5 Dryland Workouts for Breaststroke Swimmers to Develop MORE Speed and Power!

What if I told you that you could become a FASTER Breaststroke swimmer, not by spending more time in the pool, but by spending more time outside of it — in the gym, on the “dryland” as swimmers like to call it!

As well all know by know, Breaststroke is one of the most power-intensive strokes in swimming. And that’s also why breaststroke swimmers are some of the biggest and strongest swimmers in the pool just take a look at Adam Peaty, for example. Thus it is important, as a Breaststroke swimmer, to make sure that you develop the right muscles and do the right breaststroke exercises required to swim with as much power and speed as you can.

Breaststroke recruits pretty much all of the muscles in your body, but there are a few that are more important muscle groups: your chest, lats, traps, hamstrings, glutes, quadriceps, and abdominals. These are the muscles we’ll be placing emphasis on in the following 5 workouts for Breaststroke swimmers. Also, most of these exercises are being completed in Coach Abbie’s FREE dryland classes which can be found here!

Let’s dive into it!

Workout #1: Bodyweight

The first Breaststroke workout on our list is going to be a classic, old bodyweight workout. This is a great workout to use if you are just starting out and new to dryland training and/or if you have limited equipment available. We’ll be using bodyweight exercises to target important muscle groups as well as developing power.

Workout #1:

Wide Grip Pull-Ups: 3 sets of 6-12 reps.

Push-Ups: 3-4 sets of 12-20 reps.

Jump Squats: 3-4 sets of 12-20 reps.

Elevated Glute Bridge: 3-4 sets of 8-15 reps.

Plank: 3 sets, 1-2 minute holds (can increase or decrease depending on your strength level).

Tricep pushdowns with a resistance band: 3-4 sets of 8-15 reps. (Need a good resistance band, click here.)

Rest: 2-3 minutes between exercises/sets.

Workout #2: In the Weight Room

For those of you who are a bit more experienced with dryland training and have access to weight room, you might want to try out this workout.

P.S. The current 50m and 100m breaststroke world record holder, Adam Peaty, spends a lot of time in the weight room!

Workout #2:

Barbell back squat: 3 sets, 6 reps.

Bench press/ dumbbell press: 3 sets 6-8 reps.

Deadlift: 3 sets 5 reps.

Pull-ups: 3 sets 6-10 reps. (can do weighted or bodyweight)

Hanging Leg Raises: 3 sets 8-12 reps.

Rest: 3-5 minutes between exercises/sets.

Virtual Dryland Training & Programming Available

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Workout #3: Develop a STRONGER Breaststroke Pull

Both of the workouts we’ve discussed so far have been geared towards training your entire body at once. For the next few workouts, we’ll be zoning in on specific parts of your Breaststroke and the muscles required to execute those parts successfully. We’ll kick things off with some workouts designed to improve your Breaststroke pull. We’ll have 2 workouts, a bodyweight workout as well as a weight lifting one.

Workout 3.1: Bodyweight

Chin-ups: 3 sets 8-12 reps.

Dips: 3 sets 6-10 reps.

Clap Push-Ups: 3 sets 6-8 reps.

Resistance Band Tricep Pushdown: 3 sets 8-12 reps.

Resistance Band Bicep Curls: 3 sets 8-12 reps.

Rest: 2-3 minutes between exercises/sets.

Workout 3.2: In the Weight Room

Weighted Chin-Ups: 3 sets 5 reps.

Bench Press/Dumbbell Press: 3 sets 6-8 reps.

Seated Overhead Dumbbell Press: 3 sets, 6-10 reps.

Chest Supported Barbell Row: 3 sets, 6-8 reps.

Rest: 3-5 minutes between exercises/sets.

Workout #4: Develop a STRONGER Breaststroke Kick!

Now that we’ve covered the pull, we’ll concentrate on the lower body, and that obviously involves a powerful kick. To execute a powerful kick, you need strong legs. The kick can generate up to 80% of the speed in your overall Breaststroke stroke — so it’s really important to train it well.

Once again, we’ll have 2 workouts to follow — a bodyweight and a weight lifting one:

Workout 4.1: Bodyweight

Bodyweight Jump Squats: 4 sets 15-20 reps.

