Swimming workouts

  • ollieb

    Posts: 4

    Dec 21, 2013 2:52 PM GMT
    A little help with a swimming workout would be great!

    basically ive just started working out in the gym (twice a week) and also swim (twice a week). at the moment i swim 8x25m as fast as possible, rest and do that 4 times. so ends up being 32x25m. Ive been doing this for a couple of months and can see from my times I am getting faster. However as im in the gym to try building my muscles in my arms, abs, legs etc can anyone give me a better plan for the pool which will help build muscle/fitness etc

    like i say been able to swim since a young age but only started swimming seriously within the last couple months.

    Also tips on how long to take rest for between each set of lengths would be great too.

    Any plans you have would be great!
  • Ironman4U

    Posts: 747

    Dec 22, 2013 5:58 PM GMT
    Swimming workouts are like anything else, you have to mix it up. It's great that you've been working on your short speed interval work. But your results from doing the same workout over and over are going to plateau soon if they haven't already. Mix things up. Shorter rest intervals (down to 10 seconds for 25 meters sprints) is one way.

    Adding more distance is also important. For instance, do 3 x 300, 3 x 200, 8 x 100, 8 x 50, and 10 x 25. Obviously, you can change the distance and the number of reps, along with the rest interval to create an unlimited combination of workouts. The important thing with doing intervals is to keep rest to a minimum, while still maintaining the same speed for all of the intervals in a set. For example, if you're doing 8 x 50's. Your time for your first 50 and your last 50 should be within a couple of seconds of each other. It will push you harder to maintain your speed as you do your next rep but that is where you make gains.

    While Zone 5 (all out speed is important for some sets, maintaining Zone 4 - threshold pace is optimal for pushing your body and making adaptations for improvements).

    If you're swimming with good technique, you should be engaging your core and rotating (versus swimming flat in the water) which will be great to compliment your other non-swimming workouts. Another common mistake is not getting enough underwater power with your stroke. Make sure you are using your arms to grab the water and push it past your streamlined body. This will make you faster but it will also give you a better workout for your arms. I would also suggest throwing in some laps of butterfly to work your shoulders and chest.
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    Dec 23, 2013 5:33 AM GMT
    Okay well I was a state swimmer in high school so I'll give you some ideas of what we did in practices and I'll let you know ahead of time that it was not the most fun thing in the world. It takes a lot of dedication and it's extremely tough.

    Okay first thing, like the guy above me said, you need to focus on different things every time you go to workout in a swimming pool. The biggest thing we did was focus on the number of meters we swam each practice. As a goal for you, on a long distance day, you want to be hitting above 6000 meters in 2 hours. For short distance sprints aim for 5000-5500 meters. At that point you should be a great swimmer.

    Second thing, isolate your body. One of the biggest drills that swimmers do are kick and pull drills. If you have a kickboard, use that! If you have a pull-buoy, use that! You can focus on different areas of your body to improve your workouts and I think they are more fun.

    Third: always warm up and cooldown. Swimming is one of the more beneficial sports on the body but that does not mean that you will not get extremely sore after a tough workout. Make sure you get in a 1500 meter warm up to prepare you for some intense shit and do at least a 300 meter cooldown to relax your muscles. You will be tired!

    Fourth: Learn all of the strokes. Different strokes work on different parts of the body. Butterfly for example is great for your shoulders and upper back. Breaststroke is great for your triceps, chest, and groin. Each stroke has its own benefit and using all of them will increase your ability to swim better.

    Now for some examples of insane workouts. You need someone to help you with this. It is called a Point System. What you need to do is figure out some sort of distance you want to swim. As an example I'll use 50 meters. You need to know your fastest time you ever swam in 50 meters. Using a time maybe 1 or 2 seconds slower, you have to try and hit the wall in a 50 meter sprint. If you make the time, you get points (2 points in this example). If you are off by a second only 1 point. If you are off by 2 seconds, you get no points. Finally there is a maximum amount of points you have to reach in order to stop doing sprints. So I generally use 12 points. Once you get all 12 points, you are done. So there is a minimum of 6x50's that you can do at all out sprints. However, it usually doesn't work that way, and you can find yourself stuck there for an hour.

    The last workout I'm gonna give you is a personal favorite. Get some kind of jug, like Hawaiian Punch or a large Gatorade jug and fill it up with water. Go into a deep end and do kick exercises using the filled jug. I usually hold it with both hands over my head and kick for a certain amount of time. It really works your legs and will help a lot.

