Repetitive Freestyle Swimming Workouts

October 20, 2012 | Gary Mullen

Must See Conditioning Videos

"Practice makes perfect." This is more than an old cliché coaches throw around. Your brain records specific movement patterns, speed and techniques, so repetitive freestyle swimming workouts will wire you for swimming success. (Make sure you're using correct form first.)

Too many freestyle workouts are high in variety while lacking individualization to achieve specific goals. Program yourself to meet your goals. Make this your first priority. Proper goal setting and progressions support motivation in every athlete. Remember: repetition is key. When you repeat your desired pace over and over throughout your training, your body will be able to fall back on its motor program when fatigue sets in during competition.

If you're on the BTRE protocol, the toughest part of the repetition phase is the lack of variety. This drives many swimmers to programs with variations, but it's important to remember that repetition is what helps you achieve your goals. For example, if your goal time is 2:02 in the 200-freestyle, the race pace for each 50 meters is 30 seconds (assuming two seconds for the start). Set goals for race paces for different distances, and "program" your body to swim at those paces through repetition.

Unfortunately, this type of training does become boring, even for highly motivated swimmers. The following swimming workouts offer some variation without compromising repetition and motor programming.

Maximum Repetitions

This is the most basic form of repetitive race pacing. Simply perform the maximum number of repetitions with consistent rest. Each time you do the reps at race pace, attempt to beat your last time at your next maximum rep workout.

Mountains

Most swim teams perform mountains. A mountain provides "semi-random" practice. Swimmers do various speeds one after another. Attempt the following set without extra rest. Progression occurs by shortening the rest on both sections, or just on the way down, since coming down a mountain is always faster than going up.

Example: Six rounds of
 25 free (100 race pace)

  • First 20 seconds: 
50 free (200 race pace)
  • Second 20 seconds: 
75 free (500 race pace)
  • Third 20 seconds: 
six rounds of
 75 free (500 race pace)
  • Fourth 20 seconds: 
50 free (200 race pace)
  • Fifth 20 seconds: 
25 free (100 race pace)
  • Sixth 20 seconds: six rounds of
 75 free (500 race pace)

Limbo Set

This tests how long a swimmer can keep up race pace. It systematically decreases rest, determining how little rest one can take and still maintain race pace.

  • 5x50 (200 pace)
  • Rest 30 seconds
  • 5x50 (200 pace)
  • Rest 25 seconds
  • 5x50 (200 pace)
  • Rest 20 seconds
  • 5x50 (200 pace)
  • Rest 15 seconds
  • 5x50 (200 pace)
  • Rest 10 seconds
  • 5x50 (200 pace)
  • Rest 5 seconds

Card Game

This is ideal for team practices when the swimmers are desperate for variety. This set forces random practice, which will increase retention of motor skills.

  • Set up a card protocol with specific distances and pre-determined rest intervals. For example:
  • Spade equals 12.5 yards/meters at 50 pace
  • Club equals 25 yards/meters at 100 pace
  • Diamond equals 50 yards/meters at 200 pace
  • Heart equals 100 yards/meters at 500 pace
  • If someone pulls the eight of spades, the team performs 8x12.5 with a 20-second rest
  • After each card, perform a short cooldown
  • Another team member picks a card

Want more workouts to add to the repetition? Check out STACK's Swim Training Library

Topics: SWIMMING
Must See
RGIII Talks About His Legacy RGIII Talks About His Legacy
Views: 30,273,546
NFL Wide Receiver Randall Cobb Outworks Everyone NFL Wide Receiver Randall Cobb Outworks Everyone
Views: 33,665,641
Derrick Rose Explains How He Stays Positive Derrick Rose Explains How He Stays Positive
Views: 7,228,261

Featured Videos

Kevin Love's In-Season Basketball Workout Kevin Love's In-Season Basketball Workout Views: 1,017,580
A Day in the Life With Kansas City Chiefs Tight End Travis Kelce A Day in the Life With Kansas City Chiefs Tight End Travis Kelce Views: 15,821
Path to the Pros 2015: Shaq Thompson Path to the Pros 2015: Shaq Thompson Views: 70,687
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

Two-Ball Dribbling Drill With John Wall Two-Ball Dribbling Drill With John Wall
Views: 3,362,717
Paul Rabil's Box Jumps Paul Rabil's Box Jumps
Views: 851,414
Roy Hibbert 540 lbs Deadlift Roy Hibbert 540 lbs Deadlift
Views: 1,577,083
Dribbling Drills for Tighter Handles Dribbling Drills for Tighter Handles
Views: 4,333,085
Ohio State Football Open Field Plyo Drill Ohio State Football Open Field Plyo Drill
Views: 9,499,111

