Wright, B. V., Brammer, C. L., & Stager, J. M. (2009). Five week assessment of in-water power output in competitive swimmers. ACSM 56th Annual Meeting, Seattle, Washington. Presentation number 1828.

blue line

"The use of commercially available semi-tethered resistive swim training devices as a means of introducing in-water “overload” during training in competitive swimming is common place. However, only limited research has been completed analyzing the efficacy of such devices as a means to improve performance during a competitive swim season."

The aim of this study was to characterize potential differences in power output in competitive swimmers following a 5-week in-water resistive training program. Competitive swimmers (M = 10; F = 8) participated in a 5-week in-water resistive training program utilizing a Power Rack (i.e. system of pulleys and weights that allows a swimmer to be tethered via waist belt to the resistive load while swimming). Each swimmer completed a pre- and post-assessment. The assessment consisted of a series of 10-meter maximal freestyle swimming bouts with an increasing resistive load on each consecutive bout. From there, 80% of peak power was calculated and the corresponding load was used for the 5-week training period. Each swimmer completed two training sessions per week for a total of 9 sessions. The first session began with eight repetitions with approximately one minute of rest between each repetition. In each successive week the repetitions were increased by two with the final training session consisting of 16 repetitions. Speed, stroke count and resistance were recorded for each bout while using the device.

Power output and distance per swim stroke increased from pre- to post-treatment assessments. There was no significant difference in swim stroke rate and thus increases in velocity were a function of distance per stroke and not stroke rate.

Implication. Training on a Power Rack increases stroke power and distance while using the device. Unfortunately, this investigation and others like it have not shown whether the changes observed transfer to free swimming. Current research would suggest the changes would not transfer.

Return to Table of Contents for Training for Swimming.

blue line