Dryland and Stroke Biomechanics

Take Home Points:

  1. Strength training may have a positive effect on swimming biomechanics.
  2. Individualized dryland programs are necessary, considering the effects of dryland on future biomechanics.
  3. More research on the effects of land strength and dryland are required.

This is an example chapter of Dryland for Swimmers. Order your copy to day for $59.99!
Biomechanics are the largest contributor for swimming success. A possible explanation for this might lie in the nature of swimming; forces being applied against a fluctuate element with the posture of the human body being the most important vector against propulsion. Swimming performance is thus determined by the athletes’ ability to produce forward motion while reducing water friction, or drag (Toussaint 1990; Pate 1984). The possible biomechanical effects (propulsive abilities and drag) from drylandmust also be considered. Unfortunately, many resistance training studies do not compare biomechanics, making the results of each study impossible to extrapolate the biomechanical results of training. 

Four studies observed improvements in stroke mechanics, specifically increased stroke length, (Toussaint 1990; Strass 1986), increased stroke rate (Girold 2006) and decreased stroke depth (Girold 2007) after strength training. None of the included studies investigated whether there was a possible training effect on active or passive drag.

Girold et al. (2006) found that improved swimming performance was positively associated with an increased stroke rate of the last 50m of a 100m freestyle time trial after 3 weeks of in-water resistance training (tethered to an elastic tube). Swimming velocity is the product of stroke rate and stroke length, (Craig 1985) and both factors should be optimized for maximal performance. Although stroke rate has been associated with maximal swimming velocity, (Wakayoshi 1995) stroke length is likely more important (Wakayoshi 1993).

For instance Craig and colleagues (1985) observed that stroke length was the factor that differentiated finalists from non-finalists during the US Olympic trials in 1984, and another study suggested that increased maximal velocity was an effect of increased stroke length (Wakayoshi 1993).

Girold et al. (2006) found decreased stroke depth after both combined resisted- and assisted-sprint swim training (tethered to an elastic tube pulling against or towards swimming direction), and dryland strength training. The researchers found increased stroke rate both in the combined resisted- and assisted-sprint group and in the control group, but not in the strength training group. Although the findings were not fully consistent, the authors concluded that the decreased stroke depth was a consequence of maintained stroke length when stroke rate was increased. However, if body rotation remains stable, decreased stroke depth may reduce the biomechanical momentum of the propulsive muscles, and thus decrease the potential for propulsion.

In the study from Toussaint and Vervoorn, (1990) they observed increased stroke lengths at equal maximal swimming velocities after resistance training on the MAD system. The observed change was suggested to come from increased maximal swimming power, although maximal swimming velocity was unchanged. Similar observations were also made after dryland maximal strength training in the study from Strass, (1986) but not in the studies from Aspenes et al., (2009) Trappe and Pearson, (1994) Tanaka et al. (1999) or Roberts et al. (1991). Faude et al. (2008) compared the effects of low volume training with high-intensity versus high- volume training with low intensity, and observed no differential effects on mean stroke rates in either 100m or 400m maximal freestyle. High volume, low-intensity training is sometimes recommended for improving swimming economy, but none of the studies included in this review support that notion. However, the hypothesis needs more studies before any conclusion can be drawn.

Strength training may have positive effects on stroke characteristics, but so far the evidence is inconclusive. Future RCT studies can probably be designed to study the effect of, or preservation of, stroke characteristics with strength training.

Order Dryland for Swimmers 


  1. Girold S, Maurin D, Dugué B, Chatard JC, Millet G. Effects of dry-land vs. resisted- and assisted-sprint exercises on swimming sprint performances. J Strength Cond Res. 2007 May;21(2):599-605
  2. Girold S, Jalab C, Bernard O, Carette P, Kemoun G, Dugué B. Dry-land strength training vs. electrical stimulation in sprint swimming performance. J Strength Cond Res. 2012 Feb;26(2):497-505.
  3. Aspenes S, Kjendlie PL, Hoff J, et al. Combined strength and endurance training in competitive swimmers. J Sports Sci Med 2009 Sept; 8 (3): 357-65.
  4. Aspenes ST, Karlsen T. Exercise-training intervention studies in competitive swimming. Sports Med. 2012 Jun 1;42(6):527-43
  5. Toussaint HM, Vervoorn K. Effects of specific high resistance training in the water on competitive swimmers. Int J Sports Med 1990 Jun; 11 (3): 228-33
  6. Craig Jr AB, Skehan PL, Pawelczyk JA, et al. Velocity, stroke rate, and distance per stroke during elite swimming competition. Med Sci Sports Exerc 1985 Dec; 17 (6): 625-34
  7. Wakayoshi K, Yoshida T, Ikuta Y, et al. Adaptations to six months of aerobic swim training: changes in velocity, stroke rate, stroke length and blood actate. Int J Sports Med 1993 Oct; 14 (7): 368-72
  8. Trappe S, Pearson D. Effects of weight assisted dry-land strength training on swimming performance. J Strength Cond Res 1994 Nov; 8 (4): 209-13.
  9. Tanaka H, Costill DL, Thomas R, et al. Dry-land resistance training for competitive swimming. Med Sci Sports Exerc 1993 Aug; 25 (8): 952-9
  10. Strass D. Effects of maximal strength training on sprint performance of competitive swimmers. In: Ungerechts BE, Wilke K, Reischle K, editors. Vth International Symposium of Biomechanics and Medicine in Swimming; 1986 Jul 27-31. Bielefeld: Human Kinetics Books, 1986: 149-56
  11. Faude O, Meyer T, Scharhag J, et al. Volume vs. intensity in the training of competitive swimmers. Int J Sports Med 2008 Nov; 29 (11): 906-12
By Dr. G. John Mullen received his Doctorate in Physical Therapy from the University of Southern California and a Bachelor of Science of Health from Purdue University where he swam collegiately. He is the owner of COR, Strength Coach Consultant, Creator of the Swimmer's Shoulder System, and chief editor of the Swimming Science Research Review.

