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As swimmers & triathletes, we've all had periods when our swim training was interrupted due to lack of pool availability. However, you CAN maintain swim fitness at home with swim-specific conditioning utilizing resistance cords or similar tools, and for some athletes, this is actually an opportunity to become even more aware of how to properly engage muscles throughout the stroke.

Here's one of my favorite at-home sessions for you to try - mix it in with your regular conditioning 2-3 times a week.

Recommended equipment:

 Resistance cord or similar tool -

· I like the Finis Dryland Cord with medium resistance for most athletes because of its easier anchoring strap, freely rotating handles and lighter resistance (which means lower risk of overusing stabilizing muscles in the shoulders). 

· I LOVE the Finis Slide Dryland Trainer because it has all the benefits of cords, while providing more constant resistance and lessening the risk of overloading the shoulders.

Padded surface to lay on (exercise mat or carpet)

 Warm up:

10 x Forward Arm Rotations - use one arm (straight) to make 10 big circles (do both arms)
10 x Backward Arm Rotations - now circle the arm in the other direction (do both arms)
10 x Walking Lunges with a Twist - while in the lunge position, pull arms overhead and twist towards the front leg
8 x Plank to Down Dog - alternate between a straight arm plank the yoga "down dog" position

10 x Forward-to-Back Leg Swims - while stabilizing yourself, swing one leg forward and backward (do both legs)
10 x Side-to-Side Leg Swings - while stabilizing yourself, swing one leg side to side in front of the body (do both legs)

Main set:

First, check out this video of Playtri-sponsored coach Jesse explaining how to mimic the underwater freestyle stroke with resistance tubing.

It's important to note that the muscle group doing the most work at the front part of the stroke is the lats (latissimus dorsi) and the group doing the most work at the back part of the stroke is the triceps. Take a moment to try and enage each of these muscle groups separately. Note that your core (abdominal and back muscles) should be active during all movements!

Take your resistance tubing and anchor it to a heavily weighted stationary object (stair railings and bed frames are perfect for this).


Repeat the following set 2-4* x through:

 *ALWAYS stop if you feel your form getting sloppy!
30-90 seconds of continuous Two Arm Catch w/ tubing (see Coach Jim demonstrating here)
30-90 seconds of Tricep Extensions with tubing (see Coach Jim demonstrating here).
20-40 seconds of Flutter Kicking - lay on your back with hands under your glutes, legs slightly lifted off the ground and straight with pointed toes, mimic the flutter kick of the freestyle stroke
30-120 seconds of continuous Two Arm Stroke w/ tubing - using both arms together, complete the full underwater stroke cycle
30-60 seconds of Glute Bridges - lay on your back with legs bent and feet flat on the ground, squeeze glutes and raise hips as high as possible before lowering back down
30-60 seconds of Plank to Down Dog (same as the warm up drill)


Cool down:
Walk for 5 minutes, and repeat some of the easier movements (arm rotations and leg swings) from the warm up to keep the blood flowing and start the recovery process.

Hopefully, we see you at the pool soon, but until then - keep working that swim fitness!

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