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Monday Motivation: Kick & Pull Workout

Today's workouts are focusing on kick and pull efficiency. When you're kicking freestyle, backstroke, or butterfly, you want to kick from your hips and thighs, with your legs almost completely straight. You don't have to make giant scissors - keep your thighs close together like you're trying to start a fire between them. Think of keeping your toes inside a small, short box, with your feet barely breaking the surface of the water.


When you pull, you want to keep your arm between 60-90% straight, depending on your flexibility and strength. When practicing your pull, keep your eyes open, and watch what your hand, wrist, and forearm are doing. If they're making S-shapes, directing an orchestra, waving at the crowd, or anything else wild, try to tweak your stroke so you're actively keeping your hand and arm headed down a "railroad track" underneath you. Here's a video explaining some pull technique tips from the Global Triathlon Network.


I've included several workouts below to cater folks goals, swimming abilities, and time constraints. If you have questions about a workout, or would like more specific to your needs or abilities, don't hesitate to email hello@swimwildwaters.com. Some of these workouts include "drills" - read more about drills in this article.


On-Deck Warm Up

Regardless of your abilities, you should always warm up before getting in the pool. A quick full body on-deck warm up I like to do is:

  • 2-3 minutes of shoulders - keep arms at or above shoulders like you're directing a plane to land. Watch this video for a full routine

  • 30 seconds of giant hip circles or full body twists to warm up hips and back

  • 30 calf raises, either raising heels off the ground together, or alternating feet

  • Deep breaths - in through the mouth, out through the nose

Note: several of these workouts have the term "base" to calculate your interval. You can determine your base interval with a test set (typically: 10 x 100 or 10 x 50 on the fastest interval you can maintain). Most swimmers do this test set monthly to recalibrate and maintain progress. Example: Suzy does a test set of 10 x 100 and is able to make all 10 on the 1:30. She knows she wouldn't have made them on the 1:25, and she would have gotten a lot of rest on the 1:35. For a set where the interval for a 200 is defined as base + :10, her interval is calculated as finding the base interval for a 200 (3:00) and adding 10 seconds, so it would be 3:10. More info and a pace chart available through USMS.

 

Short Workout

WARM UP

4 x 100 as 50 kick, 50 choice (your choice of stroke) swim

100 pull free (buoy only)

100 free build easy to fast

SET 1

2 x 200, rest :20

#1: pull freestyle (paddles and buoy)

#2: pull freestyle (buoy only)

*watch your hands and arms and try to focus on one specific improvement each 200

SET 2

8 x 50 your choice of kick on rest :15

as 25 easy kick/ 25 sprint kick

Cool down: 100 easy freestyle

Total: 1500

 

Medium Workout

WARM UP

200 choice swim

200 choice kick

200 pull with buoy only

200 build free

SET 1

4 x 200, rest :20

#1-2: pull freestyle (paddles and buoy)

#3: pull freestyle (buoy only)

$4: freestyle swim, perfect pull technique

*watch your hands and arms and try to focus on one specific improvement each 200

SET 2

8 x 100 on rest :10 as

1-4 descend pull with paddles and buoy

5-8 descend swim free


SET 3

8 x 50 as 25 easy kick/25 sprint kick choice (ideally IM order) on rest :10

Cool down: 100 easy

Total: 2900

 

Long-ish Workout

WARM UP

1000 SKIPS

(200 swim, 200 kick, 200 IM, 200 pull, 200 swim)

SET 1

4 x 200, rest :20

#1-2: pull freestyle (paddles and buoy)

#3: pull freestyle (buoy only)

$4: freestyle swim, perfect pull technique

*watch your hands and arms and try to focus on one specific improvement each 200

SET 2

12 x 100 on rest :10 as

1-4 descend pull with paddles and buoy

5-8 descend swim free

9-12 descend pull with buoy only


SET 3

2 x [

4 x 50 as 25 easy kick/25 sprint kick choice (ideally IM order) on rest :10

2 x 100 as 50 build, 50 perfect pull rest :10 ]

Cool down: 100 easy choice

Total: 3900

 

Loooong Workout

WARM UP

1000 SKIPS

(200 swim, 200 kick, 200 IM, 200 pull, 200 swim)

SET 1

4 x 500, rest :20

#1-2: pull freestyle (paddles and buoy)

#3: pull freestyle (buoy only)

$4: freestyle swim, perfect pull technique

*watch your hands and arms and try to focus on one specific improvement each 200

SET 2

12 x 100 on rest :10 as

1-4 descend pull with paddles and buoy

5-8 descend swim free

9-12 descend pull with buoy only


SET 3

8 x 200 on rest :15 as (50 kick, 100 build, 50 non-freestyle)

SET 4

6 x 300 on base + :20

odd lengths: overkick

even lengths: power pull (add more muscular power by pressing your palm into the resistance of the water, throwing it toward your feet)

Cool down: 100 easy choice

Total: 7700

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