Dryland for Swimmers

Dr. G. John Mullen, DPT of Swimming World Magazine, USA Swimming and COR
breaks down the research and applies it to dryland for swimmers!

 Stop Wasting Your Time with Poorly Designed Dryland Programs!

 Dryland for Swimmers breaks down dryland and gives you the tools to provide effective, evidence-based dryland programs!

Order your copy today for only $59.99!

Ever wonder what to do for dryland and where to start? If so, this product is for you! As a Physical Therapist and Swimming Strength Coach, I work with many swimmers looking for a safe, effective and progressive dryland program. 

This product breaks down the current literature on strength training, injury
prevention, recovery, breathing, and much more! 

I've used these techniques with Masters swimmers to Olympic athletes, helping each one move easier and more effectively out and in the water. 

As you can imagine, I've seen it all, and after working with such a wide variety of people, I've come away with one big lesson:

No Two People Move the Same... Including You

When I started this project, I knew it could make a difference in the swimming community, as many simply practice what they've seen others do. This product will catapult you ahead of other coaches and swimmers, allowing you to understand what we currently know and what still needs to be determined!

Also, this product points out what to do for teams looking for dryland. Specifically, there are templates dryland programs for every group on your team!.

I hate to say it, but every sport is full of unqualified people who lack the educational background and the practical hands-on experience to know what works and what doesn't. This product bridges the gap for dryland!

Dryland for Swimmers Is Like Nothing You've Ever Seen Before...

This isn't just a boring, out-dated dryland manual. This program gives you everything you need for your team! 

Most important, it does all of this at a very affordable price.

Don't just take my word for it, see what clients and fitness professionals have to say about my approach to coaching:

"John Mullen is a true professional and a clear expert in the field of sports medicine and injury prevention in swimming. His Troubleshooting Manual is clear, concise, and extremely well-presented. It directly addresses critical issues that coaches deal with on a daily basis with their athletes. This manual is the best on the market and will make every coach more adept at understanding swimming physiology, and thus helping our athletes with healthier and longer swimming careers.

Thanks for the great work and all that you do for the world of swimming!"

- Don Heidary, Head Coach, Orinda Aquatics

"I like the approach since there is so much more to developing athletes and if they aren’t tuned the right way and or don’t understand how to manage their environment, then the chances of success are essentially blind luck."
- Jonty Skinner, Alabama Swimming and Diving Coach

"Since using Dr. John's dryland system, our kids have recovered faster from workouts. Plus we've seen a great reduction in injuries, while enhancing their performance." 

- John Bitter, Santa Clara Swim Club Head Coach

"G. John Mullen's advice combines years of swimming experience with practical medical guidance."
- Paul Yetter, 7- time member of USA Swimming's National Team Coaching Staff

"John, a former swimmer, is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and a Certified Strength and Conditioning specialist; he works with swimmers on a daily basis, and he is one of the foremost experts." 

-Chris Plumb, Head Coach Carmel Swim Club
“I have been a fan of Dr. Mullen’s work for many years. We have built a friendship based on our shared passion for the sport of swimming, as well as the pursuit of excellence in a healthy, safe and efficient manner.”

“Dr. Mullen is an expert in human movement in an aquatic environment. This book provides practical and easy to use solutions to swimming specific physical challenges that occur as the result of normal training and competition.”
-William Dorenkott, Head Coach Ohio State Women's Swim team

Dryland for Swimmers Maximizes Your Training Results Without Wasting Your Time

What Does the Dryland for Swimmers Include? 

Dryland for Swimmers includes:

The Dryland for Swimmers E-book - $100 Value
The base on which everything is built. This guide walks you through everything you need to know to on dryland. 

The Dryland for Swimmers Video Database - $99.99 Value

This is a highly focused collection of videos covering dryland techniques, mobility spots, stretching techniques, and video lectures. You can watch and listen to me coach an athlete through every exercise in the program. Trust me; you'll be utilizing these videos for a long time; it's like your own private coaching seminar with me. I go through cues and other intricacies of form to ensure you do all the exercises perfectly.

