Social Distancing & Can’t Swim—Do These 5 Exercises:

Well it’s no surprise here that many of you are grieving the loss of your current swim season. The kids on my team experienced the abrupt halt to their season ending, missing their state meets by a DAY—can’t imagine. But just like with life, we have to roll with the punches and ‘ride the wave’–I actually got that etched into my hair the other day as a reminder.

So I figured with all this uncertainty it would make sense to write a blog on some exercises you can do while social distancing and/or self-quarantining.

Let’s dive right in!

One of the main components of swimming is aerobic training. Luckily (most of us) have our two feet, and can easily strap on a pair of shoes and go for a run. If you live in an area with a nice climate, I would suggest getting outdoors (away from people) to get some miles in.

If you’re not a fan of running, try cycling. I have a bike trainer at home that I can ride my road bike on, and have been putting on some miles there to avoid the gym and other areas with crowded spaces.

The aerobic training you are doing doesn’t need to be something you dread. It just needs to be something that can get your heart rate to a steady state—somewhere between 120-140 bpm for ½ to an hour’s time.

If you haven’t been running or cycling though, remember to start small and build up your endurance from there.

Dryland Training:

I feel like dryland training is such a buzz word in swimming right now. All those companies that do dryland training – this is a PRIME time for you. While you really cannot replicate EXACTLY what a swimmer does in the water on land—you can still work on your overall athleticism and become a better athlete. Here are my 5 favorite movements for swimmers to stay in shape, while in social isolation:

1.) Flutter Kicks

It’s no surprise that core strength is SUPER important for swimmers. The core is what allows a swimmer to ‘keep their body line’ and propel down the pool. I love flutter kicks because it is mimicking the flutter kick motion, so you’re getting a bit of transference between the movement on land and what happens in the water.

2.) Y’s, T’s, W’s, and L’s

Shoulder health is another important aspect for swimmers. Keeping your rotator cuffs healthy and strong during a break is very important. It’s always good for your shoulders to have a break, but you want to make sure that when you get back into the pool, it isn’t like taking a cold rubber band out of the freezer and asking it to stretch!


3.) Lunges and Squats

These are functional movements required for everyday life. The current chair I’m sitting in, I will need to squat up from to get out of. You need to have strong legs to be able to stand, walk, jump, and swim!

4.) Slam Balls

Swimming is an explosive sport. It happens in resistance (i.e. water). Making sure you are keeping some power training during your social isolation is very important. I love slam balls, because the ball itself doesn’t have to be super heavy—but it does jack a swimmers heart rate up too. Mix in different sets, maybe in between your cardio pieces? 🙂

5.) Find a VASA Trainer

Yes, they still exist. I remember VASA trainers when I grew up swimming in the 90’s. Sometimes these are referred to as ‘swim benches’, but VASA was the first one to really create and brand it. Originally when VASA made these benches, they did it to ‘replace’ some in-water training but now, I’ve realized they really are great ways to work a swimmer’s ‘technique’ without having them in the pool. The muscles fired while using a swim bench are similar to the ones used while swimming too.

If you have some other exercises you really enjoy outside the pool, be sure to comment them below. I’d like to create a resource for swimmers and coaches to use during this time.

Talk with you guys next week!


Abbie Fish

10 Responses

  1. If we have no hay to get a VASA at the moment. What could replace it ? We are quarantined and can’t get outside the house for now.

  2. I love the points that you made. I started using the rowing machine. It’s great to criss train with it. Also, another cardio exercise that you may have overlooked is jumping rope. It’s more time efficient than running and biking. Also it is easier on your joints than running because if you are doing it properly your toes only get a few inches off of the ground.

    1. oooo, I actually thought about including the rowing machine in this article. There’s a big correlation between rowing and swimming with 200 Freestyle times. I can’t remember the post I read about it though. Good point on jumping rope too!

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