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like
4 Simple Drills to Improve Your Endurance

4 Simple Drills to Improve Your Endurance

Training with the Elevation Training Mask 2.0

Training with the Elevation Training Mask 2.0

Get in Shape With 5 Intense Lower-Body Finishers

Get in Shape With 5 Intense Lower-Body Finishers

Improve Your Aerobic Fitness in the Off-Season

Improve Your Aerobic Fitness in the Off-Season

Get in Football Shape Fast With Metabolic Runs

Get in Football Shape Fast With Metabolic Runs

Get in Shape Fast With Todd Durkin's 5 Intense Workout Finishers

Get in Shape Fast With Todd Durkin's 5 Intense Workout Finishers

Who Invented the Burpee?

Who Invented the Burpee?

Advanced High School Football Summer Conditioning Program

Advanced High School Football Summer Conditioning Program

Obstacle Race Training: Get in Shape With This Finisher

Obstacle Race Training: Get in Shape With This Finisher

Get in Basketball Shape With the Right Workout

Get in Basketball Shape With the Right Workout

A Slo-Mo Must-See: Ike Taylor's 4-Man Battle Rope Squats

A Slo-Mo Must-See: Ike Taylor's 4-Man Battle Rope Squats

Adeline Gray Is Going for Gold

Adeline Gray Is Going for Gold

Test Your Toughness With the Who Dat? Challenge

Test Your Toughness With the Who Dat? Challenge

Get in Shape With This Basketball Conditioning Workout

Get in Shape With This Basketball Conditioning Workout

Baseball Conditioning: Why You Need an Aerobic Base

Baseball Conditioning: Why You Need an Aerobic Base

How to Build Soccer-Specific Conditioning

How to Build Soccer-Specific Conditioning

Can You Pass Drew Brees' Conditioning Test?

Can You Pass Drew Brees' Conditioning Test?

Can You Handle the Husker Toughness Test?

Can You Handle the Husker Toughness Test?

WATCH: Ronda Rousey's Intense New Bag Drill

WATCH: Ronda Rousey's Intense New Bag Drill

LaTroy Hawkins' Epic Battle Ropes Workout

LaTroy Hawkins' Epic Battle Ropes Workout

Why Better Conditioned Athletes Have Fewer Injuries

Why Better Conditioned Athletes Have Fewer Injuries

Can You Survive the 100 Bears Challenge?

Can You Survive the

How Sporting Kansas City Stays 'Sporting Fit'

How Sporting Kansas City Stays 'Sporting Fit'

ZSeries 10-Minute Workouts: The Hill

ZSeries 10-Minute Workouts: The Hill

STACK Challenge: 500-Meter Row

STACK Challenge: 500-Meter Row

5 Brutal Sprint Drills That Push the Lactic Threshold

5 Brutal Sprint Drills That Push the Lactic Threshold

In Defense of Cardio

In Defense of Cardio

Off-Season Conditioning: Full-Body Med Ball Workout

Off-Season Conditioning: Full-Body Med Ball Workout

ZSeries 10-Minute Workouts: Interval Sprints

ZSeries 10-Minute Workouts: Interval Sprints

4 HIIT Workouts That Will Get You in Shape Fast

4 HIIT Workouts That Will Get You in Shape Fast

High-Intensity Interval Training: How Much Is Too Much?

High-Intensity Interval Training: How Much Is Too Much?

Alternatives to Boring Cardio Training

Alternatives to Boring Cardio Training

LeBron James's Insane Conditioning Drill

LeBron James's Insane Conditioning Drill

How to Avoid Hockey Conditioning That Slows You Down

How to Avoid Hockey Conditioning That Slows You Down

Understanding the Benefits and Risks of Altitude Training

Understanding the Benefits and Risks of Altitude Training

Win the Fourth Quarter With These Basketball Sled Push Finishers

Win the Fourth Quarter With These Basketball Sled Push Finishers

ZSeries 10-Minute Workouts: Fartlek Run

ZSeries 10-Minute Workouts: Fartlek Run

The Mount Everest Treadmill Challenge

The Mount Everest Treadmill Challenge

7 Footwork Drills That Give You an Advantage

7 Footwork Drills That Give You an Advantage

Prepare for Your Season With These Conditioning Drills

Prepare for Your Season With These Conditioning Drills

STACK Challenge: Finish Strong

STACK Challenge: Finish Strong

5 NBA Players Who Found Their Game After Losing Weight

5 NBA Players Who Found Their Game After Losing Weight

YardBarker