TOTAL value of Dryland for Swimmers? $199.99.

Just to compare - if you were to fly here to Santa Clara and somehow snag a coveted spot in my personal coaching schedule, you would expect to pay a personally designed program for about $1000.

With all these resources, it's safe to say that I've given you every tool you will need to get stronger, perform better, and build a leaner, more athletic body; all while teaching your body to move more efficiently without any nasty aches and pains.

60 Day Money Back Guarantee

I am so confident that you will be thrilled with your purchase that I am offering a no-questions-asked 60 day money back guarantee. If you're not happy with your purchase, just let me know within 60 days and you'll get every penny back, no questions asked.

Though it's called a "handbook," this isn't some book that is going to sit on your bookshelf and collect dust. Rather, it's a thorough and expansive resource that will suit your goals over the next few years, letting you use it over and over again.

I'm not an "Internet Fitness Writer" I Walk the Walk!

If you've read up until this point, you know my name is Dr. John Mullen. What you really need to know about me is that coaching and training is my life. I'd like to take a second and tell you exactly who I am.

I obtained an undergraduate degree in Health Science, followed by my Doctorate Degree in Physical Therapy, from the top rated Physical Therapy program at the University of Southern California.

I've written over many published articles and have been featured on Swimming World Magazine, Swimmer Magazine, STACK, USA Swimming, and USA Triathlon.

Most importantly, I'm also a competitive swimmer. I was lucky enough to receive a swimming scholarship from Purdue University, compete at US Nationals, and am currently a Masters World Record Holder.

I lift, I train, and I write, and have been doing so for over a decade. Dryland for Swimmers is the summation of all that experience for improving soreness, pain, and restricted muscles - the sum of both my practical and my educational background.

NOTE: Dryland for Swimmers Guide is a downloadable product. No physical products will be shipped. After you order, you will get INSTANT ACCESS to download the e-book onto your computer. The e-book format is Adobe Acrobat PDF, which can be viewed on Mac or PC. If you have any questions regarding this product please contact me at info@centerofoptimalrestoration.com.

Dryland for Swimmers Guide Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is this a one-time fee or do I pay every month?
One time. You buy Dryland for Swimmers, and you get lifetime access. You'll especially find yourself coming back to our video database over and over.
Q: Do I need any kind of special equipment?
Some simple tools from around the house and at most a ~$20 foam roll.
Q: Is this targeted at a special age group?
This product can help swimmers of any age!
Q: I have a question you haven't answered here.
While some websites make it hard to find an email address to contact, I put mine right out there: info@traingincor.com. If you have a question, email me, and I'll get it answered.

Price Today


Speed of Breathing Predicts 100-m Performance

Take Home Points on Speed of Breathing Predicts 100-m Performance

    1. The faster a national caliber swimmer can exhale air in 1 second is correlated with 100-m performance.

    Everyone is trying to predict athletic performance in youth athletes. Not unlike other
    sports, swimming research has looked at many attributes of youth swimmers, including height, strength, and lean body mass. Dr. Barbosa has lead most of this research and discussed it on this website previously

    Breathing is a unique process in swimming due to it’s hypoxic nature. Swimming practice improves pulmonary function and swimmers show higher lung volumes and pulmonary diffusion capacity compared with both nonathletic and athletic peers from other sports. This has led many to consider inspiratory muscle training. However, the forced inspiratory volume is another important factor as the faster a swimmer can breathe in air, the more air they can hold per breath and limit their breathing which often increases drag and prevents biomechanics. However, few studies have looked the relationship of respiratory capacity and sprint swimming performance.

    Seventeen national competitive swimmers (M=8, F=9; ~16.9 years) with personal records in the 100 m at 56.1 seconds for male and 65.2 seconds for female. All swimmers have been swimming 6 days per week for the past 3 years. 

    After a standard warm-up, each swimmer performed a 100-m all-out trial. Swimmers also had their physiological parameters of lung function measured using a spirometer. The subjects performed maximal inspiration followed by enforced exhalation three times. 

    Anthropometric data was also measured for each swimmer. On top of this, squat jump and countermovement jump were assessed.

    Study Results

    The male swimmers were older, taller, and heavier, with less adipose tissue than the females. Also, the males were faster in the 100-m time trial, had a higher height in squat jump and countermovement jump and nearly all pulmonary functions, except forced expiratory volume in the first second (FIV1)/forced vital capacity (FVC) and forced inspiratory volume (FIV). 

    FIV1 was negatively correlated with 100 m time trial in men and FIV1 and FVC were negatively correlated with time trial in female swimmers.

    Anthropometrics and conditional variables did not show a significant correlation in the swimmers. 


    This is the first study to demonstrate the influence of FIV1 in 100 m performance. FIV1 likely aids performance by allowing the swimmer to inhale air quicker and increase the amount of air they can inhale in a limited time. Swimmers with high FIV1 may need less respiratory frequency, produce less inspiratory muscle fatigue, increasing active limbs blood flow and reducing fatigue in these limbs, and consequently may improve performance.

