This is one of many dryland exercises that you can do with a stretch cord. (Am I the only one that thinks dryland is redundant?) All you need to do this right is a stretch cord and something to hook it up to. Door handles, shelves, pillars, and chain-link fences are good things to hook it up to.
This is an exercise that everyone can do. Bands come in different strengths to fit the needs of everyone. You can also adjust your distance away from the anchor to increase or decrease resistance. You can also vary how many "strokes" you take and how much rest you take in between repeats to fit your personal needs.
Why Do It:
This is great for breaks in between seasons and for post-practice exercise. This will help you to stay fit or increase your fitness outside of the pool. Stretch-Cord Freestyle combines aerobic conditioning with swimming-specific strengthening. You can also experiment with the mechanics of your pull without having to focus on anything else.
How To Do It:
1. Attach the middle of the cord to a secure and stationary object. Try to place it at sternum height.
2. Step back from where the cord is secured until you find the desired tension on the cord. You may have to adjust your distance a few times until you find the right spot.
3. Bend at the waist so that your chest is facing the ground. Have both hands out in front of you, ready to start pulling. Make sure that your body is in a comfortable, relaxed position before you start.
4. Pull back with one hand or the other. Make sure that you finish with your hand going past your hip. Alternate arms for as long as desired.
5. There is no recovery motion. Let your arm slowly return to the starting position. Try not to let the cord jerk your arm back.
How To Do It Really Well (the Fine Points):
1. Try to simulate the pull of the freestyle stroke as much as possible. The more you can keep your hands and arms catching and pulling, the more practical application this will have for your actual stroke.
2. Experiment with the angle of your hands. This is an opportunity for you to feel the differences when your hands are at different angles. You can also look at where your hands are as opposed to where they are when you are swimming.
3. Keep your elbows high through the front part of the stroke. This will help to isolate the same muscles that are used when you are pulling in freestyle.
4. Play with your stroke rhythm by changing the finish point of your pull. You can use this exercise to give you an idea of where you want to finish your hands during different races.
5. Think of yourself swimming a race, and try to match the stroke rate that you would be doing. Use your goal time as the interval for doing repeats.