Core Workouts From 3 Olympic Swimmers

Download this FREE cheat sheet to improve your core strength and swim faster! The easy-to-use guide includes core training principles and workouts from 3 highly-decorated Olympic swimmers.

SwimCompetitive Core Training Cheat Sheet

How Often Should Swimmers Do Dry Land?

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There are many other things you can do outside of the water that influence how fast you swim, dryland training being one of them by helping to significantly improve your swimming times by building extra power and strength.

Doing dry land is a must for any swimmer that wants to be the best or outwork their competition. Dry-land is something that is taken very seriously by the elite.

Why? Added power and strength equals faster times in the water. Swimming alone doesn’t build tremendous amounts of power, but combining dry-land and swimming does exactly that. Here are a few benefits of dry-land training-

Quick Answer- Swimmers should do dry-land anywhere from 3 to 5 times per week. Dry-land training will help to strengthen important muscle groups like your lats and core. This will help you to swim faster and ultimately give you an edge in the pool.

5 Benefits of Dry-Land Training For Swimmers

Enhanced Power and Speed

There is only so much power that can be built in the water. However, when you add dry-land to your training schedule it can seriously improve your swimming performance and speed in the pool.

Exercises on land assist a lot to develop explosive power in the pool. This explosive power can be applied to starts, turns, dives, and finishes.

The added baseline of strength will also assist you to pull and push water with more power and thus swim faster to beat your opponents and smash some PBs.

Added Core Strength

Core strength is easily one of the most important factors in competitive swimming. a Strong, developed core helps to connect other muscle groups efficiently, which in return will increase power output.

Not just that, this connection will assist in a lot of aspects of a race- like for example- a strong underwater dolphin kick.

The core also plays a huge role in maintaining a correct body position, allowing for reduced resistance in the water. a Strong core will assist a swimmer to accelerate in speed faster after dives and turns.

Prevent Injuries

From personal experience, I have experienced some injuries created by swimming myself.

I know many of you probably have also experienced an injury because to be fair in a sport that is extremely physically demanding they aren’t quite all that uncommon. The repetitive motions carried out over and over in the pool can easily lead to getting injured.

Dry-land training can help in developing areas undeveloped by swimming. Like the lower back muscles for example. Swimming tends to use most of the muscles in your body, but some much more than other muscles. This leads to those muscle groups getting overdeveloped compared to your other muscle groups.

These imbalances can cause irritating injuries. Not to worry, if you do your dry-land training correctly chances of this happening are very slim to none.

Although you can still probably get injured from other things, this is going to decrease your overall potential to get injured quite a lot.

Having stronger muscle groups will also prevent injuries by distributing force correctly, allowing for less stress on joints and tendons.

Added Muscle for increased power

Swimming alone isn’t great at building muscle mass. The reason being is because the body adapts to stress very quickly.

In competitive swimming, it is very hard to increase resistance, every training session. Yes, as you progress and get stronger as a swimmer, more stress will be applied to your muscles, but the rate at which it increases is usually to slow to build significant amounts of muscle mass.

Not just that, but the resistance of the water alone isn’t enough to make large muscle mass gains. This is the reason, most swimmers tend to be more on the skinny side.

When you look at professional swimmers however, you will quickly notice that they are usually really big and carry a lot of muscle. I can guarantee, most of this muscle is built outside of the water when doing dry-land training.

The extra muscle mass allows for more surface area to pull and push water with and will make you faster. Not only that it can greatly increase the amount of power you are able to exert in a short amount of time.

Better Biomechanics

Dry-land training can help with better posture, muscle coordination, and recruitment. This can improve technique in the pool. It will also assist in stability and balance in the water.

To improve your biomechanics, you usually want to focus on exercises that strengthen large muscle groups.

Core Workouts From 3 Olympic Swimmers

Download this FREE cheat sheet to improve your core strength and swim faster! The easy-to-use guide includes core training principles and workouts from 3 highly-decorated Olympic swimmers.

SwimCompetitive Core Training Cheat Sheet

How Often Should Swimmers Do Dryland?

Now that we have discussed why dry-land is an essential part of competitive swimming let’s get to the actual question- “How often should swimmers do dry land?”.

Well, the real answer is it depends. What does it depend on? It depends on what your needs are, your genetics, your times in the pool and your eager to be faster and work harder.

With all that in mind, I can give some basic examples that you can choose from and edit as you wish so that it fits your needs.

The 3 days per week routine

This is the most basic routine, it requires you to train 3 days per week, with a day rest in between each dry-land session. The idea is to train your entire body 3 times per week, essentially a full body workout.

This is my recommended workout routine for beginners. It’s easier to get started training 3 days per week than it is to train 5 days per week. When you create your workouts, make sure to include all the muscle groups.

Here is a basic example-

  • Monday- Workout 1
  • Tuesday- Rest
  • Wednesday- Workout 2
  • Thursday- Rest
  • Friday- Workout 3
  • Saturday- Rest
  • Sunday- Rest

The 4 days per week routine

Whether you think 3 days is too little, that you can handle more or maybe you have been doing dry-land for a while and don’t classify yourself as a beginner anymore.

This is a slightly more advanced workout routine, but it is still a great option. When you choose this training routine you are going to do 2 upper body workouts and 2 lower body workouts each week. Here is an example-

  • Monday- Workout 1
  • Tuesday- Workout 2
  • Wednesday- Rest
  • Thursday- Workout 3
  • Friday- Workout 4
  • Saturday- Rest
  • Sunday- Rest

Going all out- The 5 days per week routine

This is for all you crazy swimmers out there, with crazy recovery times and also for those who have been doing dry-land for a year or two now.

Your goal should be to eventually move up from the 3-day routine to the 5-day routine. I don’t have a specific workout split for the 5-day routine since there are many different ways to approach it.

My recommendation would be to do 2 upper body workouts, 2 lower body workouts and then 1 massive core workout. You can, however, change it so that it fits you. Here is a basic example-

  • Monday- Workout 1
  • Tuesday- Workout 2
  • Wednesday- Workout 3
  • Thursday- Workout 4
  • Friday- Workout 5
  • Saturday- Rest
  • Sunday- Rest

Progressive Overloading

I just want to quickly cover a very important part of dry-land- Progressive Overloading. This basically means to make your training harder and apply more resistance to your muscles over time as you get stronger.

This is extremely important when you create your program or if you are using someone else’s program you need to make sure it has progressive overloading.

If your program doesn’t have this you won’t get any stronger and you are going to waste your time. Here are some quick tips to apply progressive overloading-

  • Add more sets.
  • Add more seconds, for exercises that use seconds.
  • Add more reps.
  • Add weight.


Dryland training is an important part of becoming a better and faster swimmer. For most swimmers I recommend doing additional dryland training 3 days per week, with 4 being the maximum. If, you however, find that 5 days per week works for you, then go for it.

author image benjamin

I am Benjamin, a competitive swimmer with many years of experience in the sport of swimming. I am very passionate about competitive swimming and love sharing everything I have learned about the sport. I specialize in swimming butterfly and my favorite event is the 100m butterfly with the 50m and 200m fly closely following.

Core Workouts From 3 Olympic Swimmers

Download this FREE cheat sheet to improve your core strength and swim faster! The easy-to-use guide includes core training principles and workouts from 3 highly-decorated Olympic swimmers.

SwimCompetitive Core Training Cheat Sheet
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