    It seems inspiratory muscle training would improve swimming velocity, which has been suggested in the recent literature. 

    Practical Implication

    Respiratory capacity should be assessed by swim teams, if looking for predicting performance. Also, coaches must consider using inspriatory muscle training.  


    1. Noriega-Sánchez SA, Legaz-Arrese A, Suarez-Arrones L, Santalla A, Floría P, Munguía-Izquierdo D. FORCED INSPIRATORY VOLUME IN THE FIRST SECOND AS PREDICTOR OF FRONT CRAWLPERFORMANCE IN YOUNG SPRINT SWIMMERS. J Strength Cond Res. 2014 Jul 21. [Epub ahead of print]

    By Dr. G. John Mullen received his Doctorate in Physical Therapy from the University of Southern California and a Bachelor of Science of Health from Purdue University where he swam collegiately. He is the owner of COR, Strength Coach Consultant, Creator of the Swimmer's Shoulder System, and chief editor of the Swimming Science Research Review.

    Exhale-Hold, the True Hypoxic Training

    The newest edition of the Swimming Science Research Review was released today. The theme of this edition is physiology, make sure to order your copy to stay current with the latest research on dry-land. Below are the tables of contents of this edition.

    August Swimming Science Research Review Tables of Contents
    1. “Exhale-Hold” Breathing Causes Hypoxia | RESPIRATORY TRAINING
    2. 25-KM Doesn’t Cause Maximal Fatigue | ENDURANCE PHYSIOLOGY
    3. Swimming Doesn’t Increase Neurogenic Inflammation | ASTHMA
    4. Forced Inspiratory Volume Correlates with 100-m Performance | RESPIRATORY
    5. Deep Breathing Elicits Recovery | RESPIRATORY TRAINING
    6. Metabolic Testing in Swimmers is Flawed | METABOLIC TESTING
    7. High-Intensity Swim Training Improves Cardiac Health | CARDIOVASCULAR SYSTEM
    8. High-Intensity and Traditional Training Don’t Improve Performance | TRAINING
    9. 200-m Assesses Aerobic Capacity in Youth Swimmers | PHYSIOLOGY
    10. Arterial Load is Different in Men and Women | PHYSIOLOGY
    11. Physiological Alterations in Swimming are Small | PHYSIOLOGY
    12. More LBM Improves HRV | NERVOUS SYSTEM
    13. Too Long Self-Regulated Recovery is Taken | RECOVERY
    14. Faulty Breathing is Common | RESPIRATORY TRAINING
    15. Circadian Rhythm is Sensitive to Heavy Exercise | PHYSIOLOGY
    Physiology is one of the older exercise science topics, yet it is far from well understood.
    As you’ll see in this publication, many ground breaking discoveries still occur, especially when the swimming specific aspects.

    Most notable in this publication is the research by Dr. Xavier Woorons on hypoxia and breathing. As we discussed a while back, traditional hypoxic training is actually hypercapnic training. Instead, “exhale-hold” techniques elicit a hypoxic environment which appears to increase anaerobic stress and lactate build-up.

    Now, before we write off “inhale-hold” training, it seems there is a new technique which may compliment the old form of training. However, like all research, we need to know more, especially with the possibility of drowning.

    Nonetheless, new techniques still occur in physiology! Take enjoyment in these novelties and practice them yourself or with your team, just perform them safely and track the results!

    1. Woorons X, Gamelin FX, Lamberto C, Pichon A, Richalet JP. Swimmers can train in hypoxia at sea level through voluntary hypoventilation.
      Respir Physiol Neurobiol. 2014 Jan 1;190:33-9. doi: 10.1016/j.resp.2013.08.022. Epub 2013 Sep 4.
    The influx of online information makes it difficult to stay up-to-date with informative, accurate research studies. The Swimming Science Research Review brings you a comprehensive research articles on swimming, biomechanics, physiology, psychology, and much more!
    This monthly publication keeps busy coaches and swimming enthusiast on top of swimming research to help their programs excel, despite being extremely busy. 


    Dryland for Swimmers: What Should I do for Dryland?

    I frequently receive e-mails like the following:

    "How do I know what to do for dryland?", "What should I do for dryland?" or "Can you send me a dryland template?" 

    As simple as this sounds, this is an impossible task! The principle of individuality is key for each swimmer and something that occurs in every aspect of training in and out of the water. Luckily, our readers know this and this is why I received some comments on my last Swimming World Magazine post about the 2-month break rule, arguing such a firm rule is questionable. Yes, this rule is flimsy, as each swimmer, team, and scenario varies greatly! Once again, individuality is one reason for the continued improvement in the sport of swimming. 

    Dryland is no different, yet many people want a cookie-cutter formula for the most success...nonsense! 

