Ideas on Prioritizing & Scheduling Dryland

Scheduling has to be the hardest thing to do. The key to anything that seems difficult is to break it down into pieces so the task is not as daunting. I revamp our team’s dryland program every 6 months (at the end of each season) with each of my groups to keep things interesting for myself and the athletes. If you want to read more about how I evaluate my dryland program read the full article here

Step 1:

Decide how much time you can add to each group for dryland. This will impact everything you do. The amount of time you allocate to each group will dictate what you need to focus on throughout the week. The more time you have, the more you can focus on. The less time you allocate the narrower your focus has to be.

My rough Goals for Time Allocation:

  • Beginners (new to swim specific dryland): 15-45 mins
  • Intermediate (4-6 months into swim specific dryland program): 45 mins – 1.5 hours
  • Advanced (2-4 years into swim specific dryland program): 2 – 5 hours
  • Anything above 5 hours is a little crazy unless you are a professional or in a college program.

There are a ton of variables that go into the amount of time you give groups to do dryland. The above is just a suggestion based on my experience. Below is the amount of time I give each group in my team.

  • Beginners: 30 mins / week (they are swimming 2 days / week with 45 mins in water sessions)
  • Intermediate: 1.5 hours / week (they are swimming 4 days / week with 1 hour in water sessions)
  • Advanced: 3.5 hours / week (they are swimming 5 days / week with 2 hour in water sessions)

Couple of things you want to keep in mind while allocating time:

  1. How much time can I add to their current schedule? OR How much time am I willing to replace in-water time to dryland?
  2. What level of swimmer am I dealing with? New to Water swimmers do not need as much time as my advanced swimmers.
  3. Based on how much time I allocate to dryland will determine what priorities get focused on.

Step 2:

The first thing is to prioritize the muscle chains for each group. The more experienced the athletes are in swim specific dryland the more you can focus on the smaller muscle chains.

Remember: If you are adding swim specific dryland to a group that has never done this type of dryland you need to treat them the same as the beginners! Do not think just because a high school boy can swim fast or has had a weight training class that he can do an advanced swim-specific dryland program.

Prioritizing Categories:

Step 3

With the priorities sorted out and time allocated, it all needs to be organized into a schedule. I personally like a weekly schedule to ensure I am getting everything covered each week. However, it does depend on your time allocation and you may need to have a 2-week schedule.

When I was just starting out, I halved the time I was given and focused on two of the priorities each day. This helped me build muscles with a limited amount of time. So for example, in the beginning, my advanced group (who was on an intermediate level) would have 30 mins of dryland. I would do two different 15 min sets. Now, they have all advanced into the advanced level of dryland. I now divide my time up into a longer set with a mini set at the end of the lesser priority muscles. We also added time to their schedule, they are now doing 45 mins of dryland. I have decided to do a longer (25-30 mins) set of one of the more important muscles and a shorter (15-20 min) set of one of the lesser priority muscles.

I have a Google Sheets file with all of the schedules for each group. I find it easier to edit schedules and priorities in an Excel format. With Google, you do have the ability to share with other coaches and keep everyone updated! Here is a link to a blank template: Google Sheet-Dryland Schedule Bank