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So far lisairlam1 has created 15 blog entries.

February 2021

Change of pace

By |2021-02-22T17:29:01+00:00February 22nd, 2021|

Fast arm turnover to improve fitness not strength

By |2021-02-17T12:34:13+00:00February 17th, 2021|

Here’s a great session for todays dry land training with a different slant. Keep tuned for tomorrows slightly longer session.

for more see http://www.ironmate.co.uk/

Muscular endurance for swimming in lockdown

By |2021-02-16T15:50:16+00:00February 16th, 2021|

Here’s the next in our series of dry land training exercises for keeping those swim muscles in shape in lockdown.

If you like what you see and would like a personalized training plan or coaching advice Mark would be delighted to hear from you.  http://www.ironmate.co.uk/contact-us

Structured dryland swim resistance training

By |2021-02-15T13:59:38+00:00February 15th, 2021|

More swimming dry land resistance training sessions from Ironmate Mark Kleanthous

Don’t let your swim fitness suffer in lockdown. You can work those swim specific muscles with stretch cords, physio bands or even an old inner tube.

Here are 6 Resistance factors to focus on to help you when you can resume swimming again. These easy focus considerations will help you fire up an improved swim stroke and can reduce the likelihood of injuries.

  1. Pull smoothly avoid jerky movements.
  2. Pull evenly with the same amount of power with both arms and shoulders.
  3. Do not overreach and strain your shoulders.
  4. To avoid injury do not pull with a locked or straight elbow.
  5. Pull symmetrical avoid dropping one shoulder more than the other.
  6. Keep elbow high, pulling with a dropped elbow is ineffective and can result in elbow and shoulder injuries.

There are 9 sessions in total so checkback each day for a new session. It’s great to structure these sessions to form a long term plan, e.g.

Week 1: Monday session (a) Wednesday session (b) Saturday session (c)

Week 2: Tuesday session (d) Thursday session (e) Saturday session (f)

Week 3: Monday session (g) Wednesday session (h) Saturday session (i)

Week 4: Tuesday session (a) Thursday session (b) Saturday session (c)

Dryland strength exercises

By |2021-02-01T12:33:12+00:00February 1st, 2021|

9 dry land exercises to improve your swimming without getting wet.

Can’t get in the water at the moment, keep your swimming muscles in shape with these dry land strength exercises from Ironmate coach Mark Kleanthous.

Do these exercises with weights or stretch cords. No excuse, if you don’t have weights use drinks cartons or food cans, whatever you have available.

  • Make a shape below and hold for 20 to 30 seconds, rest for the same time as the effort.
  • Complete 3 sets.

W shape

T shape

Upright row shape

Crucifix shape

Standing up opposite arms out stretched

Squat down opposite arms out stretched

Squat down arms outstretched, 3 ways

About Mark

Mark has been swimming in open water for 38+ years. When he was not able to swim in a pool, Mark used homemade resistance bands to successfully train for triathlons and open water swim events.

When Mark needed to train for Feb March April ironman events and swimming in open water was not possible Mark used resistance bands.

Mark has been providing clients with resistance band workouts when swimming was not possible. (Working on oil rigs, submarines in war zones and when swimming was not safe (South Africa due to sharks!)

Need bespoke 12 to 108 week training plans then get in contact with Mark.

Mark 07876 376776



January 2021

Resistance workout 3

By |2021-01-29T10:48:39+00:00January 29th, 2021|

Here’s another great resistance band workout for dry land swim training in our series from coach Mark Kleanthous.


See our first post on this subject for tips and advice. Make sure to check out our blog next week for more dry land exercises to keep those swim muscles firing.

We have a special discount code DRYLAND for use on swimovate.com for an additional 5% off our PoolMate watches

Resistance workout 2

By |2021-01-28T10:38:57+00:00January 28th, 2021|

Following on from yesterday post here’s the next in our series of dry land swim workouts from coach Mark Kleanthous


We have a special discount code DRYLAND for use on swimovate.com for an additional 5% off our PoolMate watches

Dry land training

By |2021-01-27T12:11:40+00:00January 27th, 2021|

It’s been a challenging last 10 months, especially for swimmers with pools being closed and the cold winter temperatures preventing open water swimming for all but the hardiest of us.