    Nonetheless, progressive, generalized dryland programs can help streamline a program for an entire club. This systematic approach must consider taper, age, and maturation phases. It also helps a coaching staff create a team environment while making continual gains. Once again, individualization is best for improvement, but a systematic approach which helps coaches and swimmers understand the benefits of dryland, as well as creating a step-by-step approach from age-group to National level swimmers can greatly benefit a swim team. Too often dryland is not in sync with swim training and varies greatly from one group to the next. Dryland for Swimmers provides a cost-effective solution for swim teams looking for an educational system and systematic approach for dryland. 

    The Dryland for Swimmers product is broken into four sections: 
    1) Research on dryland
    2) Personal experience and views on dryland
    3) Dryland goals and specific programming for an entire swim team
    4) Dryland assessments for age-group and elite swimmers

    This detailed project is difficult, as there are many different routes for success in swimming as well as dryland. Nonetheless, this undoubtedly is going to be the most comprehensive dryland product helping teams have daily dryland workouts for all their groups for an entire season! It will also help high-level and serious age-group swimmers individualize their programs, maximizing their improvements by correcting their weaknesses. Dryalnd for Swimmers also helps dryland coaches breakdown all the biomechanical constraints which may hinder elite swimming performance on-land. This assessment bridges the gap between dryland and water training.

    Once again, individualization is paramount for elite swimming success. However, generalized programs also help teams improve. Dryland for Swimmers provides both options, an individualized program for elite swimmers to group workouts for swimmers of every age-group, streamlining the transition between groups and while considering the subtitles of swimming training (like taper!). 

    If you want a dryland product which will give you all the tools for a complete year team dryland program, pre-order your copy of Dryland for Swimmers for only $59.99! 

    3 Things you Didn't Know About Ultra-Endurance Swimming

    Take Home Points on 3 Things you Didn't Know About Ultra-Endurance Swimming
    1. Ultra-endurance swimming often doesn't result in maximal fatigue, cause hunger, or alter swimming hand path.
    2. This form of training isn't as negative as some suggest on swimming skill.
    Many associate ultra-endurance swimming with pain and fatigue. However, we know little
    on the subject, despite it's growing popularity. Now, many swimmers have performed ultra-endurance swimming during practice through the forms of tests sets (Timed 30 minute swim or timed 3,000) and Allan Philips has discussed some of the risks/benefits of this training previously. Most swimmers would likely agree these sets are arduous times. For one, there is no break. Another difficulty is the pure mental strength required for the task. These are two reasons some coaches (for one Bob Bowman) enjoy these sets. Unfortunately, these are anecdotal reasons for this form of training. Scientifically, little is known on ultra-endurance swimming. Here are three misconceptions on ultra-endurance swimming.

    1. You Don't Reach Maximal Fatigue: Fatigue is multifactorial, associated with a decrease in muscle performance. Swimming fatigue is most noted with an increase in energy cost and a change in biomechanical stroke parameters. Despite the frequent discussion of physiological factors influencing fatigue, psychological factors are also thought to impair swimming. For example, when swimming for an extended period of time rating of perceived exertion (RPE) increases. Conscious information is the memory of the RPE of a familiar task. When an athlete is performing a novel exercise or distance, a conservative pacing approach is performed. This is why many can raise their effort level at the end of a task. The decision to cease the task would be mainly due to two psychological factors: the potential motivation and the perceived exertion. A recent study analyzed the effects of a 25-km time trial on national and international swimmers (not ultra-endurance swimmers) and found a significantly higher RPE, but not a maximal RPE during the swim. The reason for not reaching maximal RPE may be due to the novelty of the race for these swimmers (mostly sprinters) or the positive experience of finishing the task. Now, the results may be different with highly trained ultra-endurance swimmers, but for most swimmers you aren't even reaching maximal effort during ultra-endurance swimming! 
    2. You Don't Get Hungry! Hunger, like fatigue, is a complicated subject. One would expect a swimmer to become hungry during an ultra-endurance race due to the amount of calories burned. This high caloric expenditure creates a negative energy balance, yet during a 25-km swim, swimmers don't report hunger! The authors concluded "the reduction in leptin compensated for a negative energy balance due to the prolonged effort through an increase in appetite". Despite the lack of hunger, consuming some calories is paramount for ultra-endurance training. For example, if an ultra-endurance swimmer is not consuming calories they may lack in energy for maximal performance. The swimmers may also risk hyponatremia, low blood salt. Hyponatremia is a deadly condition, which kills a couple ultra-endurance runners each year. Now, the swimmers don't need to eat something, but could simply drink a fluid containing calories.  
    3. Hand Path Doesn't Change: Many coaches avoid ultra-endurance sets as they are adapting the principle of specificity. However, this study noted no change in the hand path of the swimmers during an ultra-endurance race. This doesn't imply they are using "race" specific biomechanics, but that they are locking into a pattern which isn't changing form. Since the hand path isn't changing one could argue this form of training isn't as negative as previously thought.
    These three things you didn't know about ultra-endurance swimming are from one study, of non-ultra-endurance-swimmers. More research on trained ultra-endurance swimmers is warranted, as one would assume they can reach higher levels of fatigue during this racing.

    If you are prescribing ultra-endurance training sets, keep this notions in mind, as safety and maximal performance are two main goals!

    1. Invernizzi PL, Limonta E, Bosio A, Scurati R, Veicsteinas A, Esposito F. Effects of a 25-km trial on psychological, physiological and stroke characteristics of short- and mid-distance swimmers. J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2014 Feb;54(1):53-62.
    By Dr. G. John Mullen received his Doctorate in Physical Therapy from the University of Southern California and a Bachelor of Science of Health from Purdue University where he swam collegiately. He is the owner of COR, Strength Coach Consultant, Creator of the Swimmer's Shoulder System, and chief editor of the Swimming Science Research Review.

    The New Book Unveiled: Dryland for Swimmers

    Performing dryland programs back to age 6. Eight years of intense research. Six years of intense testing on thousands of swimmers.
    My new book is finally here: Dryland for Swimmers.

    I could not be happier with the end product. Truly, I am ecstatic. If you want a complete guide to dryland, this is it.

    In each chapter, I test everything on myself so you don’t have to. In “Strength for Swimming” for example, I reviewed every article on the subject and tested all the theories on numerous subjects, including myself! That was just for starters. The end result of that chapter? 90%+ of the questions and issues you have with strength training which boggled my mind for decades are not gone! of the

    If you want to know the best methods for dryland for the entire swimming career, out of 100 that worked abnormally well, I can tell you…

    Dryland for swimmers is also designed to read unlike any other fitness book for swimmers, which it isn’t. It’s more like a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure book letting you decide which topics you want to read the research on or have a 12-month program for your 10 and unders.

    Here’s the book description: 


    Is it possible to:

    • Eliminate injuries from your swim team?
    • Improve dryland attendance 10-fold?
    • Build complete well-balanced swimmers ready for elite swimming? 
    Indeed, and much more. This is not just another dryland for swimmers book. 

    Dryland for Swimmers is the result of an obsessive quest, spanning more than a decade, to hack the swimming dryland. It contains the collective wisdom of hundreds of elite swimmers, physical therapist, research articles, and self experimentation.

    For all things swimming, what is best for a swimmer?

    Thousands of tests later, this book contains the answers for swimmers of all ages.

    YOU WILL LEARN (in less than 30 minutes each):

    – Research behind strength training
    – Research behind swimming paddles
    – Research behind swim bench
    – Myths of the fitness industry
    – Differences between swimmers and other athletes
    – Research on plyometric training
    – Research on range of motion
    – Research on core training
    – Detailed 12-month training outline for elite swimmers
    – Detailed 12-month training outline for senior swimmers

    And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. You don’t need better genetics or more discipline. You need immediate results that compel you to continue. That’s exactly what The Dryland for Swimmers delivers.

    Now The Real Fun Begins

    Here we go:
    1) The ask
    2) Big media opportunities for you
    3) An offer to friends in media.

    THE ASK:
    I try not to ask for too much on this blog, but today I will ask a favor: if this book sounds interesting to you, please take a moment to order it today. I’ve never worked harder on something, it’s my, and pre-orders are critically important.

    The e-book is on-sale now but is released August 26th.

    Here’s why you should pre-order now:
    -  You will receive a 20% discount on the book! This is the cheapest the book will ever be! Order now for only $49!
    -  What a better way than start the fall season with a set plan for dryland? Order today and improve yourself, your child, or your team!
    - Last but not least, your help would mean the world to me. Pre-orders will largely determine how much support retailers give this book. It’s crazy, but only hardcover sales count towards the bestseller lists. If you’ve benefited from my last book or writing on this blog, I would really appreciate your help. This has been the biggest project of my life.

    Thank you!

    Have you improved your swimming, coaching, or research as a result of blog posts I’ve written? 
    Please e-mail your details to info@swimmingscience.net.

    Send your time improvements, charts, or swimming!

    I’ve made very few media commitments thus far. Do you have a column, show, mailing list, or blog audience? Would you like to do a feature, an interview, or post an excerpt? Please click here to let me know. There is a ton of material, including case studies, video, and pictures.

    Keep Swimming

    Thank you all so much for all the readership and feedback on the site. It’s been incredible.

    Keep Swimming! 
    Dr. G. John Mullen, DPT, CSCS

    *All products in this purchase are digital.

    Are Ice and NSAIDs Beneficial for Recovery?

    Take Home Points on Are Ice and NSAIDs Beneficial for Recovery?
    • Ice helps decrease pain, but does increase muscle damage.
    • NSAIDs restore function, but improve bone, but not soft tissue healing.
    The use of non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and ice are common staples in
    sports medicine. Yet, the use of these modalities has recently received resistance from some online experts (Kelly Starrett, Dr. Gabe Mirkin). Despite this criticism, these modalities are still frequently used, sometimes ad libium. Now, before I make a notion on these modalities, it is important to understand the injury process, below is an exert from the COR Swimmer's Shoulder System.

    Everyone is familiar with inflammation. The inflammatory process occurs within seconds of every injury, but can linger for weeks or months with bad injuries or poor management.

    Inflammation is stemmed by the infiltration of cells, entitled neutrophils, during the first 6-24 hours; they are replaced by other cells (monocytes) in 24-48 hours. These cells will try to attack the inflammation and remove injurious agents. Phagocytosis is involved in the process of engulfing foreign particles and releasing the enzymes of neutrophils and macrophages which are responsible for eliminating the injurious agents. These are two major benefits derived by the accumulation of leukocytes at the inflammatory site.

    Chronic inflammation is a different warrior. The key player is another type of cell, the macrophage. Macrophages are large cells that can remain for weeks to months, perpetuating injuries.

    The classic signs and symptoms of inflammation are swelling, redness, throbbing, radiating heat, and constant pain. These pains especially occur when you wake up in the morning and last between thirty and sixty minutes. Also, just because you had the initial injury four months ago doesn’t mean inflammation has resolved or hasn’t returned, so pay closer attention to the signs and symptoms as opposed to the duration.

    Once again, the inflammtory process initiates every injury. This process is beneficial in restoring the body, but does decrease strength. This decrease in strength is why many seek improvement [well and the pain]. This has resulted in the use of the two most common modalities NSAIDs and ice. Unfortunately, these two modalities may prevent the normal physiological reaction of an injury. This impairment is thought to alter long-term improvement. However, many people take NSAIDs and ice for short-term gains. If someone needs improvement, for a quick return to the pool, then NSAIDs and ice are beneficial. However, the use of these modalities likely decreases long-term recovery, perhaps increasing the risk of re-injury. Unfortunately, most of this research is based on rodents, not humans and as I've mentioned before, rodents have different inflammatory processes! This makes the research nontransferable to humans ... oh well! Nonetheless, lets look at the research we have!

    NSAIDs on Healing

    The authors reviewed the effectiveness of NSAIDS and selective (COX-2 inhibitors) NSAIDS on soft tissue and bone healing. A total of 44 articles reviewed (9 on soft tissue and 35 on bone healing). Thirty-nine of these articles were on animals and 5 on humans.

    No humans studies have been done on humans assessing the interaction between NSAIDS and soft tissue healing. Of the studies reviewed, there is a controversy between the administration of selective and non-selective NSAIDS after surgery, as many studies suggest detrimental effects on bone and soft tissue healing. However, the literature on this subject in humans is minimal.

    It appears inflammation mediated by prostaglandins is necessary to improve bone healing. However, in soft tissue injury, growth factors are more important and prostaglandins less involved. This suggest NAIDS are likely beneficial in soft tissue, but potentially not bone healing.

    Improving inflammation is necessary to decrease symptoms, however the use of NAIDS during bone repair may impair recovery, therefore only use NSAIDs in soft tissue injuries. However, more human clinical trials are necessary before a definitive answer is possible.

    NSAIDs on Gut Bacteria

    One potential hazardous result of NSAID consumption is the potential loss of integrity of bacteria, making the gut permeable to harmful substance.

    Nine male trained cyclists underwent small intestine lining permeability in four different conditions (Van Wijck 2012):

    1) during and after cycling after intake of ibuprofen

    2) during and after cycling without ibuprofen

    3) rest with prior intake of ibuprofen

    4) rest with prior ibuprofen intake

    The small intestinal lining was evaluated by providing the subjects a sugary drink, then assessing the amount of human intestinal fatty acid binding protein (I-FABP).

    The ibuprofen conditions took 400 mg of ibuprofen the night before and 1-hour prior to cycling on a fasted stomach. The cyclist performed roughly 90 minutes of cycling at moderate/hard cycling.

    In both exercise conditions, the I-FABP levels gradually increased with cycling. However, cycling with ibuprofen ingestion resulted in even high levels of I-FABP.

    These results show cycling alone increases both gastroduodenal and small intestinal permeability. This difference increased with ibuprofen intake. This is thought to be from splanchic hypoperfusion, reducing the blood to the gut and including injury to the enterocytes. One of the major pathways suspected for GI damage is:

    “to be involved is the inhibition of COX isotypes 1 and 2, resulting in local inflammation and vascular dysregulation, ultimately reducing perfusion and promoting mucosal integrity loss within the splanchnic area (Van Wijck 2012)”.

    Unless ergogenic benefits from NSAIDs exists, swimmers should not use these medications prior to exercise. Moreover, inflammation may yield greater results in endurance sports. One flaw with the study is the fact the athletes were fasted while taking NSAIDs. However, one note is the athletes were fasted during this test, this may have increased the intestinal lining to susceptibility.

    For rehabilitation, NSAIDs may still be beneficial, but at this time it is not certain if the benefits outweigh the risks.

