What is Dryland Training?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 01 January 2020
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Dryland training is a form of athletic training which is practiced by some swimmers and skaters. These individuals do workouts on dry land or out of skates so that they can perform more effectively in the water or on the ice. The benefits of dryland training are debated. Some athletes argue that it improves their performance, while others may not notice a major difference. It is a good idea to get the advice of a coach when working on a dryland training routine, because exercises used by athletes on land are not all necessarily useful for suitable for athletes who are developing their bodies for the ice or water.

Swimmers can include competitive swimmers in all areas of swimming as well as divers and synchronized swimmers. Hockey players, inline skaters, figure skaters, and other people who use ice skates can also sometimes benefit from dryland training. For any athlete, the goal is to increase strength, stamina, flexibility, coordination, and speed.

One reason to practice dryland training is because athletes cannot always access facilities during the off season. Swimmers who rely on an outdoor pool, for example, might not be able to do very much swimming in the winter. Another reason is to vary the athletic routine, something which is generally viewed as beneficial for health reasons as well as reasons of athletic performance. A varied routine keeps the body toned and fit and pushes athletes to develop new skills.


Dryland training can include a variety of exercises, ranging from yoga to running. Weight training to develop muscle strength is common, while yoga, pilates, and related activities can develop flexibility, core strength, and coordination. Things like running and biking may be used to work on endurance and to help athletes develop explosive power. All of this conditioning is designed to help the athlete perform better on the ice or in the water while also keeping the athlete in good shape, which will reduce the risk of injuries.

Numerous dryland training routines can be found online and in instruction manuals, usually with notes about adjustments which can be made for different stages of training as well as people with differing levels of fitness and ability. A coach or personal trainer can also work personally with an athlete to develop a routine tailored to his or her needs. Some athletes also find that it helps to work out with a friend who can provide focus and assistance, and buddies are essential for activities like running and weight training for safety.


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