Back to the gym: optimizing dryland training
Although most action happens in the water, a significant part of the swimmer’s training program is land-based. A proper dryland training might especially be useful to train the start and turns. As we discussed in previous blogs, swimmers are analysed extensively underneath the water surface. At InnoSportLab de Tongelreep, it’s capable to analyse variables like swimming velocity, stroke frequency and stroke length, but also variables that could contribute to an optimal turn or start. However, the dryland training analyses are scarce and minimal. For this reason, InnoSportLab de Tongelreep and CTO Eindhoven are currently developing an analyses system for dryland training as well.
Before we were able to start developing a feedback system, a few questions needed to be answered. First of all, which parameters are important during a swimmer’s dryland or strength training? And how can we measure those parameters? Those questions were answered together with CTO Eindhoven, the place where the swimmers perform a large part of their dryland training.
One of the most extensive, yet simple, ways to perform a dryland training analyses, is by filming the athlete. This way, the athlete can be instructed with the aid of video-feedback. This is currently done, though only little information is gathered from it. In other words: we want to be able to get more quantitative information out of the videos. Ultimately, this must result in a more effective dryland or strength training and in lower injury risk.
Based on literature and the consultation with CTO Eindhoven, a few important strength training variables were established. Amongst those variables are the movement velocity, acceleration and power. Of these variables, both peak values, as well as averaged movement values are important. The other variables that are important during a strength training are movement distance and joint angles during the course of the movements.
Why are those variables so important? You should consider dryland training as an extension or additional training. Each exercise you perform on land, should be in function of improving the performance in the water. The best way to do so, is to specify your strength training to the needs of your swimming performances. The actions you perform and train on land, should mimic the actions you perform on the block or in the water. The variables that were demarcated, are all important in the swimming performance, especially when you think of start and turn performances.
Now the variables and the method of measuring (filming) have been established. But what about the way of measuring? You can film an athlete while he or she is performing some squats, but how do you get the movement velocity out of this video? To be able to get all the required information, body markers will be used, just as with the 3D-analyses. The markers send out a red light, which is distinct from the background. A custom-written program is then able to extract the marker position from the video footage. When you got the position of the marker, you’ll be able to derive the covered distance, the movement velocity and acceleration and you may even calculate the power.
Up to now, we are able to extract one marker of one camera. The next step is a complete 3D analyses with multiple markers. That way, unintended rotational movements and joint angles can be calculated, which will further contribute in optimizing the dryland training program of the swimmers!