    Ice and Muscle Damage Healing

    Eleven male college baseball players underwent two trials: sham application and topical cooling. Each trial was used five sessions of 15-min cold pack application to the exercised muscles 0 hours, 3 hours, 24 hours, 48 hours, and 72 hours after eccentric exercise training.

    The eccentric training protocol consisted of 6 sets of 5 eccentric contractions with 2 min rest between sets at 85% of their maximal strength. Muscle hemodynamics (hemoglobin most notably), inflammatory cytokines (multiple interleukins), muscle damage markers (Creatine kinase), visual analog scale (VAS), and muscle isometric strength.

    After topical cooling, rapid and sustained elevations in total hemoglobin and tissue oxygen saturation were noted. Also, creatine kinase was noted in both trials, but was elevated after topical cooling. Inflammatory markers were not changed following cooling. VAS was not different between groups, however topical cooling significantly increased rating of fatigue post-exercise. No significant differences were noted in strength between groups.

    Increased muscle damage, most notably the creatine kinase increase, was apparent in the topical cooling group. This is thought to occur from the rapid deviation in blood supply to the muscle.

    Using ice after practice improves muscular soreness, but appears to increase muscle damage due to rapid changes in ischemia. Therefore, unless injured topical cooling should be avoided.

    Ice and Blood Flow

    Nineteen subjects participated in this single-blinded, where the clinician was blinded. There was no history of lower extremity injuries for the past 6 injuries. Each participant visited the laboratory four separate times where baselines were measured at the first two visits, then the next two visits a trial of ice (750-g of crushed ice placed on the medial gastrocnemius) and a control trial.

    “There was a significant correlation (r = 0.49) between subcutaneous tissue thickness and change in intramuscular temperature immediately after treatment (P = 0.05) for the cryotherapy condition. Significant correlations were also found for change in temperature during the rewarming period and change in blood volume at rewarming (r = 0.53, P = 0.033) and change in blood flow at rewarming (r = 0.56, P = 0.025) for cryotherapy (Selkow 2012)”.

    Microvascular perfusion of the gastrocnemius did not decrease from baseline with cyrotherapy was applied, despite the decrease in subcutaneous temperature. The result was different than past studies, as many think cryotherapy decreases blood flow. This may be from no alterations noted in the microvascular.

    In the healthy population, cryotherapy appears not to alter blood-flow. Therefore, benefits and risks associated with cryotherapy application for inflammation may be negligible. However, next research must look at inflammation specifically. Until then, the effects of ice for injuries seem purely for slowing nerve conduction to gate pain.

    NSAIDs or Corticosteroids for Recovery

    Zheng (2014) performed a systematic review of all the high-quality studies comparing NSAIDs and corticosteroid injections, a total of ten full articles. Overall, 267 patients were analyzed and of the six studies two focuses on rotator cuff tendonitis patients, two on shoulder impingement syndrome, one studied frozen shoulder of diabetes and the other investigated shoulder pain.

    Of these studies, NSAIDs and corticosteroids did not have a significant difference in pain improvement. Corticosteroids were significantly better for remission of symptoms. Five of the studies reported range of active shoulder abduction and note NSAIDs did not significantly improve the active shoulder abduction compared to corticosteroids. The studies assessed were 4 – 6 weeks in length.

    Compared to NSAIDs, corticosteroid injections provide faster relief. However, comparisons of other therapies and conjunctions of therapy are needed, as well as longer study periods and follow-ups.

    My Recommendations

    If you are injured, stop exercising. If the pain is non-stop, see a rehabilitation specialist like a physical therapist. At this time, apply ice, as it does reduce pain and doesn't seem to alter blood flow. However, apply the ice for a short period, as it may increase muscular damage. I suggest applying the ice for up to 10 minutes and remove it for 20 minutes. Only ice immediately after the injury, ~6 hours after the injury. If you are competing at a meet and must perform, NSAIDs can help decrease pain and restore function. However, if you are not in a rush for return, try not to ice and consider compression instead. Compression helps naturally clear the fluid from the joint, facilitating recovery. When you are able to move comfortably without pain, do so. Movement also helps move fluid out of the joint and restore function. However, do not move into pain, as this can alter movement patterns and impair function. 

    Try and prevent using NSAIDs, unless unrelenting pain exists and the injury appears muscular. If recovering from an injury, a corticosteroid injection is likely better than just NSAIDs, but remember other rehabilitation is needed. 

    We have much more research needed on the subject, but it isn't clear that ice and NSAIDs are a “no brainer”. Until more research is performed, I'll continue the suggestions I've made for years, if you're in no rush, let the inflammation naturally make it's way throughout the body, giving yourself rest and compression for improvement. Once you're able to move naturally do so! However, if you are in a rush, like at a big competition and need to get in the pool, NSAIDs and ice can help!


    By Dr. G. John Mullen received his Doctorate in Physical Therapy from the University of Southern California and a Bachelor of Science of Health from Purdue University where he swam collegiately. He is the owner of COR, Strength Coach Consultant, Creator of the Swimmer's Shoulder System, and chief editor of the Swimming Science Research Review.