Swimmers, Stay in Shape Without a Pool: 10 Exercises to Try

Photo of author

Swimming is a unique sport that requires access to a pool for training and competition. However, there may be instances when swimmers find themselves without pool access due to pool closures, travel, or other circumstances. While nothing can truly replace the benefits of swimming, swimmers can still stay active, maintain their fitness levels, and work on their swimming skills even without a pool. In this article, we will explore various pool-less training methods and exercises that can benefit swimmers during these times.

1. Dryland Swim-Specific Exercises

Dryland swim-specific exercises aim to replicate the movements and muscles used in swimming. These exercises target the major muscle groups involved in swimming strokes and help swimmers develop power, strength, and endurance. Here are a few examples of dryland swim-specific exercises:

2. Technique and Form Drills

Improving technique and form is crucial for swimmers to enhance their performance in the water. Swimmers can work on refining their technique even without a pool through dryland drills that focus on specific aspects of their strokes. Here are a few technique and form drills that can be performed outside the water:

3. Cross-Training Activities

Cross-training activities can help swimmers maintain their fitness levels and provide a break from the repetitive nature of swimming. These activities engage different muscle groups, improve overall fitness, and prevent overuse injuries. Here are a few cross-training activities that can benefit swimmers:

4. Mental Training

Swimming requires mental strength, focus, and resilience. During pool-less periods, swimmers can work on their mental game to maintain mental toughness and enhance performance when they return to the water. Here are a few mental training strategies to consider:

  • Visualization: Spend time visualizing successful swims, races, and goals. Visualization can improve mental focus, build confidence, and enhance overall performance.
  • Mental Imagery: Use mental imagery techniques to rehearse swimming movements, races, and strategies in your mind. This technique can help improve technique, race execution, and mental preparedness.
  • Goal Setting: Set specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals for your swimming. Write them down, review them regularly, and adjust them as necessary. Goal setting helps provide direction, motivation, and a sense of purpose.

While pool-less training cannot fully replace swimming, swimmers can use this time to focus on other aspects of their training, such as technique, strength, and mental preparation. It is important to consult with a qualified coach or trainer to ensure proper form, progression, and individualization of the exercises. Stay motivated, stay active, and keep swimming!


Q1: Can swimmers maintain their fitness without access to a pool?

A1: Yes, swimmers can maintain their fitness through alternative exercises such as dryland workouts, cardiovascular exercises, strength training, and flexibility exercises. These activities help swimmers stay in shape and improve their overall swimming performance.

Q2: How can swimmers improve their swimming technique without a pool?

A2: Swimmers can work on refining their technique by performing dryland drills that focus on specific aspects of their strokes. Technique and form drills, such as arm swings, kick drills, and balance exercises, can be done outside the water to improve stroke efficiency and body positioning.

Q3: What are some dryland exercises that benefit swimmers?

A3: Dryland exercises such as resistance band workouts, bodyweight exercises, Pilates, and yoga help swimmers build strength, improve flexibility, and enhance overall fitness. These exercises target the muscle groups used in swimming and can be performed anywhere.

Q4: How can swimmers improve their cardiovascular fitness without a pool?

A4: Swimmers can maintain their cardiovascular fitness through alternative exercises such as running, jogging, cycling, and high-intensity interval training (HIIT). These activities elevate the heart rate and improve cardiovascular endurance.

Q5: Can dryland workouts replace pool training for swimmers?

A5: While dryland workouts cannot fully replace pool training, they provide an opportunity for swimmers to maintain their fitness levels, improve strength, and work on specific aspects of their swimming performance. Dryland workouts can be a valuable supplement to pool training during pool-less periods.

Q6: How can swimmers stay mentally focused without access to a pool?

A6: Swimmers can work on their mental game by incorporating mental training techniques such as visualization, mental imagery, and goal setting. These strategies help improve mental focus, build confidence, and enhance overall mental well-being.

Q7: How important is flexibility for swimmers?

A7: Flexibility is crucial for swimmers as it improves range of motion, enhances stroke efficiency, and helps prevent injuries. Incorporating stretching and mobility exercises into a routine can help swimmers maintain and improve their flexibility even without a pool.