started to drop and next time really concentrate on keeping the movement controlled. Keep practicing regularly until you can just ‘kiss’ the edge of the chair with your bottom and then stand up immediately.
•IF YOUR CHEST FALLS FORWARD: Repeat the exercise holding a broom handle or similar object above your head. This encourages the chest to stay in a more upright position and helps stop the knees tracking forwards over the toes.
•IF YOU PUT YOUR HANDS ON YOUR LEGS TO PUSH YOU UP: Fold your arms and hold them out in front of you. As you stand up push the floor away as if pushing it away through your heels. This will engage your gluteal muscles more and propel you upwards.
Essentially the squat when performed properly is similar to sitting down. The hips travel backwards, the chest is held high, the knees hinge and the buttocks lower. Depending on your hip anatomy the squat can be performed to parallel with the floor or lower (some people can squat down in a hunker position with feet flat on floor and bottom touching the back of their calves). Be aware that the further the knee travels forwards over the toes the more stress is placed on the knees. This is why learning the sit-squat to a bench/chair is the key to good squat technique. Once you have the technique mastered your swimmer can progress to band workouts and weighted squats.
The following video shows how the muscles work and how to do a squat properly:
The plank is another one of the king exercises for the pool. A strong core translates into stronger strokes and more productive kicking. It is often over-looked because it can be a difficult exercise to master but one that once you’ve got the technique cracked and are doing them consistently you will feel the difference in the pool.
•To do the plank properly come down so that your elbows, feet and hands are touching the floor
•Your elbows are directly below your shoulders and your body is in a straight line through ankles, hips and shoulders (imagine a line being drawn from your ankles to your shoulders.
•Head is held in a neutral position with eyes looking just between your hands
•Engage your core by pulling in your tummy and pelvic floor (peeing muscle!) with about 30% effort. If you think about pulling your tummy in just under your rib cage it helps.
•Make sure that your shoulders remain apart and do not move towards each other
•Hold this position whilst breathing in a controlled manner
•As soon as you feel your hips sag towards the floor or your bottom is higher than your shoulders then stop, have a rest and repeat.
•Start at 15 seconds and aim for a minute. Done properly after holding a plank for 30 seconds you will really know all about it!
The following video is a good introduction on how to do the plank: