Daily Dryland Swimming Workouts #21 – Duffel Bags

For the past few months, SwimSwam has been posting a daily swimming workout to help inspire swim coaches around the world who are looking for new ideas to try with their swimmers. Since most of the world’s pools are currently closed for business, we wanted to give swimmers and coaches an alternative set of dryland workouts to use to stay fit during the quarantine. These workouts will be designed to be done around the house. Some will use basic equipment, like medicine balls or stretch cords, while others will be all body-weight exercises.

These workouts are provided for informational purposes only.

See more at-home training ideas on our At Home Swim Training page here

Duffel Bag

Some of you may have a certain amount of weight sets at home, but if you don’t, while you’re at home, one good way to add some weight to your workout is via the use of a duffel bag.

The proper way to do this would be to use sand. Fill Ziploc bags with sand (this keeps your bag clean, and helps you adjust the weight easily by removing or adding a bag).

Don’t have access to a beach? With your parents’ permission, try some dirt from the back yard. Don’t worry, you’ve got nothing else to do after your workout except to refill all of your family flower beds. You could also use rice, or really whatever you have around the house – with the key being something that allows you to make a uniform distribution of weight in the bag.

If you’re trying to calculate weight, a 1-gallon Ziploc bag typically will hold typically 12 pounds of dirt.

Don’t want to mess with this? Repeat this old workout instead. But, the duffel bag can really add some good variety to your at-home workout, so if you’ve got the materials and the time, give it a shot.


10-15 min joint warm-up (below is a good routine, do each exercise for about 30 seconds)

10 min stretching (there are lots of good routines on the internet if your coach doesn’t have a favorite)

Main Set

The key to duffel bag work is to control the bag, as you would with all weights.

Most of these exercises are described here.

Use round 1 to become familiar with the exercises and practice proper technique, and then on remaining rounds, try and limit to a 60 second transition between exercises.

Three/Four times through, 2:00 rest after each round

  • 10 x bent over rows with duffel bag (video here)
  • 20 x (each leg) – Curtsy Lunge + Hammer Curl (#4 here)
  • 20 x (each leg) – Single-Leg Deadlift + Row (#5 here)
  • 15 x – Squat and Shoulder Press (#8 here)
  • 15 x – Sumo Squat + High Pull (#9 here)
  • 20 x Lateral Pull + Spider (#11 here)

Leave a Reply

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

Read More »