For new swimmers, planning a swim workout may seem challenging; however, following a few guidelines will help one be able to plan a successful workout without much difficulty.
The first step is to decide what focus the workout will take. Determining this will help one create a well designed main set and a proper warm up. Different types of workouts include sprint, stroke, Individual Medley (IM), distance, and mid-distance.
Any workout should always begin with a warm up set to give the muscles time to loosen and prepare for the intensity of the swim. Depending on one’s endurance, a warm up set could be anywhere from 300-1500 yds. Plan a workout to suit individual needs, as over time swimmers will develop an understanding of how their body responds to training. Some athletes need longer warm up sets for optimal performance while others do not.
Before the main set, a kick or pull set is beneficial.Switch between the two on different days to give one muscle group a chance to recover while the other is worked.
The main set should be planned after the warm up and kick/drill set. The focus of the workout will determine the length and duration of this portion. This is where the body is most challenged and should be a goal-driven set.
After the main set, a drill or aerobic base set can be planned. For distance workouts, a small drill set would be beneficial. In combination with a sprint set, however, an aerobic set such as 10×100’s is better to maintain consistent yardage.
Finally, the cool down. As much as the warm up, it is important to have a warmdown set as one needs to flush the lactic acid built up in their muscles. This is time for the body to cool down and adjust to the stress produced from the workout. Note: Skimping on the warmdown can affect the next workout although it may seem like a good idea at the time.
Following is an example of a sprint workout for begginer-intermediate level swimmer: However, I did not include times for the sets to be paced on as they can be determined individually based on level and intesity needed.
10x 50’s Freestyle, Odd Swim 50 Free/ Evens Swim 25 Swim, 25 Drill
Kick Set: (Repeat 5 Times)
1×25 Kick, Stoke
1×75 Kick, Free
12×100: (Repeat the 4x 100’s below 3 times for a total of 12)
1. 100 Easy
2. 25 Easy, 50 Sprint, 25 Easy
3. 25 Easy, 75 Sprint
4. 100 Sprint
4×25’s Back Stroke Drill
200 Easy Freestyle
Total Yardage: 2,500 yds.