top of page

How Dryland Training Helps Swimmers Win Races

Written By: Chris Ritter

There have been some incredible swimming races during these Tokyo Olympics.

But one stood out in particular to me.

And not just because it was an amazing upset by a teenager swimmer who doesn't even have regular access to a long course pool to train in.

It was because it clearly showed how swimming races are actually won.

It's not and has never really been about how fast you are that determines if you win the race.

It's much more about who slows down the LEAST!

The final 10 meters of the Women's 100 Breaststroke perfectly illustrated that.

Easier said than done obviously.

But how do you best set up swimmers so they can finish strong and be one of the fastest closers?

Yes of course it's better for a swimmer to have more endurance than their competitors. And obviously some strategy to not go out too fast.

And this is probably were dryland training can help the most.

First you need to understand endurance (and power too for that matter) is one of the last athletic characteristics that you can properly develop.

This is because there are more foundational components that you need to train in your athletes first.

Too often coaches and athletes alike want to rush to the "end goal" in their training.

The first thing you should developing in your dryland program with your athletes is how well they can move and then build strength on top of those efficient movements.

Only then can you effectively develop endurance and/or power.

But if you reverse it you'll get frustration and even worse sometimes injury.

At SURGE Strength we have a specific methodology that we teach in both our FREE Dryland 101 Courses as well as in our curriculum for the SURGE Strength Dryland Certification. Both of these can be found when you create an account in the SURGE Strength Academy.

We only have open enrollment to become SURGE Strength Dryland Certified (SSDC) a few times a year and we just announced those dates on our Instagram account.

You can also submit your email so that you’ll be the first one notified when you can enroll to Become SSDC.

Keep remember that when you’re thinking through your dryland program for the upcoming season that quality movement needs to be achieved first, then strength and finally you can specialize in power and/or endurance based on the specific events you’re targeting.

Chris Ritter is the CEO of RITTER Sports Performance and the creator of SURGE Strength. Within a year of beginning to coach swimming, Chris earned his first strength & conditioning certification in 2005 before he had even earned his college degree. During his first few years of coaching he gained experience working with summer league swimmers, age-groupers, high schoolers and even college athletes at his alma mater. Having graduate from California State University, Bakersfield with a degree in Physical Education and Kinesiology, with an emphasis in Exercise Science; Chris was a part of the last class of swimmers under the the legendary coach Bob Steele. After receiving his degree Chris went on to earn numerous strength and conditioning certifications, including: CSCS, NASM-PES, USAW and NASM-CPT. As he gained more and more knowledge around strength training principles, Chris realized how much untapped potential there was for swimmers and swim coaches that applied these tactics appropriately to their program. He eventually made his way east and created an entire dryland training curriculum for one of the largest and most successful clubs on the east coast. Not only was Chris responsible for coaching most of the swimmers in their dryland training but he was also tasked with teaching the entire coaching staff how to implement his dryland training methods. This task was given to Chris in spite of him being one of the youngest coaches on staff at the time, but it also spoke to how much he had already mastered the art and implementation of dryland training. During this time Chris was also implementing dryland training for a number of swimmers preparing for the 2008 Olympic Trials and the Beijing Games. He was able to assist both Cullen Jones and Mark Gangloff in winning Gold Medals at those Olympics along with a number of other athletes that competed during the games. Shortly thereafter Chris left swim coaching full-time to pursue his dryland passion. Chris’s knowledge and excitement for dryland drove him to craft and hone programs that launched swimmers to another level of performance. His background in strength training combined with his passion for both coaching and competing in the sport of swimming has generated a brand unlike any other in the world of swimming: SURGE Strength. Through continuous improvement in both methodology and delivery, SURGE Strength has delivered dryland and strength training programs, via app, to over 1,000 athletes worldwide, logging over 20,000 workouts. SURGE Strength is also focused on dryland training education, through their regular webinars, podcast episodes, along with in-person seminars and workshops. More recently Chris and his team have created the first and only certification specifically for dryland training for swimmers, the SURGE Strength Dryland Certification. In about a years time they have already seen coaches from over 30 countries around the world become SURGE Strength Dryland Certified (SSDC). The goal of SURGE Strength is simple: Build Better Athletes to Generate Faster Swimmers.


bottom of page