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Resistance Training & Dives

As a coach I've always assumed that greater jumping ability would equate to better/more powerful dive

Swimming In Research

January 21 · Issue #1 · View online
Be the smartest person on deck.

As a coach I’ve always assumed that greater jumping ability would equate to better/more powerful dives, but this research shows us that it’s not that simple.

The swimmers improved in jumping ability via resistance training program, but those improvements didn’t have any significant change on the dives, but it’s possible that a resistance training program could improve starts if starts were incorporated into the program.
Track Start
Track Start
  • P - A number between 0 - 1 that is the result of testing a hypothesis. When P has a large value (P > 0.05) it indicates that the evidence supports the null hypothesis. A small P value (P < 0.05) indicates the opposite, that the null hypothesis is false. When P is very close to 0.05 the evidence is “on the fence” so to speak. In other words, a small P value means the researchers’ original idea was wrong and a large P value means that they were right.

  • Isokinetic means characterized by or producing a constant speed so for the purpose of this study: Isokinetic exercises are strength training workouts, which make you work at a constant pace or consistent weight at a range of motion.

  • Counter-movement jumps - where the jumper starts from an upright standing position, makes a preliminary downward movement by flexing at the knees and hips, then immediately extends the knees and hips again to jump vertically up off the ground.

Counter Movement Jumps
The effect of a resistance training programme on the grab, track and swing starts in swimming.
The aim of the current study was to determine if a resistance training programme designed to increase vertical jumping ability could enhance various performance parameters in the grab, swing and track starts. Clinical Trial; Randomized Controlled Trial
Main Points
  • It should be noted that the this study was designed to have participants of different sports to level the playing field in terms of technique and performance.

  • Great dives have three components: a fast reaction, force exerted on the blocks for a high take-off velocity and a streamlined position to minimize water resistance and loss of speed

  • Both isokinetic squats and counter-movement jumps were tested for correlation with flight distance for all three types of starts. The counter-movement jumps were significantly correlated ( P<0.05) and the isokinetic squats were not significantly correlated ( P>0.05) with any start.

  • Surprisingly resistance training didn’t improve flight distance on any dive (P>0.05) This was surprising because the swimmer’s vertical jumps improved and vertical jumps are correlated (P<0.01) with flight distance for all dives. Perhaps we are running into the principle of specificity here.

  • The only area of improvement was in the horizontal direction of force on the track start. When I first read that I assumed that the swimmers were able to push off harder with their feet. I was wrong. There was no difference in the force exerted by the feet. The improvement in take-off velocity and horizontal impulse (~30%) was coming from the hand! It’s often easy to forget the hand’s involvement in the dive, but it’s clear that the hand contributes to gaining early momentum in the rear-weighted track start.

  • After the resistance training the entry angle on all dives seemed unaffected, while the take-off angle increased in all starts (P<0.01) which would explain the increase in flight distance. Did that increase come from the improvement in the vertical jump? If it did then it is advised that dive practice is interspersed amongst resistance training sessions
  • Because there was improvements from the resistance training, but not in the dives the researchers suggest that swimmer choose a preferred starting style and practice dives during the resistance training to adapt the neuromuscular system to the improved skills.
This research is brought to you by the Department of Human Movement and Sport Sciences at the University of Ballarat in Australia.
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