Attention to Parents: These resources are intended for parental supervision and should not be used without a responsible adult present

USA Swimming "Starts"   Learning how to safely use the starting blocks

YUSA Swimming "SafeSport" Webinar

USA Swimming Video "This Sport is a Place for Everyone"

YUSA Swimming "Youth Development"

Swimmers Helping Swimmers Learn

Depression with Allison Schmidt


Dryland Primer - Text by Coach Shane Ahrens 

The focus of dryland activity for swimmers should begin with promoting control and awareness of the body and the distribution of it's weight, core strength, balance, and stability. 

Think about the control young gymnasts have.  The same goes for swimmers. From a young age (Click), body weight exercises can help develop a swimmers spatial awareness and ability to control ones movements. 

This helps when we transition into the pool. With every exercise, good technique (Click) should be practiced.

Additionally, going through the full range of motion and controlling your body throughout an exercise is key (Click). For example, with push ups and pull-ups (Click), going all the way up and all the way down at the same speed works more muscles than letting yourself drop down and going back up halfway before you drop again.

Swimming strokes progress from full extension above the head to forceful pushing of water all the way down to the waist, and the kick requires strong abs to power the legs. Keeping this background in mind while doing dryland workouts will benefit your swimming ability.  

Below, I've attached workout ideas for all Practice groups, ages, and ability levels. 

Feel free to mix and match different parts of this guide to create a workout that you will have fun doing.


-Workout for Gold and Silver Group Only-

  • 20 sit ups, arms crossed over chest, knees bent and feet flat on the ground, sit all the way up and control your motion back to the ground
  • 25 Mountain Climbers, push up position, run in place, drive the knees under the chest, tap the toes directly under hips
  • :30 flutter kicks laying on back with hands under bottom, short fast kicks with straight legs

1:00 break - try the cobra pose stretch

  • 20 lunges - 10 each leg, dip to 90 degrees angles with both knees, don’t step too far with each lunge, keep back knee just off the ground
  • 25 squats, arms crossed in front of chest, go down to 90 degree angles with knees and hips, chest up with head looking straight ahead
  • 30 bicycles, 15 to each side, lying on back, legs extended and hands in the crunch position behind head, knee touches opposite elbow on each rep, full extension of the legs after each bicycle kick

1:00 break - try the child’s pose stretch

  • 20 heel slides, laying on back with hands under bottom, bring knees up and slide feet flat just above the ground until they reach your bottom
  • 25 toe touches, in sit up position with legs up in the air, keep straight knees and toes pointing up to the sky, reach with both hands as you crunch up to touch your toes
  • :30 front plank, elbows directly under shoulders, straight line from heels to shoulders (hips down)

2:00 break, try some arm and leg stretches

Repeat for a tougher workout, up to 3 rounds

Options for the 2nd/3rd time through

  • Streamline flutter kicks, body in full streamline position on back, same as flutter kicks above
  • Squat jumps, extend to streamline position with hands at the peak of your jump, same as squats above
  • Side plank, :15 each side, elbow directly under shoulder, other arm straight up to form a “T” across your chest, straight line from armpits to heels (don’t dip)


-Exercises for the Bronze and Silver Groups-

  • Begin and end all activities with some stretching including full rotation arm circles, all leg and arm stretches, touching toes with straight knees, streamline - practice squeezing the head with arms and pointing fingers to the sky. Flexibility will develop through repetition. Try to improve a little bit each day.
  • Long jumps across the backyard or squat jumps to try to touch a low hanging tree (or hanging object), focus on good form, not just wild jumping. Keep feet at shoulder width and squat with the chest pointing forward and head up. Use the arms for momentum and land with both feet together.
  • Bicycle kicks, as detailed in workout above, 3 rounds of 10
  • Heel slides, as detailed in workout above, 3 rounds of 10
  • Leg holds, same as flutter kicks above but without leg movement, hold heels several inches off the ground.  Hold for :30 to 1 minute, or try for a maximum goal (hold until you have to drop)
  • Squats, as above, 3 rounds of 8
  • Lunges, as above, continuous (like walking) or 3 rounds of 20 (10 lunges with each leg)
  • Streamline Walks


-For Bronze, Silver, and Gold-

  • Running around the block/up and down driveway/around the perimeter of the yard at a steady pace for 5-25 minutes for cardio/aerobic training
  • Sprinting halfway around the block, sprinting up and down the driveway twice, sprinting around the perimeter of the yard (in opposite directions) twice for anaerobic training. Follow all sprints with lower intensity jogging or walking for twice as much time as the sprinting.

To remove monotony from running, set time or distance goals, run different routes when possible, listen to music especially if you are on a treadmill, stop occasionally to stretch, do other exercises or walk.

Increase or decrease length of running or duration based on your needs, space and abilities


-Exercises that use equipment (Gold Group Only)-

  • Med ball slam downs - 3 rounds of 10, grasp ball with both hands, raise high over head, engage core and keep feet firmly planted, slam ball down 1 foot in front of your feet
  • Foam roller to relieve muscle tightness
  • Shoulder bands for stability, range of motion and strength

-For swimmers with prior weight room experience and access to weights (Gold Swimmers - high school age only)-

Lifting weights is shown by sports science to be beneficial only to older athletes, generally ages 13/14 and up.  Weight lifting is also a more injury prone activity, so exercise caution, only do exercises and sets that you have done before. Always stretch all muscle groups before and after lifting.

*Do not attempt lifts you have not done before without someone who knows about proper form present*

*Do not attempt any barbell lifts above the waist without a spotter*

Swimmers need long muscles to go through the full range of motion with maximum strength.  Practice proper form and keep weight levels lighter with higher numbers of reps (50% of max weight or less with 10+ reps of free weights and 6+ reps of barbell weights).  Swimmers generally want to avoid weightlifting extreme weights, which creates short and dense muscles that are not as flexible and only have strength in short phases of motion.  When a swimmer works out in the weight room, an ideal workout would mirror a swim workout, short rest periods and steady durations of lifting (think 20x100 on 1:45 instead of 8x25 on 3:00)

Here is one example of a set to consider:

  • Dumbbell curls - 3 rounds of 8 reps per arm start with light weight and work up in weight, stop motion at bottom of curl (arm extended), bring weight up to chest without rotating wrist, control a slow descent of the weight


-College Level Workout Video-

Nebraska Swimming Dryland Video - FAST YouTube Channel 

  • Follow along with this dryland video for the entire duration for a well rounded and intensive workout. 
  • Play and pause to focus on exercises that you like to do. 
  • Jump around in the video, learn the exercises, and create your own workout with 5 or 6 exercises and 10-20 reps per exercise.

Pay attention to the form that the athlete in the video demonstrates.  Focus on replicating that form as much as possible.  A neat trick on Youtube is to slow the speed of the video (set ‘Playback Speed’ to a number lower than 1 under settings and turn off the sound) so you can look closer at how the exercise is done.