Dryland Training School at ASCA World Clinic 2012

This is a short write-up of my notes from the Dryland Training School with Vern Gambetta and Nick Folker from the ASCA World Clinic in Las Vegas.

It’s far from a complete summary of the full day class but should give you some food for thought.

Demystifying Common Thoughts on Dryland Training

First thing they did is introduce us to some vocabulary, so everyone “speaks the same language”. Let’s start to define the terms of Dryland and Strength Training according to Vern Gambetta.

  • Dryland – everything you do out of the water.
  • Strength Training – coordination training with appropriate resistance to handle body weight.

For both of them the core doesn’t relate only to the abdomen but it also includes the hips, back and neck as well. Core strength is assessed by measuring stability, flexibility and coordination.

Vern Gambetta started the morning with the following quote:

So ask yourself when planning your dryland/strength training – Are you making your swimmers better or are you just making them tired? A good dryland/strength training program is adaptable and progressive. Training is cumulative and a successful training system, of which dryland is one component, will assure that your athletes are ready technically, tactically, physically and psychologically.

Coach Gambetta defines a training system with the following formula:

3M + 3P = Training System

The 3 M’s stand for Manageable, Measurable and Motivational. The 3 P’s stand for Practical, Personal and Proactive. With that in mind, the next question you should ask yourself is “is it appropriate?”. There was an explosion of injuries related to dryland and strength training due to a lack of fundamental movement skills and general fitness base. Nowadays, with you YouTube it’s easy for us to find something crazy someone else is doing in their dryland routine or in the gym and we’re quick to try it. But just because it looks cool, doesn’t mean it’s going to help you.

Coach Gambetta and Coach Folker also wanted to challenge our thinking with the statement that it is pointless to try to recreate water environment in dryland training or simply train specific muscles. The brain does not recognize individual muscles, it recognizes patterns of movements. Also in planning your training programs, you should put strength before strength endurance as you can’t endure a quality you haven’t developed (effort ≠ intensity).

Leg Circuit

To finish up a leg circuit Coach Gambetta shared with us that he has all of his swimmers do. He usually has them go 5 rounds without any rest in between – “short but sweet”.

Exercise / # of repsMini1/2Full
Lunge (each side)31020
Step-up (each side)31020
Jump squat31020

Book tip by Coach Gambetta called “How To Be Fit” (Amazon Affiliate Link) by Robert Kiphuth.