Super Simple Circuits For Swimming

With the current situation around the world, most triathletes are finding themselves locked out of their local pools and gyms. After coaching swimming for over 13 years, I know a thing or two about training in less than ideal situations. Whenever my groups found themselves on land instead of in the water for various reasons, I had two staple dryland circuits I would love to throw at them.

My super simple “Fish Out Of The Water” circuits do not require any gym equipment and I recommend performing these 3-4 times a week.

Circuit 1

3-5 times with 2 minutes rest between round

1:00 Plank straight in to 10 Burpees

20 Lateral Lunges (10 each side)

10 Push Ups

10 Tricep Dips

25 Russian Twists


Circuit 2

3-5 times with 2 minutes rest between rounds

:30 plank on your right side

10 Squats

5 Diamond Push Ups

:30 plank on left side

25 Toe Touches

Here is the Why and How to perform the exercises in these two circuits:

Push-Ups and Diamond Push-Ups: 

Why to do it: This move largely benefits the pectoralis major muscle, triceps, deltoids, and the core.  Push-ups will help develop a powerful pull while keeping hips high in the water.

How to do it:

Standard Push-Ups - Place hands on the floor slightly wider than shoulder-width and arms extended.  Push your legs straight out with toes pressed on the ground. Lower your body until your arms reach a 90-degree angle.  Hold for 2 seconds and then push back up to the starting position.

Diamond Push-Ups - This is to be done the same way as standard push ups, but you will have your hands close together, making sure to touch your pointer fingers and thumbs, creating a diamond shape.


Why to do it:  This move works your entire core, making this exercise great to keep you properly aligned and will help build stamina.  There are a few variations you can do including front planks, and side planks

How to do it: 

Front Plank - Place forearms on the floor with elbows below the shoulders and arms parallel to your body.  Hold yourself up in this position, making sure to keep your body in perfect alignment. Be careful not to raise your butt in the air too high!

Side Planks - Lie on your side with your bottom arm on the floor resting on your forearm.  Keep your legs stacked on top of each other. The top arm can be alongside your body or raised in the air.


Why to do it:  This is an all-body exercise that will get your heart rate up.  Burpees are a 2-for-1 as they ramp up your cardio engine while building strength.

How to do it:  Stand with feet shoulder width apart.  Lower yourself into a squat and place your hands on the floor directly in front of you.  Jump your feet out behind you. Once they land jump your feet back in front and return to standing position.

Russian Twists: 

Why to do it: This is my favorite exercise to help develop a powerful rotation which is crucial for freestyle. 

How to do it: Sit on the ground with knees bent about 45 degree angle.  While lifting your feet off the ground rotate your shoulders and tap the floor next to you with each rotation

Toe Touches: 

Why to do it:  Works the rectus abdominis and obliques.

How to do it: Lay on your back with your feet straight in the air.  With both hands crunch up and reach for your toes trying to keep legs straight.

Front and Lateral Lunges:

Why to do it: This will help open up your hips to improve hip rotation as well as develop stronger leg muscles. 

How to do it: 

Front Lunges: Start in a standing position, step forward with one leg and squat into that leg making sure to keep knees and ankles aligned.  Hold position for 2 seconds before returning to standing position.

Lateral Lunges: Start in a standing position, step to the side, keeping toes pointed forward.  Squat onto that leg keeping weight on the midfoot. Hold position for 2 seconds before returning to a standing position.

Tricep Dips:  

Why to do it:  As the name is obvious, this exercise will develop your tricep muscles which are crucial for a powerful pull.

How to do it:  With your palms flat on a chair behind you and legs extended out, lower your body down until your arms are at a 90-degree angle.  Hold for 2 seconds and then push your body up to the starting position.

By Brittany Vocke:  Brittany is a former Division I Collegiate swimmer.  She graduated with a B.S. in Exercise Science and is a former USA Swimming coach.  She now coaches triathletes of all levels for Keep It Simple Coaching. She can be reached at

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