Category Archives: Dryland training

HOW TO: Theraband work for shoulder strengthening

I’ve been picking up pain in my left shoulder for the past couple of weeks again, so I’ve just started doing a little Theraband work, good old swimmer’s shoulder.

Therabands are just large elastic (latex) bands, categorised according to resistance/strength, which can be used to isolate and work specific muscles. The colour indicates the amount of resistance. Their great advantages over using dumbbells or free weights are the muscle isolation ability and not least their portability and vast flexibility in isolating muscles.

I’m just using a medium green band and I’m concentrating on shoulder adduction (inward), abduction (outward), internal and external rotation and rotator cuff. Door handles make great anchor points when needed, and many exercises don’t need any anchor.

Here are some examples of great swimming specific Theraband exercises. One of the great things is you will see the muscles being worked and may find a more suitable way of doing these for yourself.

Rotator cuff strengthening:

External rotation (also for rotator cuff strengthening).

Internal rotation:

Shoulder adduction. You can also reverse the direction of this (abduction) by using a door handle, and going diagonally up and out.

Shoulder abduction.

Triceps stretch (the latter half of the front crawl pull is a triceps extension). Another variation of this is put the lower had as high up the centre of your back as possible and extend the overhead arm.

Shoulder dislocation, one of my favourite exercises, when I remember to do it. I used to do this one with a rolled up towel also.




Related articles:

Shoulders, the swimmer’s bane. (

Stretching for swimming. (

Training Zone Chart

Just thought (since I’ve posted nothing all week) that I’d post this useful training zone chart to follow-up the metabolic energy storage and use stuff that I posted last week.

Cross reference your age, to the level of exercise you wish to do (endurance for many of us, with some threshold and maximum effort also).

These Zones are also often called Cat(egory) 1 (warm up) to Cat 5.

So for swimming, you can just check your pulse over 10 secs to determine what rate you’re at.

Using heart rate to control exercise

HOW TO: One Simple Effective Core Exercise

This core exercise is known as the Turkish Get Up and it’s pretty great.

It was, I think, originally done with a Russian Kettleball, and though Kettleballs are now well-known enough that Tesco are selling them, I figured more people are likely to have dumbbells.

The guy in the vid is using a 25 pound weight (12 kg) which he says is a good starting weight, which seems crazy to me.  Try half (or even 4kg)  to start which is all I’m doing.

Core exercises without equipment video

Stupid things I’ve done Number 3,754 involved a mountain in Switzerland, snow, an inflatable inner tube and a cliff. It led to me damaging my lower back (and therefore taking up swimming). It flares up every so often and the best option is to go back to doing some core exercises. I should do them all the time but I get fed up of them.

Anyway, here’s a great video of a wide collection of core exercises. It hurts just looking at  them.

HOW TO: Core Exercises, Part 2

OK following yesterday’s Introduction, here’s my current Core exercise set. It’s a variation from that which Eilish gave us.
It’s only takes about 15 minutes, I use a Yoga mat to do this on.

One of the main Pilates principles is curling your navel in to your spine, all the time. Core exercises are Low Intensity. You don’t need to be sweating doing these. Pilates classes often tend to be 90% elderly ladies, but Pilates is actually hugely effective. I wish I was still doing them.

Depending on what you read, there’s some confusion about the names. The Bridge in one place may be the Plank in another.

1: Seal Press to start. This is my continuing exercise for when my lower back acts up. It’s exercise Yoga name, Rising Swan x 2, each time about 5 seconds, for me. You can also do this without using the arms to push up, when it’s called the Back Extension.

2: Step Downs x 5, likeexcept lower one leg at a time to about 4 inches off the ground, and keep the legs bent.

3: Seal Press x 2

4: Elbow Bridge Plank with added leg raises, (also called Bridged Leg Lift, Plank Leg Lift or Prone Stabilizer). No. 8 on the link.

5: Seal Press x 2

6: . For our version we stretch our arms over our head instead of by the side. And push the hips up a bit more. Also the toes are pulled back a bit more.

7: Seal Press x 2

8: Side Plank (also called Side Stabilizer).

9: Seal Press x 2

10: Yoga Resting Position, also called The Child’s Pose (last picture on step 1 above).

For the Core exercises;
Step Downs, Elbow Bridge and Bridge, I’m holding for about 4 seconds repeating 5 times on each side.
For the Side Plank, I’m doing this once each side and holding for 30 seconds.
the other guys went running to the toilet directly after!

Another good one is the Superman. See pic.
If your lower back is better than mine, you can take out most (but not all) of the Seal Press Steps.

Eilish had Fire Hydrants added also for us but it does nothing for me. That said the first night we tried it two of the guys had to run immediately to the toilet after trying them, so…different exercises for different people.

Fire Hydrants: Start on your hands and knees. Maintain a 90-degree angle of your left
knee. Lift up your left leg until the thigh is parallel with your upper
body. Hold for four seconds and then lower. Repeat the same motion, but
this time continues it by forcing the knee and thigh as far to the left as
possible. Hold for four seconds. Now move your right leg, repeating the
sequence alternating the left and right legs upward, and out. This works the
back but also is great for the inner and outer thighs.

Superman: Lie face down on a mat with your arms stretched above your head (like superman). Raise your right arm and left leg about 5-6 inches off the ground (or as far as you comfortably can). Hold for 3 seconds and relax. Repeat with the opposite arm and leg.

Others to add are Crunches, Oblique curls, Bicycles crunches etc. See what works for you.

HOW TO: Core Exercises, Part 1

About 10 years I was snowboarding in Switzerland when I took a typical newbie fall on my coccyx. It took a few months to get better.
At the time I was doing a lot of running, having “retired” from competitive cycling in the mid-nineties and having looked for a while for something to fill the physical gap, as surfing wasn’t enough.
Like many cyclists I initially hated running. I wasn’t a great runner but after a few years I did find that mental space that many runners find and began to enjoy it.

However , a few years later I had another accident in Switzerland, this time also involving snow and ice, but also an inflatable tube and a high-speed launch into mid-air ending up landing in the middle of a mountain road on my back.
(I have a weakness for throwing myself off things, I can’t explain it). :-D
This time my back took longer to heal, required physiotherapy and left me with a weaker lower back. Standing or sitting straight up became difficult, and I finally developed a respect for those people with back problems.
I continued running for about a year, until one day about 4 miles out I felt what seemed like my spine “contract”, like it had suddenly been compressed and had to walk home slowly in agony.
I went back to various exercises but the one that helped me mostly recover was the ““. (Mostly because I wasn’t able to go back to running completely. Too much remaining lower back problems). Hence taking up swimming.

Anyone who watched much of the swimming during the last Olympics may recall many of the swimmers mentioning that they added Cores exercises to their training.
My experience of doing some Pilates a year ago was how impossible they seemed at first, and yet how quickly the benefits were felt.

Of course, I didn’t stick to doing them. :-(

Next, I’ll update with the Core Exercises Coach Eilish gave us.