How to keep your swim fitness up out of the water

Tri coach Joel Enoch explains how you can work on your aerobic endurance, strength, technique, muscular endurance, power and threshold on dry land


You’ve put your all into getting swim fit and then Covid-19 arrives, the pools shut and suddenly it feels like all the conditioning you’ve built will be lost – especially if you live in the north of the British Isles and open-water swimming is difficult! But it can be very easy to think that just because you can’t get into the water you can’t maintain the swim fitness you’ve worked hard to gain. So what elements actually go into being able to move through the water efficiently?


Aerobic endurance underscores swimming ability, but in addition, strength, technique, muscular endurance, power and threshold also play their part, and I believe it’s perfectly possible to maintain – even develop – each of these parameters of fitness at home and with a simple set of swim pull cords or bungee ropes from the boot of your car.

That said, it’s important to make sure movements are swim-specific to activate appropriate muscle groups, such as chest, lats and triceps. And while working on general strength and fitness is fairly easy, threshold, power and muscular endurance are much harder areas of fitness to develop when you’re not able to get in the water.

So below are a series of videos that will help you do just that. You will see videos focussed on whole-body swim-specific training, high- intensity pull cord workouts and crossfit-style sessions which demand a very high level of effort, as well as a much longer, live-streamed session with the Edinburgh Triathletes Squad.

By following these videos as often as you’d normally swim, and challenging yourself to work hard in each exercise, I believe that you can maintain and even develop swim fitness and strength while not able to access the water.

Obviously, there’s no way of maintaining feel for the water, but if you can use these sessions for fitness and strength, when the pools open again you’ll soon be back to your previous swim pace! Keep training, keep safe.


How to restart your swim training when lockdown eases

Below are a selection of videos with more at Joel’s You Tube channel