Dryland 101: Exercises to Add to Your Routine

Posted on September 1, 2010


To all you swim coaches, triathletes and runners out there, I like to train our swimming athletes with the body always moving and the muscles never at ease.  It not only seems to get the athletes in good form the quickest, but it leans their body up in a major way.

So, if you want to change-up your training, here’s a few of the drills my athletes do:

Upper Body

Around the Worlds

Starting in push-up position, explode up and make your way around the world with your hands, keeping you feet stationary, like the big hand of a clock. One time around is number 1, etc. Make sure you go in both directions(clockwise and counterclockwise). I would recommend beginning with 2 each way…..they’ll rip you up!

Push Jumps

In push-up position, place a kickboard under your chest and in between your hands. Then jump with your arms, explode pushing to the right side of the board, then back to middle, then the other side. For even more of a challenge, do this while swimming during your rest period between sets.

Wheel Barrels

Single – Like you did when you where a kid!  Make sure your partner holds your ankles (not your knees) and concentrate on your core while you are walking with your hands.  Walk 4 or 5 sets about 25 yards each.

Fly – This is a nice one. Same principle as above, but instead of walking, you are hopping with both arms at the same time!  Crushing soreness.  (I aim to please! Ha!)


This is another exercise that you may know from your childhood.  Walking on your hands and feet belly-up for a 25 yard distance.  You can switch it up to go forward or back or even sideways. This is very good for shoulder, back, and core.  I saw huge development with this exercise.

Mountain Hops

Starting in push-up position, bring the legs up all at once to where your knees almost hit you in the face and then immediately kick them all the way back to push-up position again, your hands never leaving the ground. For even more of a challenge: while running distance and stop every once in a while and do 15 of these.

Lower Body

Lunge Jumps

Starting in lunge position, explode up, switch legs in the air until the legs are in lunge position the opposite way.  This is a very good exercise for massive strength in the legs and buttocks.  Make sure the athletes are getting their front foot out further than their knee.  We don’t want any knee problems.  Start with 3 x 20 and then build from there.  They will definitely feel this one.

Carry a Buddy

Find a buddy roughly the same size.  Carry the buddy on your back for at least  25 to 50 yards….maybe only 2 times.  (Kids love this one…as do Marines!)

Rope Jumps-side to side

Doing an obstacle course with this included is always a great way to rip the athletes up.  During the course, string out rope, maybe 25-30 yards, and have it where the athletes can jump side to side facing forward.  Try to get at least 20 jumps in there.  This is a nice heart rate exercise.


Using the parking lot, have the athletes line up on the white lines and “start” them all at once.  The goal is to try and jump to the other line from a standing broad jump position.  This will help with their starts and turns. For non-swimmers, is a great way to develop leg muscles as well as that explosive power.

Speed Curbs

Have the athletes stand facing the curb.  Start with a set of 30 seconds on and 15 seconds off.  What they have to do is jump on to the curb and them back down again trying to get 60 jumps in that 30 second time period.  Good stuff!  Do about 5 sets of that and stay on your toes.