Walking Lunges: 4 sets 12-15 reps per leg.

Elevated Glute Bridge: 4 sets, 8-12 reps.

Split squats: 4 sets, 10-12 reps per leg.

Russian Twists: 3 sets, 12-15 reps.

Rest: 2-3 minutes between exercises/sets.

Workout 4.2: In the Weight Room

Barbell Back Squat: 3 sets 6 reps.

Deadlifts: 3 sets 6 reps.

Walking Dumbbell Lunges: 3 sets 8-10 reps per leg.

Barbell Calve Raises: 3 sets 12 reps.

Rest: 3-5 minutes between exercises/sets.

Workout #5: Speed and Power Development

The last workout we’ll be covering is geared solely towards developing speed and power. All of the workouts above are geared more towards developing strength in specific muscle groups without a high heart rate, where as this one will keep your heart rate pumping the entire time.

This workout is a circuit-style workout, so complete straight through with 3-5 rounds total and rest 3-4 minutes between each set.

Workout #5:

Skipping: 1 min.

Clap/Jump Push-Ups: 8-10 reps.

Box Jumps: 10 reps.

MedBall Slams: 8-10 reps.

Squat Jumps: 10 reps.

Push-up Burpees: 10 reps.

Complete 3-5 rounds, then Rest: 3-4 minutes

Experimentation: Play around, learn, have fun, and stay safe.

Now that we’ve gone over some good example workouts, which you can feel free to try out, I want to talk a bit more about what you can do for your dryland training going forward. Sticking to these 5 workouts alone is going to get quite boring after a while and your body will most likely also adapt to the stress and resistance that they place on your muscles, which means you won’t progress.

To avoid this I encourage you to play around a bit and create your own workouts as you become more comfortable and experienced with dryland training. In doing so you’ll be able to learn what works for you and what doesn’t and you’ll become a better swimmer in the process. With that said, here are a few tips:

Warming Up:

It’s very important to not put yourself at risk while dryland training, and one of the best ways to ensure that is always warming up!

A proper warmup routine will ensure that your muscles are ready to train and that no injuries occur. Personally, I like to start out with some foam rolling where I just role out all of the different muscle groups for 5-10 minutes, after that, I’ll do some resistance band warm-up exercises like flaps, shoulder retractions, and external rotations. Followed by, a quick 2-minutes of cardio (whether running or biking or skipping) to get the heart rate and body temperature rising.

Progressive overloading:

If you are going to create your own Breaststroke dryland workouts, you want to make sure that you are incorporating progressive overloading as you become stronger.

This term essentially just refers to increasing your training load a little bit every now and then, to ensure progress. It could mean adding more reps, adding an extra set, or adding on some extra weight to the bar if you are in the gym.


Ensuring proper nutrition is one of the most important parts when adding dryland to your training routine. The added training requires extra fuel (aka calories) and your muscles might require more protein to recover properly.

Make sure to eat a well-balanced diet, and to consume enough protein. In some cases supplements may come in useful for keeping you on top of your nutrition game. Make sure you double check all labels of supplements before taking anything and consult your doctor to make sure they are legal for FINA competitions and good for your body.


Dryland training, combined with good swimming technique and hard work in the pool is an important part of becoming the best swimmer you can be. By adding in some extra dryland work outside of the pool, you will be able to develop strength and power that will allow you to swim faster and even, lower your risk of injury by strengthening weaker muscles.

That said, I hope that this article gave you some good ideas for your dryland training routine and no you are ready to go give it a try yourself!

Read Part II of our dryland mini series for workouts for Butterfliers here!

About the Author:

Hey, I’m Benjamin — a competitive swimmer with many years of experience in the sport of swimming. I am very passionate about competitive swimming and love sharing my knowledge of the sport. I also run my own swimming website called SwimCompetitive.Com and love writing articles covering various swimming related topics, including dryland!

5 Responses

  1. Hi.
    At what age would you advise starting the dry land training advised above?
    I live in the Cayman Islands and the coaches here advise different things.

    1. Younger kids can start body weight training between the ages of 8-12. This would be no different than doing another sport outside the water!

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