“I love training!” – This is a phrase you can either relate with, or completely disagree with. But if you think it’s something you don’t have a choice in…lay back on the couch and finish off that bag of chips. You’re already ruled out.

Loving or hating swimming training comes down to the type of workouts you’re doing…and understanding what each type of training is for.

The Problem With Most Swim Workouts

You see, most swim workouts suck! They are boring, tedious, monotonous. They don’t work the different energy systems. They are designed to fill in time and keep you busy for 60 or 90 minutes.

This isn’t your fault or your coaches fault. Most coaches do the best they can with what they know. I’ve been guilty I’ve writing crappy programs on the spot because I haven’t planned the workout in advance. I’ve put up boring sets of 400’s to fill time.

Whether you write your own programs or have a coach who does this for you, bad workouts are all too common.

Swimming pool for workouts
Clear water: Nothing but space to train!

Supercharging Your Swimming

Imagine a car race. You turn up in and old beat up, dent-in-the-hood Datsun. Paint is flaking from the passenger-side door, the bumper is hanging to one side and you can tell by the sound of the engine you might be pushing the car over the finishing line.

Enter your competitor, an F1 car. It’s fast, it’s shiny and the high-pitched roar of the engine makes you slightly weak in the bladder. You know deep down no matter how much time you spend on your beat up Ford Escort, no matter how hard you try…winning “just ain’t gonna happen”.

This is the same scenario as structured and planned swimming workouts vs traditional time-filler workouts. If you know what to do in a session to make you fitter, stronger, faster…you’ll be driving that F1 car right past the paddock bomb in a few short weeks.

Training Speeds Explained

All training boils down to three types of swim speeds.

  1. Speed
  2. Back end speed (a.k.a quality work, pace work)
  3. Aerobic

The video above explains each of the training speeds and how you can use them in a swimming workout.

How To Improve Your Swimming

After spending more than 8,000’s in the pool and on pool deck (coaching), I’ve come to realise the importance of swim workouts. They’re not all the same.

The best workouts are specific to what you’re training for (be it a pool competition, triathlon/open water swim or general fitness) and they include speed training, quality work, aerobic work plus all the skill work required for good technique.

You need the right amount of recovery and rest in your main sets. Too little and you can’t get the most out of the set, too much and your heart rate will drop below the training zone you’re working on. This sounds confusing but don’t worry…it’s easier than it sounds.

I’ve trained with Olympic swimmers, world record holders and coached more than half a dozen swimmers to national master’s records. The workouts we do play a large part in their success.

When I surveyed our newsletter subscribers the second most requested information was swimming workouts (behind swimming technique).

Results from our survey

Now Available

I’ve decided to share the workouts that have help create national champions and that I’ve learnt from elite swimmers, triathletes and coaches. Each workout has been adjusted to suit beginners, intermediates and experienced swimmers, so whatever level your swimming is at you can use the workouts.

The swimmers I coach in Melbourne pay up to $104/month for the workouts. Because I’m not physicallly required to be there when you use the workouts you can get a month’s worth of workouts for much less than that.

To see if Effortless Swimming Workouts are suitable for you go to EffortlessSwimmingWorkouts.com or ask me any questions in the comments section below and I’ll answer them for you.

If you found this article helpful please share it with a fellow swimmer or triathlete. They will thank you for it!

15 Responses

  1. I’m a 48 year-old triathlete. Recently I’ve achieved my goal of 2.4 mile distance. And have a PB of 85min in the pool without flip turns. My gains over the past two years have come from technique, improved endurance from running, lower %body fat (16.5%) and weight, plus nutrition. I currently have access to two swimming sessions of 90 minutes, perhaps a third every other week. I’m just swimming freestyle with bilateral breathing for 2.4 miles each session. I have a small home gym, but don’t use it frequenly. Where will my time be best spent to improve my pace – weights, technique,etc?

  2. Dear Sir,

    I need to pay USD 17.- for the video but not sure if this fee includes the postage to Sri Lanka. Or is it to be downloaded? Kindly let me know.

