Swimming Program for Higher Levels of Fitness
This program includes a warm-up, specific conditioning drills for strokes and kicking, and a cool-down. It involves interval training three days a week and distance training two days per week.
Warm up before each workout by swimming 2-4 laps at an easy pace. It is also a good idea to warm up your legs and hips by holding on to the side of the pool and gently moving your legs using a flutter-kick motion. At the end of the workout, cool down by swimming 100-200 meters at a slow pace.
On Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, do interval training. Your goal is to swim intervals totaling 2000 meters per workout (20 sets of 100 meters each) at a fast pace with 30 seconds of rest between each set, or interval. (i.e., swim 100 meters, rest, swim 100 meters, rest, etc.) Every fifth interval, swim 25 meters using your legs alone, with your arms extended in front of you. Have someone watch you during the legs-only swims to make sure you are kicking mainly from the hips and maintaining a neutral spine. Add variety to your interval training workouts by using gloves, swim paddles, or fins.
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If you are unable to do the interval workout at first, modify it by increasing rest intervals, decreasing speed, or decreasing the number of sets as you gradually increase the volume and intensity.
On Tuesday and Thursday, do distance training. Swim 1000-2000 meters continuously at a comfortable pace. Although distance days will help develop endurance, they are used mainly to help you recover from intense interval training days.
Rest on Saturday and Sunday. Rest is very important to help your muscles and metabolism recover and build fitness. Rest will also prevent overtraining and overuse injuries. Include two rest days per week. Rest days can be consecutive (such as Saturday and Sunday) or interspersed during the normal workout schedule.