10 Best Swim Dryland Workouts


You might be thinking swimming is all about the performance in the water. However, that is not exactly the case. Swimming requires regular training but there are some days when you forget to wash your swimsuit. That is why it is important to have a backup plan – the swim dryland workout. This kind of workout is done out of the pool but it increases your strength in the water. 

Also, it is a very convenient way to target your muscles because you can do it in the comfort of your home. No active swimsuit is needed! It is perfect for the days when you wish you could have done a few more laps in the pool but simply did not have time. In this article, we will present the 10 best swimming dryland workouts.

What is Dryland in Swimming?

Dryland in swimming (often called strength and conditioning) is a workout done on land for better flexibility, increasing strength, as well as overall physical mobility. It includes many different swimming dryland workouts and movements with different levels of difficulty (from beginner exercises to more advanced exercises). The most commonly performed exercises are planks, flutter kicks, dynamic stretches, etc. The main goal of these exercises is becoming more explosive and stronger in the water while at the same time decreasing the risk of injury.

Does Dryland Help Swimming?

Dryland greatly helps swimming. Incorporating a swim dryland workout into your swimming routine, next to your swim cap and swim bag is important for three main reasons:

  • It increases the stroke rate. Doing such exercises will increase your ability to make more strokes in less time utilizing more power.
  • It prevents injury. Dryland training corrects weak core strength and muscle imbalances. This prevents injury and helps you correct your swimming technique. 
  • It improves distance per stroke. You will be able to swim farther using less strength with more power application per stroke.

What are Good Dryland Exercises for Swimmers?

Good dryland exercises for swimmers are flutter kicks, planks, superman, bridges, push-ups, etc. Such exercises focus on core strength, back muscles, arm muscles, and leg muscles, which is needed for great performance in the water. Swimming goggles and nose clips can help you feel more comfortable in the pool, but these exercises will help you achieve better results. Below are the 10 best swimming dryland workouts.

Dynamic Stretches

Experts agree that incorporating a dynamic workout is the best way to start your swimming session, whether you swim regularly or once per week. These stretches prepare your body for its peak output. This type of warm-up is done before a swim workout or a dryland workout. It could look something like this:

  • Arm circles. Doing this exercise will prepare your arm muscles for more advanced movements. Start by doing a small forward, then small reverse circles. Continue with medium forward and medium reverse circles. Finish off with large forward circles followed by large reverse circles.
  • Swinging arms. This exercise will target your triceps and open your chest. Stand with both legs apart. Your legs should be placed according to the width of your shoulders. Make a parallel movement with both of your arms, swinging them first until they reach the height of your shoulders. Swing your arms back without much effort until they are behind your body. 
  • Butt kicks. Doing this exercise will target your hamstrings. Stand with your feet around hip-distance apart and with your arms at your side. Slowly bring one heel to your buttocks, making sure the hamstring muscle is contracted. Repeat the action with the other heel, slowly picking up the pace until it seems like you are jogging in place. 
  • Plank. This dryland workout targets your core muscles. Get into a modified pushup position with elbows bent at 90 degrees, while your forearms rest on the floor. Place your elbows underneath your shoulders and look toward the floor. Make sure your body is forming a perfectly straight line for the best results. 

Upward Dog

So you didn’t have time to wash your swim trunks? No worries. This is one of the best swim dryland exercises to do if you want to open and strengthen your chest and upper body. It is best to do this exercise with a mat for comfort but you can also do it correctly without it. Your fingers should be pointing away from your body. Next, bring your elbows close to your ribcage. Press the floor firmly with your hands while making sure you inhale. Straighten your arms and lift your legs and torso a few inches off the floor. You can also enter the upward facing dog pose by starting in plank. 

Staggered Push-up

This part of the dryland workout will strengthen your chest, as well as work on your arms, biceps, triceps, and shoulders. Start by extending your legs back. Place your hands staggered slightly wider than your shoulders. One hand should be higher than the other. Next, bend your elbows and slowly start lowering your chest until it is placed slightly above the floor. Extend your arms so you push your body back up and reverse your hand position. Repeat. Make sure you inhale while you lower your chest and exhale on your way back. 

Bird Dogs

To begin one of the most beneficial ab swimming dryland workouts, start on all fours. For the best results, place your spine in a neutral position, keeping it flat. Look at the floor while tightening your abdominal muscles. Then, start slowly extending your right leg while at the same time stretching your left arm forward. Make sure you do not arch your lower back and keep your shoulders and hips still. When you are done, carefully return to the starting position and repeat the move on the opposite side. 