Don’t despair, we’ve got some great dry land workouts here to keep your swimming muscles in shape from the super innovative coach Mark Kleanthous http://www.ironmatecoaching.co.uk/

Mark has been swimming in open water for 38+ years. When he was not able to swim in a pool (pool closed, work commitments, working in London)  or early season ironman events, Mark used resistance bands to successfully train for triathlons and open water swim events.

Mark has been providing his clients with resistance band workouts for many years when swimming was not possible. (Working on oil rigs, submarines in war zones and when swimming was not safe (South Africa due to sharks!).

He’s put together some great sessions and tips for us here which would be enhanced by using a PoolMate watch.

Thanks Mark

We have a special discount code DRYLAND for use on swimovate.com for an additional 5% off our PoolMate watches

Dry land swim simulation resistance training.

Completing dry land resistance training will fire up muscles used in swimming. If you remain fit by completing other activities like cycling running hiking and other aerobic activities this will help when you resume swimming pool or open water swimming.

Benefits of dry land exercises to replicate as best as possible swimming.

  1. Improve speed of your swim stroke
  2. Build your endurance
  3. Fatigue later during tough swim workouts
  4. Reduce injuries
  5. If you had any aches pains niggles or injuries whilst swimming, then completing dry land resistance training can develop weak areas that are essential for a more balanced stroke.

Correct resistance training will closely mimic muscles used whilst swimming.

  1. Purpose of dry land resistance training is to lengthen and increase flexibility.
  2. Pull as free style swim stroke when using a snorkel.
  3. Make sure the power and torque is the same throughout pulling back avoid gliding (dead spots)
  4. Mimic how you pull back.
  5. You will need more recovery when using stretch cords because resistance is greater than when swimming.
  6. It is important to
  7. Resistance benefits:
  8. Stretch cords resistance bands are as close as you can without.
  9. Keep elbow high and you can closely mimic your front crawl stroke.

Front crawl swim stroke

The hand entry and the catch

The stronger your deltoids and shoulders are the longer you can hold good technique. Ever wondered why you have good swim stroke (fewer strokes per length) at the start of your swim then you lose the feeling for the water? This is because you deltoids and shoulders have fatigued.

A more powerful swim stroke

Forearm development will improve propulsion through the water.

Streamlined benefits.

Improve your core and abs in the water by redoing drag be being more hydrodynamic by being streamlined. During dry land & strength workouts aim to also work the core abdominal and lower back muscles.

Swim strength

Work the upper back muscles to stabilize your shoulders to reduce any weak areas, known as dead spots of your stroke.

Avoid sinking legs

  • Work the glutes and hamstrings to improve body balance and reduce propulsion simply by reducing resistance.
  • Core abs and oblique muscles allow you to have a longer stroke by being able to rotate fully.
  • Hip flexors allow you to maintain kicking for longer.

Muscles using during swimming

  • Arms: – hand muscles forearms bicep triceps and deltoids (shoulder muscles)
  • Neck – all neck muscles
  • Trunk – side muscles, external oblique’s, abdominals, back muscles, rhomboids, gluteus maximus and abductors.
  • Legs – quadriceps hamstrings calf muscles shin muscles and foot (flexor muscles)

Avoid poor posture sitting at your computer

  • Swimming strengthens the core back and shoulders and spending too much time at your computer has a negative affect with your swimming.
  • Dry land resistance training is vital at this time if you cannot swim.
  • A slouched position sitting in front of a computer which crunched up hunched shoulders will be bad for your swimming.
  • Good core and correct posture will allow you to be stronger and more streamlined in the water.
  • Good posture always improves your ability to turn your neck and some of your shoulders and breathe.
  • Poor posture always causes you to turn your body far to much creating a huge amount of unnecessarily amount of resistance and causing legs to over compensate and scissor kick or kick too deeply (wasteful resistance)  to counter balance excess body movements.