    I hope these tips will help you!
  • aimveryhigh20

    Posts: 14

    Dec 23, 2013 6:41 AM GMT
    I've been a swimmer for 10 years, so i'll try my best.

    I am a sprinter, but like others said, mixing it up is key. Try alternating strokes too if you can.

    I've done 500 SKIPS as a warm up now for YEARS. Its 100m Swim, 100m Kick, 100m IM (individual medley, 1 length of each stroke), 100m Pull, 100m swim.

    After that its up to you, I prefer to start with longer sets, say 4x200, 4x100 etc. Right now just do as much as you can in an hour, then try and increase your pace each week to be able to get more distance in each workout.

    I always finish with sprints, which are those 25m and 50m you talk about. Do these with very little break to really get your heart rate peaking.
    I'd do 10x25m, 5x50m (alternate strokes on the 50s) and do that set twice.

    I hate swimming on my own because I love racing people so much, if I have to swim solo I'm racing the clock. Time yourself the first few times, then work out how long it takes you to do a 25,50, 100, 200. Add 30 seconds to that time to factor in the rest, and the fact that your times will get slower as you get further in the practice.

    Right now I do around 2000-4000 meters a day, which is nowhere near what I used to do, but even with that amount you WILL see weight falling off very quickly
    Warm down, 200m.
  • asana

    Posts: 53

    Dec 23, 2013 4:40 PM GMT
    I used to use this website, it generates swim workouts for you based on set criteria:

  • ollieb

    Posts: 4

    Dec 26, 2013 3:35 PM GMT
    Thanks everyone for your plans and tips!

    it is very hard to know exactly what to do..

    time is very limited for me and like i say i swim twice a week and have only around max 1.5hr per session (which needs to include warm-up and warm-down)

    Now im not planning on becoming the next Phelps but im just looking to do as much as I can in the water to aid the workout outside of the pool.

    I can see from your messages that mixing it up is key and that great you have said as I have been doing the same thing for quite a while.

    Well from looking at your messages below and taking in account the time of limited space of the pool I have come up with this workout. Please let me know what you think and if it sounds ok!

    WARM UP:
    50M Front crawl
    50M Breast stroke

    3 x 200M (120 secs break between each)
    3 x 100M (90 secs break between each)
    10 x 25M (10 secs break between each)
    5 x 50M (20 secs break between each)

    Does the order of the wrokout need to change each session or can it be kept as it is? E.g go through the 200M reps then the 100M reps then the 25M reps then the 50M reps each time.

    100 M

    Im just trying to get together a plan which bears in mind my 1.5hr time limit(and also bearing in mind ive not long been doing this lol) . thoughts would be great?

  • buffdude

    Posts: 97

    Feb 10, 2014 6:35 PM GMT
    Somewhat out of topic, but there is nothing hotter than having sex in the water.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Mar 31, 2014 6:02 PM GMT
    buffdude saidSomewhat out of topic, but there is nothing hotter than having sex in the water.

    wrong thread
  • azswimrun

    Posts: 38

    Apr 03, 2014 1:01 PM GMT
    buffdude saidSomewhat out of topic, but there is nothing hotter than having sex in the water.

    that's the best way to wrap up a swim workout!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 03, 2014 3:17 PM GMT
    The first 4 replies above are great.

    Remember to find your target heart rate (according to age and fitness goals) and measure your heart rate between sets.

    Just google "target heat rate" to find charts or online calculators like this one:


  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 04, 2014 3:55 AM GMT
    I need some help, too. I signed up for an ironman, and though I'm getting to the pool, improvement has been slow. I have swam two miles on open water before, so I'm not out of my mind, but I was expecting this to start feeling easier and easier. After all, ironman swim takes about as much time as a half marathon, and I routinely do runs of 13 miles and longer...

    For a while, I was just going out and putting in a mile in the pool, or a mile and a half, some kickboarding, but few drills or intervals. To my horror, my stroke has been shortening and regressing!

    So I've started incorporating a few things...kicking without the kickboard (kickboarding is pure torture for me - just kicking in streamline is vastly better), one arm at a time drills (since I suspected I wasn't finishing my strokes), and an interval set where I do 100, 75, 50, and 25, or 5x50, or 10x50. I have trouble managing my effort for intervals of 100 or longer.

    The kicking and one-arm drills show immediate results-when I switch back to my normal stroke, I'm taking like 3 fewer strokes to cross the pool. I'm not sure what the intervals do except make me tired...

    Can't pay for a coach, unfortunately. My ex-swim team friend said I had a good stroke, so I'm feeling a little lost.