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

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 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