Resistance notes:

Swim for about the same amount of time during intervals. Set alarm on PoolMateLive watch (or other watch) to go off at the time you usually take to swim 100m.

For example

  • Swimmer #1 if you take 1 minute 40 seconds to swim 100m (100 seconds) and take 80 strokes you stroke at 1.25 seconds per stroke so aim for 16 strokes in 20 seconds.
  • Swimmer #2 if you take 1 minute 50 seconds to swim 100m (110 seconds) and take 86 strokes you stroke at 1.28 seconds per stroke so aim for 11 strokes in 14 seconds.
  • Swimmer #3 if you take 2 minutes to swim 100m (120 seconds) and take 120 strokes you stroke at 1.0 seconds per second stroke so aim for 15 strokes in 15 seconds.

NOTE: strokes mentioned here are single arm strokes so double the count your PoolMate shows if swimming crawl.

Resistance bands can be purchased or make your own with old inner tubes or bungy cords!

Please also watch my You Tube videos on how to use resistance bands stretch cords.



Here’s the first of Mark’s dry land training sessions, more to come!

Mark with resistance cords


By engaging in the above training plans you agree to do so at your own risk & assume all associated risk of injury.

Need bespoke 12 to 108 week training plans then get in contact with Mark. 

Mark 07876 376776



March 2020

By |2020-03-25T13:30:11+00:00March 25th, 2020|

Tethered swimming – an alternative way to train

If your local pool is shut and can’t swim in open water you may still have access to a small pool so you can still train using a swim belt, bungee or tether. It’s very effective and actually a great workout.

Training with a swim belt or tether can increase speed, improve technique and endurance for an overall stronger open water swim. Whether it is practicing bilateral breathing, kicking or sighting, a swim belt/tether should be part of your swim training.

Many people have a small pool or access to a small pool even when faced with coronavirus municipal pool closures so is an ideal way to make use of your smaller pool to keep training.

So, what is a swim tether? There are two common types of tether, a swim belt or foot tether. A swim belt is a strap that fits around your waist and has an elastic cord attached to a plastic ring at the back. The belt can easily be attached around your waist by an adjustable clip component at each end. Another form of tether is one that attaches to your feet via booties or ankle straps.
I have tried a both types and I personally prefer the ones that tether to your feet as they give you great feedback from your feet and whether your legs are splitting during your stroke and thus causing extra drag and how many kicks you take during your stroke e.g. 2,3, 4, 6 beat etc kick. You can also get a sense of your body rotation so during tethered swimming it’s a time to really tune in to what your entire body is doing. The ones that go around your waist are also great for all swimming strokes so if you can try both. However, the belt types of tether may need attaching higher up to avoid impeding your feet and aiding rotation. I use a Swimovate Poolmate watch to record my swims when using a tether as other watches may only use GPS and during tethered swimming your GPS watch won’t show good data.

Swim belt training can:

  • The tether can be used for a variety of sessions including technique, strength and endurance
  • Improve your ability to swim in a straight line instead of weaving from one side to the other.
  • Aid in practicing bilateral breathing, helping you concentrate on the least amount of head rotation you need to take a breath on each side.
  • Improve your kicking by allowing you to concentrate on the motion from your hips and thighs rather than from your knees.
  • Enable you to work on sighting, which is something all triathletes need to practice. Set up a water bottle or cone on the other side of the pool as something to sight on. Lift your head slightly with your eyes just above the water like “crocodile eyes” and then breath to the side. Try not to breath to the front as your hips will sink low and cause drag.
  • Be a good tool for drills, especially one-arm drills. Swim with one arm for a set amount of time, then switch to the other. This drill will help produce a more even stroke. You can also use it with other kit such as Finis paddles and a swim snorkel.
  • Help to minimize over-rotation from one side to the other by letting you concentrate on equal rotation for each side.
  • Allow you to apply the same pull force with each arm and aid in a full stroke for each arm.

