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The Effect of Drag Suit Training on 50-m Freestyle Performance

Dragunas, Andrew J.; Dickey, James P.; Nolte, Volker W.

The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: April 2012 - Volume 26 - Issue 4 - p 989–994
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e31822d5404
Original Research

Dragunas, AJ, Dickey, JP, and Nolte, VW. The effect of drag suit training on 50 m freestyle performance. J Strength Cond Res 26(4): 989–994, 2012—Little research has evaluated the effects of drag suit training in swimming; these effects need to be explored further to optimize their use in training. For this 5-week training study, 18 subjects were divided evenly into 2 groups: control group and drag suit–trained group. Both groups performed weekly training routines that included 3 sprint sets. These sprint sets were performed by both the groups; however, the drag suit training group wore the drag suit, and the control group wore their typical training attire. We evaluated the swimmers' 50-m performance using a test set of six 50-m sprints on a 10-minute interval before and after the training program. The test set was performed twice (on 2 different days) where the swimmers were tested once in the drag suit and once in their regular training attire; the order of testing was randomized. Final time, stroke rate, and distance per stroke were collected. We observed that the drag suit–trained group exhibited a statistically significant decrease in distance per stoke while wearing the drag suit and the control group showed a significant increase in stroke rate and decrease in distance per stroke (in both suits). It is suggested to include some amounts of drag suit training in periods where swimming volume may decrease. Sets that are short in distance and performed at high intensity with sufficient rest to allow swimmers to maintain high stroke integrity should help athletes maintain techniques. We suggest incorporating the drag suit into the training regimen and should be considered a valuable resistive training device for swimming.

Department of Kinesiology, The University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada

Address correspondence to Andrew J. Dragunas,

Results of this study do not constitute endorsement of the product by the authors or the National Strength and Conditioning Association.

Copyright © 2012 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.