Swim Workout By A Swim Enthusiast
A swim workout is unlike bikers and runners. Swimmers do not have many options to change their workout venue or course in order to make their workout more interesting. Avid swimmers are typically limited to working out in the same public pool, day in and day out, just to get their endorphin fix.
Either way, keeping the swim workout interesting can be a bit of a challenge when each swim tends to be in the same pool and in the same lane. Lap after lap, swimmers see the same bottom of the pool, the same lane lines, and the same ceiling beams.
However, it does not have to be that way. Instead of traveling to the next town to swim in a different pool to liven things up, swimmers can vary the dynamics of each swim session to make things much more interesting.
4 Simple Tips to Make Your Swim Workout Interesting
Here are 4 simple tips that you can incorporate into your next workout and immediately make things more interesting.
1. Vary rest intervals within a set. Varying the rest interval has all the benefits of interval training while making the swim workout more interesting. Start with a rest interval and then add or subtract 5 seconds to or from each interval. The important thing here is to make sure you do not increase the rest interval to the point that your heart rate drops below your target heart rate zone. Your main set may look something like this: (All distances are in yards or meters. One length of an indoor pool is typically 25 yards.)
- 2×200’s, 10 seconds rest after each 200 (8 lengths of a 25 yard pool)
- 2×200’s, 15 seconds rest after each 200
- 2×200’s, 20 seconds rest after each 200
2. Vary the effort within each set by using percent-perceived exertion. By increasing or decreasing effort, your heart rate will change accordingly and you can improve training effects. Modifying the above set using percent-perceived exertion may look something like this:
- 2×200’s, 10 seconds rest, 70% effort
- 2×200’s, 15 seconds rest, 80% effort
- 2×200’s, 20 seconds rest, 90% effort
3. Vary distance intervals within each set. Start with longer distances and then progress to shorter distance intervals by the end of the session. This gives your body a chance to increase rest interval frequency as you fatigue. End the swim with a warm down set of 25’s. Here is an example of what I mean:
- 12×25’s Warm Down
4. Lastly, vary the stroke within each set or subset. Besides making things more interesting, changing strokes also changes muscle groups and angles of pull that can prevent overuse injuries in the shoulders. The following is a couple typical subsets of a major set that we commonly use to break up the monotony:
- 12×75’s, Freestyle-backstroke-freestyle
- 6×150’s, the last 50 yards breaststroke and/or backstroke.
Follow these 4 simple steps and you will be rewarded with a swim workout that is interesting and keeps your mind busy. You will be figuring out and keeping track of the pace, rest interval, distance interval or what stroke is on the next lap. For a real challenge, create workouts that incorporate all 4 every time you jump into the pool. Let the creativity begin!