Below is an example of an open water technique session:

Time: 35 – 40 minutes


Tether, Finis Paddles optional: Swimovate Poolmate swimming watch.


5 – 10 mins getting used to the tether with easy front crawl (FS)

What is your beat kicking? Are you rotating your hips and shoulders? How was your head position? What is your arm extension?

40 strokes with paddles concentrating on hand entry

40 stokes normal FS

40 strokes paddles concentrating on catch and pull phases

20 strokes left arm only, 20 strokes right arm only



5 x 100 strokes with 20s RI

1-minute easy swim


5 x 100 strokes as:

  1. 20 sighting every breath (left) + 80 settle into sighting every 2 breaths B2s +30s
  2. 20 sighting every breath (right) + 80 settle into sighting every 2 breaths B2s +30s
  3. 100 B3s sighting every 2 breaths swap to sight on other breathing side half-way
  4. 100 sighting every 5 strokes – breath when you need to
  5. 100 sighting every 5 strokes – breath B5’s

Which works best for you?


5 minutes easy stroke choice

Training Hack

You can also use your swim tether for water running. Water running is a great way to run with low impact. Ideal for re-hab.

Karen Parnell is an IRONMAN Certified Coach and British Triathlon Federation (BTF) Level 3 High Performing Coach and Tutor. She is also a qualified Personal Trainer (AIQ) and ASA Open Water Swimming Coach. Karen is based near Malaga in Southern Spain where she run ChiliTri coaching and camps. She runs 121 and small group triathlon camps all year round in Spain. Southern Spain is famous for its mountain cycling, sea & lake swimming and trail & beach running.

September 2019

It’s our birthday

By |2019-09-19T16:26:20+00:00September 19th, 2019|

The PoolMate is 10 years old !

We first started selling the very first PoolMate back in September 2009. Amazingly we sold out of the first batch before we even got it and the rest is history.

I’m rushing things, let’s go back 2 years before that to 2007 when we first had the idea to develop a swim watch. Swimovate is my husband Jim and myself, we were doing triathlons at the time and wanted a watch that would track our swims. We had cycle computers and heartrate monitors but there was nothing around for swimming. To cut a long story short we were made redundant and the time was right for us to take the plunge and set up Swimovate. Jim developed all the electronics, embedded software and made it suitable for large scale manufacture, our son Chris designed the first case and I found a factory to make them for us and started spreading the word- the first PoolMate was coming to life.

Of course there were lots of trials with the long suffering swimmers in our triathlon club, it wasn’t easy to get it working with all swimmers and all strokes and some clever software was needed. There was a patent to write and file and even a trip into Dragons’ Den*.

It took longer than we thought but some how we persevered and truly believed we could launch something to make a difference. We learnt so much along the way. I remember speaking to everyone and anyone with any interest in swimming hoovering it all up and taking things on board. As soon as I put out the first press release we had retailers and distributors contacting us and orders stacking up which takes things back to the beginning of this post to September 2009.

It was a rollercoaster few months and before long we had sales in 60 countries and the PoolMate seemed to be the right product at the right time and be the thing swimmers had been waiting for. Of course I skirt around all the hard work we put in, it wasn’t without hours of effort and innovation. Somehow it didn’t feel like work at all, it was an amazing adventure we were lucky enough to be on.

Now 10 years later we still have the largest range of swim tracking watches on the market and sales all over the world. Thank you to everyone we met along the way, especially the swimmers who spent their hard earned cash on a PoolMate or two. We aren’t going anywhere and look forward to helping swimmers track their swims for a good few years yet.

Keep on swimming


* Dragons’ Den was an experience to say the least. I didn’t get funding, didn’t cry or make a fool of myself but we obviously didn’t make good enough TV to be broadcast. Although devastated at the time we were so glad in the end to have the 100% control of our business that we still have today.

If you want to hear more about our story you can meet us and find out more here.

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