    Thanks in advance

    Gehan Wijesinghe
    Sri Lanka

  3. Your workout plan sounds fantastic and I’m sure it would benefit elite swimmers, but do you have modified versions for those of us who are … well, let’s just say not as elite. My fastest time this summer for 100M free was 1:18. I’d like to get better, but in reality, as I get into my late 40s, I’d be happy just to maintain my fitness level and continue to enjoy the camaraderie and competition of masters meets. Do you have workouts to help keep me motivated without getting frustrated?

  4. @Joe M

    Congratulations on getting to where you are now. It sounds like you’ve already achieved a lot. I think the best use of your time would be to:

    – Implement a strength training program focusing on core and shoulder strength. (Grab a pilates DVD and a theroband for your shoulder exercises). It only takes 20-30 minutes 2-3 times a week to see a noticeable improvement.
    – Work on a handful of drills suring warm up in each session to improve your technique.
    – Mixing up your workouts with some different sets instead of swimming 2.4 miles straight. Giving yourself a set of 10×100 with 15 secs rest between 100’s allows you to work harder during the swim. We do one week where we have a different test set each session, then train hard for four weeks then test ourselves again to measure our progress. Our distance test set is 6×200 on 2mins 45 secs for our main group (about 20 secs rests between 100’s. Take your times for each 200 and see how you progress each time you do the test set.

    Regards, Brent

  5. @Gehan Hi Gehan, it is digital download so there are no postage costs. The workouts are delivered via email 🙂

  6. @Molly –

    Hi Molly,

    Definately, each workout has three levels you can do it at (beginner, intermediate and advanced). Most of the intermediate workouts are between 2-3km. You could probably do some of the advanced workouts too if you’re a 1.18 freestyler. These are 3-5km (the speed workouts are shorter).

    All the best, Brent

  7. Hi, I am 37 and I started to swim a few years ago. I swim 1000 mts in 20 min and I want to improve this. ¿what do you suggest me to do?
    Thanks, Carolina (Argentina)

  8. Hi Carolina,

    Similar to what I recommended to Joe:

    – Start and strength training program working on core strength and shoulder stability
    – Technique (the Mastering Freestyle program is good for this)
    – Swim fitness. Doing the right workouts will help with this, as well as your strength and technique work.

    Regards, Brent

  9. Dear Brent,

    My son is 15 years old swimmer, he focused on the distance of 400 – 1500 m freestyle, but after a year is not well developed. The best time he was at the distance of 400 m was 04:17:30 and now is 04:22:46, and at a distance of 1500 m a years ago was 17:17:21 and now is 17:45:11.

    He is now training with 8 sessions a week, 4 session in the morning and 4 session in the afternoon.

    If I buy your product ” Effortless Swimming Workout ” and used to face the championships at the end of December whether it will be effective ?

  10. Hi There,
    I am a freestyle and backstroke Masters pool swimmer. Do your workouts include backstroke options ?
    Cheers Jenny

  11. Hi Jenny,

    Absolutely, the pool workouts are tailored for any stroke. There are some aerobic sessions which are freestyle focused but also speed and form workouts where you can do back, fly and breast.

    The workouts have a 30 day money back guarantee so you can try them out risk free and see if they’re for you or not.


  12. Hi,

    I’ve been looking at your site for a few weeks now. I started to swim 3 years ago, and although I have a PB on 3,8 km of 1h08′, I don’t feel confortable in water and get tired very quickly in the pool. I’m struggling to achieve 200’s or more.

    I don’t do flip turns and only occasionnaly give backstroke and breaststroke a shot.

    Which workouts would you recommend from your offer?

    (I can swim 3-4 times a week, but don’t have access to a team)

  13. Hi Franck,

    I’d recommend Swimprove, as it’s got the workouts and technique programs which will help you feel comfortable in the water. Otherwise, the tri workouts in Effortless Swimming Workouts will be the best place to start.

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