Adapting Swim Workouts November 20, 2020 22:05 Updated Follow Not signed in? Log into your Purple Patch account for full access to your education program for coaches and athletes. You need to sign in to view this page. COVID-19 has thrown quite a wrench into triathlon training - and for many, that wrench has landed squarely at the deep end of the local swimming pool. However, that doesn't mean you have to turn your back on building swim-specific strength and fitness, nor frustrate yourself leaping back into swim workouts after a months-long break. Below, we've assembled several swim-based fitness options into one place for you to peruse. So: what exactly can you do about your swim training when your usual plans have ...dried up? Tool #1: Swim Bands Swim bands, usually sold under the brand name StrechCordz, offer a way to build and maintain swim-specific strength and muscle memory on dry land. You can purchase them here or here (or many other places online). Look for the version with paddles rather than handles if possible, and purchase the yellow weight unless you can swim on a send off of at least 1.30/100 yards or 1.40/100 meters. One important note: dry-land swim work isn't truly a replacement for swimming - and you shouldn't think of it as such. For one thing, you simply won't be able to perform a swim band workout that's as long as a traditional pool workout. Swim band workouts are relatively quick (that doesn't mean easy!) and highly interval-driven. Swim bands don't replicate a full normal swim stroke, nor do they give you any help in terms of practicing your breathing or kick. Think of them as a swim-specific upper-body workout and stroke form drill, rather than simply a dry-docked swim workout. Once you've got your bands, use these resources to get started: Matt Dixon's Swim Bands 101: The Patch: Swim Band Technique Coach John Stevens on using a weight bench for band sessions: The Patch: Using a Weight Bench with Swim Bands Coach John Stevens on common swim band mistakes: The Patch: John Stevens on Swim Band Mistakes Matt Dixon on Swim Band Technique & Functional Strength A basic warmup: The Patch: Swim and Swim Band Warmup And then dive into these resources to add swim band workouts to your training: Replace your Baseline swim sessions with the Swim Band sessions from the Today's Plan Optional Workout Library (not sure how to use the Optinal Workout library? Give us a shout!) Swim along with one of the Swim Band session replays Tool #2: Supplemental strength and neuromuscular connection Anyone who's ever used an ankle strap or a full Eney buoy knows that swimming is about much more than your arms. Core strength, well-established neuromuscular connections, and multi-axis stability are critical for powerful and efficient swimming. You may not be performing a front crawl, but strength work will still pay dividends once you get back into the water. Do the weekly strength sessions in the Baseline plan - these target muscles critical for core engagement, stability, and rotation, which will help you retain good body position in the water and maximize the efficiency of your stroke. Don't skip 'em! If you want more work: drop in additional core workouts from the Optional Workout Library in Today's Plan. Join one of our live core strength and activation classes: Mondays at 9:30am PDT with pro Sarah Piampiano, and Tuesdays at 1pm PDT / Saturdays at 9am PDT with coach Mike Olzinski. You can get the Zoom links for those, and all our other upcoming events, here. Can't join live? No excuses! We've got replays of all the sessions in the Workout Library right here in the Education hub: INDEX: Core, Mobility, & Activation Strength Session Replays Dust off your rowing machine / ergometer. Rowing is a great addition to your training to help build both strength and cardiovascular endurance. Tool #3: Modifications for your swim workouts We urge you, first and foremost, to take advantage of whatever water you have available. You may need to get creative as you adapt traditional pool workouts to open water and/or highly restricted lap pool time slots. If that means sacrificing interval specificity because you've only got the ocean to swim in, or cutting back the main set of a session because your gym is only offering 30-minute lane reservations - do it! Any opportunity to maintain the feel of the water is one of value. For pools: If you are restricted to a limited amount of time per session and/or number of workouts, focus on getting the meat of the session in, and lean a little more to higher intensity. Low volume is balanced out by ramping intensity. Check out Matt Dixon's recommendations here: The Patch: Matt Dixon on Adapting Swim Sessions If you're returning to swimming after having had limited access the last few months, you may also want to take a look at our Return To Swim Protocol - available as a PDF, as well as a build in your Today's Plan Optional Workout Library For open water: If you only have lake or ocean access, focus on navigation skills and high variance. It is best to manage speed-play by counting strokes. If you only have lake or ocean access, you can also swap out your Baseline swim sessions for the open water workouts in the Optional Workout library in Today's Plan. For tethered swim setups: Swimming with a tether is actually in a similar category to swim bands: while closer, it's still not quite equivalent to a traditional swim workout, and shouldn't be viewed that way. If you have access to a pool and tether setup, we'd recommend using a short tether that can be anchored to the wall, with buoy to help keep the hips up. You won’t benefit from long and slow band-work, instead focus on higher power work generally. Count your strokes and intervals of 25 strokes to 100 strokes -- with short rest - is higher value. Tool #4: Coach Consults Last but not least: take advantage of our Purple Patch coaching team's wisdom! They can: Help you build out swim-specific customizations to your Baseline training Provide feedback on your form and technique based on video clips you provide Work with you on the best options for scaling or adjusting swim workouts effectively to allow you to continue working towards your specific swim performance goals Related articles The Patch: Swim and Swim Band Warmup The Patch: Matt Dixon on Adapting Swim Sessions The Patch: John Stevens on Swim Band Mistakes Nail Your Swim If I cancel my Tri Squad subscription, do I get to keep my training log and data?