EDITOR'S NOTE: The Breaking Muscle Swimming Workouts are programmed by Jake Shoemaker, an elite athlete in his own right and highly experienced swimming, cross-country running, and triathlon coach.

 

The swimming workouts are designed for those whose swimming skills are bringing the rest of their game down. If you're a CrossFitter or triathlete, it's no longer acceptable if your swimming isn't up to par.

 

Swimming can also be used to condition all the systems of the body for endurance without beating it up the way some other modes of exercise can.

 

Note: Distances are in yards.

 

 

Week One

Workout One

Warm up:

  • 4 x 100 @ 10 sec rest (50 free smooth, 25 kick on back, 25 free build)
  • 8 x 75 @ 20/15/10/5 rest (25 free technique focus, 25 free kick on back in streamline, 25 free build last 12.5 to sprint)

 

Main Set:

2x:

  • 6 x 100 steady @ :05 rest - goal of maintaining best average time
  • 4 x 50 quick @ :30 rest - goal of maintaining best average time which should be much faster than 100s b/c of distance and rest interval (focus on an especially fast 1st 50 after the steady 100s)
  • 50 cruise backstroke @ :15 rest before repeating set

 

6 x 50 @ :15 rest - 5 strokes of hard, fast butterfly, then rest of 50 is smooth, technique oriented freestyle
 

Cool down:

300 cruise - with at least 100 yards done on back

 

Total: 2300

 

Workout Two

Warm up:

  • 500 smooth as 200 free, 100 back, 100 kick choice, 100 build freestyle
  • 8 x 50 steady @ :10 rest descend pace 1-4 and 5-8
     

Main set:

5 x 200 @ :15 rest

  1.  200 build each 50 - each faster than previous (sprint last 50)
  2.  50 cruise backstroke/ 150 freestyle with first 5 strokes off of each wall aggressive, then settle into smooth pace for remaining strokes
  3.  breathing pattern over every 3 strokes/ every 5 strokes/ every 3/ every 5 by 50 - pace can be smooth, focus should be on technique and challenging breath control
     

Cool down:

200 relaxed, mixing in backstroke and light kicking

 

Total: 2100

 

Workout Three

Warm-up:

  • 2 x 200 with 20 seconds rest in between as (50 free smooth, 50 backstroke smooth, 50 free build, 50 kick on back choice)
  • 8 x 50 @ :15 rest - descend 1 - 4, 5 - 8 so that #5 and #8 are at about 90% effort
  • 100 backstroke smooth

 

Main Set:

Focus is on max effort speed while still being efficient and having good technique using active swimming to recover instead of high volumes of inactive rest.

 

4x:

  • 100 free max effort; 5 seconds rest on wall; 50 backstroke easy; 10 seconds on wall upon return
  • 75 free max effort; 5 seconds rest on wall; 50 backstroke, 25 freestyle easy; 10 seconds rest on wall upon return
  • 50 free max effort; 5 seconds rest on wall; 100 free easy; 10 seconds rest on wall upon return
  • 100 back/free super relaxed; start next round on round interval

 

Cool down:

  • 200 pull with buoy focusing on rotation and high elbow pull
  • 200 easy back/free by 50

 

Total: 3700

 

Workout Four - Recovery Day, Technique Focus

Warm up:

  • 500 smooth, choice of stroke
  • 8 x 50 freestyle kick on back - focus on pointed toes, kick starting from a strong core, not kicking solely from a “bend then straighten” knee
  • 4 x 100 @ :20 rest - build first 75 to strong then cruise last 25

 

Main Set:

5 x 200 @ :30 rest (all should be aerobic)

  • 50 freestyle - right arm for 25, left arm for 25 - focus on high elbow pull, timing of breath (breath as hand enters, turn head back into water as you begin to pull) and simply turning head to breathe instead of picking head up
  • 50 freestyle kick on back in steamline
  • 50 freestyle smooth focusing on strong rotation
  • 50 freestyle kick on stomach with arms by side focusing on body position (head facing bottom, hips high, pressing chest)

 

Cool down:

300 smooth as 2x: 50 back, 50 free, 50 kick

 

Total: 2600

 

Click Here to Download the Entire 12-Week Cycle

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