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Dryland Training - The Hidden Ingredient

Updated: Aug 16, 2021

Written By: Markell Lyng

Why do I train swimmers only in dryland?

Swimming was my passion. And then one day, swimming was taken from me due to a swimming shoulder injury. My shoulder injury started early on in high school, but as I continued to swim, it became increasingly worse and eventually I couldn’t swim anymore. My plan was to swim in college, it was a huge dream of mine. But this dream became unfulfilled due to my injury. The worst part - it was preventable. I coached swimming and dryland for 13 years, now I only coach dryland. My personal experience with an injury forcing me out of the sport is one reason I am so passionate about my work with swimmers in dryland. I strive to do everything possible to ensure that my swimmers don’t have their passion taken from them by an injury.

Does dryland increase performance in addition to preventing injuries?

The type of dryland I coach doesn’t only prevent injuries - it also makes swimmers so much faster! While the things these swimmers do on land are specific to their needs, abilities, and goals - the thought process is the same with all swimmers- training swimmers on land in a way they will use their bodies in the water, so they can stay injury free and swim fast! It’s not about just getting a great workout - everything they do on land will help them be better and FASTER in the water. They improve their body line, balance, coordination, strength, power, speed, reaction time, stability, and mobility - in ways that correlate to the demands of the sport. Everything they do works on something specific as to not waste their time and energy. Whether it’s improving their turns, kick, streamline, or the catch (or anything else swimming related), the focus is about how the body moves in the water, in relation to the water’s movement. It’s not just so they are stronger - strength doesn’t automatically equal speed in the sport of swimming - but making them stronger in specific way so they are more efficient and faster in the water.

What ages and levels of swimmers benefit from my dryland training and philosophy?

Between coaching for First Colony Swim Team for almost 20 years and owning a company where I train swimmers individually, I have trained thousands of swimmers on land. It is exciting to know that my dryland philosophy benefits ALL ages and levels. The youngest client I have had was 4 (although my daughter started doing dryland voluntarily as soon as she could crawl) and my oldest swimmer I have trained in dryland was 79. But it’s not just the age, it’s also the ability. I have worked with the earliest beginners to an Olympic Gold Medalist and World Record holder from the time she was an Age Group swimmer right up until preparing for the Olympic Games. Many programs don’t start dryland with the young developmental swimmers, or switch to an only weights based approach once the swimmers start getting older and faster. The thousands of developmental swimmers all the way through to the countless collegiate level and post-grad swimmers I have trained on land, has proven that all ages and ability levels will be faster and healthier by doing dryland!

How can you learn more about my dryland philosophy?

Although I train swimmers all over the world through live virtual workouts and written workouts, I am passionate about educating coaches so they can train their own swimmers as well. One of the truly exciting things I have done in my career is create an online course and membership to educate coaches on how to train their swimmers on land most effectively and efficiently. I also do consulting and speaking with individuals, teams, and LSC’s - live during non-pandemic times and virtually at any point. It is so exciting to be able to positively impact swimmers health and performance whether it is directly through training them or indirectly through training their coaches. Injuries and lack of performance take the fun and joy out of the sport. I would love to have the opportunity to help make swimming the most positive experience possible for all swimmers and coaches globally.

Markell Lyng has been coaching for First Colony Swim Team since 2001. In this time, she has coached all groups from Novice to Masters, and has been helping oversee FCST dryland conditioning since 2006. In 2014 she became FCST's Dryland Director.

In this role she serves as the Strength and Conditioning Coach for Developmental, Age Group, and Senior swimmers. Markell is also the owner of Markell, L.L.C., where swimmers, athletes of all types, and fitness clients of all ages and abilities train to reach their highest potential. Prior to becoming the Dryland Director at FCST, she was the Director of Sports Performance at an Orthopedic Surgeon practice and the Director of Wellness for a physical therapy clinic. Markell has spoken at coaching clinics and conferences for health and fitness professionals, at the US Olympic Training Center for coaches, and has led educational sessions for teams and for health and fitness professionals. She also on staff of the 2019 National Diversity and Inclusion Select Camp with roles that included leading dryland sessions for the swimmers at this camp. In 2016 Markell received the Order of Ikkos from the United States Olympic Committee for her contribution to Simone Manuel’s Olympic Medals at the Rio, 2016 Summer Olympics. Markell obtained a BS in Kinesiology and a BS in Business Management from Houston Baptist University. She is part of the 2019/2020 American Swim Coaches Association Fellows Class. She has completed two forty week Fellowships with the Gray Institute obtaining FAFS, FMR and PCM designations. She is also certified in 3DMAPS and CAFS and was Facilitator for the 2016, 2017, and 2019 GIFT classes. Markell is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association.

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2 commentaires

Markell Lyng
Markell Lyng
11 févr. 2021

Hi Jon-

Thanks so much for your question, so sorry to just respond, I had issues figuring out how to respond 😂. I totally understand this struggle and I’ve experienced the same struggle you are speaking of, both personally and teams I’ve consulted with! I’d love to speak to you and chat about the different options! One initial thought I have is utilizing circuits. You can get in a lot of exercises and fashion it in a way where you can have exercises that take up very little space in the areas necessary for that. You should see some of the circuits I’ve created in small spaces. I know things are also different with Covid protocols so that adds a…


Jon ' Big Show' Mengering
Jon ' Big Show' Mengering
04 févr. 2021

Great article. The dry-side of swimming has always fascinated me; I often times find myself short on time/resources/space or some combination thereof. Any chance you have some literature or a how-to to jump start my thinking on incorporating a dryland routine into our training model? I remember what I used to do as an athlete, but that situation/environment and the one I currently coach in are not anything alike. Any help/advice is most appreciated!

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