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Exercise Selection & Building A Menu For Your Team

Updated: Dec 13, 2022

Written By: Avery Adams

In Part 1 of this series, we discussed the overwhelming amount of content that lay ready at your fingertips. If you missed part 1, be sure to check that out here before diving into this article.

Let’s start looking into the selection process and how we can integrate and challenge every swimmer top to bottom.

As mentioned before, as we scroll through various websites and Instagram pages. We will see a whole lot of flashy, like-worthy videos that showcase something different and out of the ordinary.

However what we typically see on social media isn't necessary or safe to implement for our athletes.

Let’s take a look at four safe movements that we can implement all the way through our programs.

Note, for the 10 & unders, I do not stress going into traditional push ups right away as they are not going to have the general strength to hold proper form, and like anything, I like to have something to add later on down the road.

Exercises that are primarily frontal support such as Crawling, Shoulder Taps or ABC Push Ups can get the job done and in my mind actually give us a larger bang for our buck due to the dynamic nature of the movement itself.

How did I come up with this menu? Well if we take a closer look here, these are exercises that have stood the test of time.

Nothing fancy, nothing unsafe or random group to group.

What are we looking for in our efforts to build this menu?

  1. Progression group to group

  2. Complete integration of exercises top to bottom

  3. To gain a bird's eye view of what exercises you are programming

  4. Removes any potential guess work

We are looking to implement sound progressions group to group, by selecting sound exercises, and by choosing the aforementioned - we can help our athletes grow and progress through a system that will lead to strong, fast, healthy athletes.

Lastly, one more important note on the topic of mastering skills.

In order to master any skill, the athlete must have time to do so. Much like the drills we select for our swimmers that need to start at 8 and carry all the way through the system, we want to have our swimmers master the skills that we are aiming to teach them on land.

Too much variation, too many exercises leads to a less than ideal training stimulus and a lack of mastery within the program.

Now I am looking at a few things when it comes to accessing my training menus;

  1. What did we do last year?

  2. What do the athletes need in order to progress? Anything? 1-2 adjustments?

  3. What can I take out that isn’t necessary?

In all actuality, only minor changes should be made each year, additionally small minor variations can make a program feel entirely new!

Why is it important to keep 99% of the program the same?

Simply put, we need to MASTER the skills at hand. By constantly changing the exercises we lose the technical proficiency that is gained over time, by doing the (by-in-large), same exercises at different rep ranges, variations and intensities year after year.

So where do we go from here? In Part 3 of this series we will look at building a season plan with the exercises that you see above.

As the saying goes, failure to plan equals planning to fail.

Talk soon!

Coach Avery Adams, ISSA ST & Nutrition, has a long history of coaching swimming and has a passion for coaching age group athletes. From stints at Lakeside Seahawks, Wildcat Aquatics, Volunteer Coach at Kentucky and most recently, South Carolina Swim Club - Avery believes coach education is a continual process. His work has given him the opportunity to coach at LSC, Zone and National Select Camps as well as work with some of the best coaching minds in the country. This passion for growth has lead to his newest venture in strength training and creating movement programming specific to the developing swimmer. Stay tuned for more on Coach Avery!

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