Strength Training For Triathlon Swimming – Issue #12

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Dear Tri Swim Coach subscriber,

This year, the newsletter will have an additional feature. I will now be adding a “Workout of the Month” to every other issue. The purpose of the workout is to supplement your current training with something that will keep you on track with a combination of drills and endurance sets, as well as help keep your training interesting by mixing things up. Feel free to modify the workout based on what phase of training you are in for your race. Also, don’t hesitate to email me at to make suggestions or ask questions. Today, we will discuss strength training for triathlon swimming.

For the full, 12-week training plan, check out The Complete Guide to Triathlon Swimming/Triathlon Swimming DVD on the

Happy Training! Kevin

Workout of the Month
WARM UP: 300, every 4th length non-free. Breath bilaterally (every 3 or 5 strokes) on freestyle lengths.
DRILL: 5×150’s Alternate 50 Kick on your side, 50 Fist Free, 50 Free Kick alternating left/right by 25
“Fist” is swimming freestyle with closed fists
Take :20 rest in between each 150
2×300’s Free 1×50 Backstroke 3×200’s Free 1×50 Backstroke 4×100’s Free 1×50 Backstroke
(Read across, i.e. 2×300’s followed by 1×50, etc.)
300’s: Swim at a moderate pace. Count strokes every 3 lengths and try to keep your stroke count consistent. Rest= :30
200’s: Descend time (get faster on each 200). Count strokes every 4 lengths and try to keep your stroke count the same as the 300’s. Rest= :30
100’s: Interval= cruise (an interval you can make comfortably with about 10 seconds rest, i.e. 1 minute, 45 seconds). Your goal on these is just to make the interval.
50’s: Easy, Rest= :15
4×50’s Free Golf. Add your time on each 50 to your stroke count. Try to beat this “score” by lowering it each time.
WARM DOWN: 200 Alternating Back/Free by 25. Do bilateral breathing on freestyle lengths.
Total Yards (or meters): 3200

Training Tip #11: Strength Training
I often get asked about what type of weights or strength training helps the most in swimming. The answer is that gaining muscle strength in general, such as working the triceps, will not help you to swim faster (especially when we’re taking distances of 1K or longer!). However, triathletes and open water swimmers can make improvements by working the core muscles (abs, back, hips). This means using the tools in the gym such as exercise ball, medicine balls, Bosu trainers, etc. There are many qualified personal trainers out there that can help you utilize this equipment effectively. Also, in The Complete Guide to Triathlon Swimming, there is a strength training plan with pictures that you can follow along with for an additional edge to your training.

For more on The Triathlon Swimming Essentials, click here!