I have a 15 year old client who is a competitive swimmer. He wants to make the Olympic Trials in 2008. Do you have programs that would be appropriate for a carry over effect in the pool? He is a sprinter (best race is 50 yard freestyle).
Prior to developing a strength or dry land training regimen for a high school athlete (or any age athlete), the trainer should perform an in depth consultation with the athlete and his parents, and if the coach is available, utilize the coach as well.
Specifically, it is best to know as much as you can about the following:
- The swimmer’s present condition
- The swimmer’s age and gender
- The swimmer’s event specialty, seasonal goals, as well as long term goals and past peak performances
- The swimmer’s current swimming periodization (i.e., the micro, macro and meso-cycles of their training)
- The volume of his training (in the pool and whatever he may be doing strength-wise on the side with his current swim coach)
- Frequency and distribution of training sessions
- Workload and intensities the swimmer may be performing in given swim sessions and during specific training periods
These are all crucial factors to consider when training an athlete to compete on the National (and potentially World!) level.
I’ve created a spreadsheet for you, detailing the seasonal scheduling needs of a swim coach for his or her swimmers. Click here to view it.
That being said, strength tests need to be administered to determine the swimmer’s current level so as to progress from that level. Some of these tests can be designed by the trainer when developing the program based on the feedback from the above listed swimmer criteria.
A few key exercises utilized in swimming for strength (for examples of these, visit the PTN Exercise Library):
- Lunges with arms in a streamlined position above the head
- Squat Jumps
- Plyometric Jumps & Leg Power Drills (added into a program after the first two exercises have been well established with the swimmer)
- Push Up Holds
- Push Ups
- Rotation Push Ups
- Extended Arm Push Ups
- Split Arm Push Ups
- Lumbar Holds
- Pull Ups
The following are “tried and true” pieces of equipment that can always be utilized in setting up a well rounded program for a high school sprint swimmer: medicine balls for upper body and core strength, a swim bench and/or stretch cords to simulate the specialized stroke of the swimming client and focus on stroke-specific strength and a stability ball for core work.
As mentioned earlier, to pinpoint a successful program for a 15 year old sprinter whose goal is the 2008 Olympic Trials requires quite a bit more knowledge on the background of the swimmer and his current swim training. The exercises I’ve mentioned are great strength-building exercises for swimmers, but the sets, repetitions and so forth should be determined based on where the swimmer is in his seasonal training design.