Swimmers often use dryland exercises as an adjunct to their in water training. Previous studies have determined that resistance training is beneficial as cross training to endurance exercise, but that non-specific resistance training has no effect on swim performance. These studies have led to the conclusion that swimmers, more so than other endurance athletes, must use sport specific resistance exercises to see gains in swim performance. The SwimPower 3 program was developed to offer swimmers and triathletes specific resistance exercises to improve swim speed.
Our objective was to determine the effects of eight weeks of technique and power training with resistance tubing as per instruction in the SwimPower 3 program on swimming speed performance.
Age group athletes (n = 9) performed a pre and post test consisting of 100 yard/meter timed swim and 500 yard/meter timed swim.
Athletes were instructed in proper use of resistance tubing by Steve Tarpinian, triathlon coach, as per SwimPower 3 program. All athletes were required to swim at least one hour, three times per week and perform resistance tubing exercises as instructed before each swim practice.
Athletes were also instructed in basic shoulder stabilization exercises to be performed daily. No or very light (two pounds or less) resistance is used for these stabilization exercises in conjunction with the program.
Athletes' form while performing the SwimPower 3 exercises was reviewed by Steve Tarpinian at least twice during the program. Athletes were progressed in number of repetitions of exercicses as the program went on and were re-tested after eight weeks of the SwimPower 3 program.
Eight out of nine athletes improved their 100 yard/meter swim after the SwimPower 3 program. Only one athlete did not improve, but increased his 100 yard/meter time by 1 second. The range of change in 100 yard/meter times was from +0:01 seconds to -0:08 seconds. The average change in 100 yard/meter was an improvement of 2.8 seconds.
All nine athletes improved their 500 yard/meter timed swim after the SwimPower 3 program. The range of change in 500 yard/meter times was from an improvement of 0:07 seconds to an improvement of 1:01 minutes. The average improvement was 26.3 seconds.
Athletes who began the program with slower 100 and 500 yard/meter swim times made greater improvements than athletes who began with faster swim times.
Eight weeks of the specific SwimPower 3 exercises combined with three hour long sessions of swimming produced an improvement in age group triathletes' 100 and 500 yard/meter swim time trials. In this study, all athletes made improvements in swim times. An average improvement of 2.8 seconds over a 100 yard/meter time was observed and as well as an average improvement of 26.3 seconds over a 500 yard/meter time trial was observed. From this information, we may conclude that athletes would further improve times over longer distances. Athletes who began the program with slower times made the greatest gains over eight weeks, while faster athletes also made gains. This indicates that while all swimmers can improve swim times by using the SwimPower 3 program, weaker swimmers have the most to gain.
All participants accepted into the trial program began with a minimum of eight weeks of swim training at the same volume the program required prior to the start date, so that the only addition to their training was the dry land exercises of SwimPower 3.
The Effects of SwimPower 3 Tubing Exercises on Swim Speed
by Dr. Nicole Skidmore, PHD, Stony Brook University
SwimPower 3 program test for effectiveness on nine swimmers, conducted at the Nassau County Aquatic Center, NY; May/June 2008.
This objective test data is meant to show the typical results achieved by utilizing the SwimPower 3 protocols. The number of participants used is too small for a statistical significance, however, we feel it gives a good indication of what the potential for improvement is when you combine technique and sport specific strength training together in the correct way. Don't take this study's word for it, try it yourself to find out what your potential is.