Plank Rotations


Are you out of your swimmer’s shampoo? You can still do a great swimming workout on the land. This swim dryland workout is great for engaging additional muscles. It works on your core, your shoulders, triceps, quads, abs, and lower back. To begin, get into the plank position, making sure your feet are placed shoulder-width apart. Engage your shoulders and core at the same time so you turn your body to the right and then stretch your right arm. When you are done with this movement, focus on the other side. When you rotate to the side, you should involve the shoulder of the supporting arm to pick your body up. 


This is one of the most commonly performed dryland workouts for glutes, hamstrings, and abs. Start by lying on your back and placing your hands at your sides. Bend your knees and place your feet flat under them. Tighten your buttock and abdominal muscles. Next, raise your hips so your knees and shoulders are connected in a straight line. Pull your belly button toward your spine and squeeze your core. Hold for about 30 seconds and then return to the starting position. 

Cross Reach Sit-Ups

This swim dryland workout targets your lower and upper abs, left and right obliques, as well as transverse abdominis. Improving core strength is essential when it comes to advancing your swimming performance. Sit on the floor and extend your legs. Reach out your arms in front of your chest, making sure your palms are facing in. 

Cross your legs, with the left one being on top of the right one. Pull your core in and lean backward creating a 45-degree angle. Sit up and reach your arms over your right thigh while you lift your right leg. Then, untwist and lower the leg as you return to the reclined position. Repeat the exercise on the opposite side. 

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Flutter Kicks

Flutter kicks are one of the most popular swimming dryland workouts which focus on your lower body as well as your core. Begin by lying on the floor. Make fists with your hands and place them between your lower back and glutes for a slight lift. Raise your legs off the ground (about 5 inches), making sure they are straight. Raise one leg higher while at the same time lowering the other leg. Repeat. For example, you could count three movements as one rep or flutter for the best results. 


Do you want to go to the pool but you still haven’t bought earplugs for swimming? This part of the swim dryland workout will focus on various muscles, such as abs, upper and lower back, hamstrings, glutes, and shoulders. Start this exercise by lying face down. Make sure your arms are stretched out over your head. Lift your chest away from the floor, making your back arch as well as contracting your back muscles and glutes. Keep looking at the floor by tucking your chin. 

Then, lift your right arm while at the same time lifting your left leg away from the floor. Aim to lift both your arm and your leg about one foot off the floor. Next, lift your left arm as you lower your right arm. Your legs will do a similar motion. Lift your right leg as you lower your left leg, creating a steady swimming-like motion. Do not lift your legs too much because this can cause overarching your lower back. Also, make sure your glutes are engaged during this exercise for optimal results. 


Although this exercise will not make you fly, it is one of the most beneficial dryland workouts to improve a weak back condition and strengthen your core. Start by lying down, making sure your arms are outstretched in front of you and your legs are straight. Then, form a bowl shape with your body by slowly raising both your legs and your arms at the same time (4-6 inches off the floor). 

Hold this position for several seconds, and then return to the starting one. You should feel your glutes, hamstrings, and lower back working together when you are holding the position. If you feel any pressure on your neck, stop and check your form. This dryland workout will make you swim easier, just like when you are using swim fins. The movement is one of the best swimming dryland workouts for core imbalance as well. 

Dryland Workout Plan

You can do this workout in three different levels – beginner (3 sets), medium (5 sets), and advanced (7 sets). No matter which level you opt for, make sure to rest up to 2 minutes in between the sets. You can start by doing one round of dynamic stretches, doing every each exercise for about 30 seconds. 

Next, do repeat the upward dog exercise 6 times, followed by 6 staggered push-ups. Afterward, try to do 12 bird dogs as well as 12 plank rotations. Continue by doing 6 bridges and 6 cross reach sit-ups. Finish off by doing 12 flutter kicks as, 12 swimmers, and 6 superman movements. The frequency of dryland training depends on your swimming habits but two to three times a week is generally recommended. 

Globo Surf Overview

It may come as a surprise to you that swimming performance can be improved both in the water and on the land. But, swimming dryland workouts are essential for strengthening your muscles and improving your swimming technique. They help swimming by making you able to swim farther using less strength and increasing your stroke rate. Another great benefit of a swim dryland workout is that it prevents injury so it makes it easier to follow a correct swimming technique.

Some of the most common dryland workouts focus on your core, back, shoulders, arms, and legs. A typical workout consists of dynamic stretches, followed by different exercises, such as planks, push-ups, flutter kicks, swimmers, etc. Incorporating these exercises into your routine is easy because they do not require any equipment. Try doing these exercises when you are out of the pool because muscle engagement is crucial for great performance.

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