Atlantis introduced regular land training for senior squads in 2009, and has since expanded it to more of the squads, and we have also introduced a weekly Pilates session for the senior squads, which is proving to be very successful.
The aims of land training are:
To build strength - particularly core strength;
To increase fitness levels;
To improve flexibility.
This training, when combined with water-based training, will noticeably improve swimming speed.
By working the full range of movement of muscles and joints, the swimmers stroke technique in the water will be improved through increased reach, power and efficiency. The swimmer will gain more strength by working with resistance bands and body weight exercises. Land training will also help to reduce injuries as it targets the stabilising muscles around the joints and so increases overall muscle/joint stability.
Increasing core strength will improve the swimmers posture, help their movements to be more efficient and improve the swimmer's body position in the water.
Currently there are two groups within the land training squad. The first group (focusing on development for regional and national competitions) started in January 2009 and trains for two one-hour sessions per week (on Tuesdays and Thursdays). There has recently been an opportunity to introduce a second group that is training one hour per week (on Thursdays). We hope to develop these swimmers to progress them up to 2 hours a week and then introduce more swimmers. The swimmers are asked to join the land training squad by Head Coach Bill Penny. Bill will select a swimmer by their commitment to swim training and their overall swimming improvement.
All sportsmen at the top level will cross-train in order to achieve their goals. Each will follow a carefully tailored programme consisting of weight training, core work and flexibility to complement their sport's demands. Our swimmers are too young to be doing weights as their bodies are still growing and developing. Land training sessions will utilise resistance bands and body weight exercises to achieve the same goals. This is the first step to cross training, which will become increasingly important as they progress through their swimming careers. These sessions help our swimmers learn correct technique and execution of exercises whilst giving them knowledge of the body, how it works and how to look after it.
We gently progress our swimmers from basic to more advanced exercises, as each child gains strength and body awareness. Each swimmer's progress will monitored individually within the group.
Should a swimmer sustain an injury, training is adjusted to cater for rehab needs as directed by medical professionals whose opinions should be sought in such an event. In these circumstances, land training and wider swimming training may well have to stop until fitness is reached.