As the summer comes to a close, tans will start to fade and outdoor pools across much of the country will close—but that doesn’t mean our pool workouts need to end when the leaves begin to change.
The resistance of water is an incredible tool for improving strength and cardiovascular fitness and as an added bonus; swimming is a virtually impact-free workout. The risk for stress injury in swimmers is far less than that of frequent runners or weight lifters, so adding a swim set to your training will mean a stronger body that’s less prone to injury.
Enjoy your swim workouts in those outdoor pools while you can and then keep up with your training by joining a gym with a pool or getting a pass to use the one at a nearby college. If you’re looking for a new workout, check out and customize the one below.
You can adjust this workout by changing the number of reps or distance to best suit your fitness level. All double and triple digit numbers that are not labeled are yards and the single number before the ‘x’ is the number of sets.
Skill Level: Intermediate
Total Distance: 1,800 yards
Warmup: 300 yards (relaxed pace)
3 x 50 kick—holding a kickboard out in front of you, use only your legs to power yourself through the water.
3 x 50 pull—using a pull buoy to keep your legs stationary, pull yourself through the water using only your arms.
Drills: 600 yards
4 x 25—one lap of each stroke, sprint (rest as needed)
Rest one minute at the end of the set, then repeat twice, for a total of three sets
Main Set: 700 yards
200 yards breaststroke
200 yards freestyle
150 yards under overs—from start, swim underwater as far as you can, when you come up for air freestyle to opposite wall. On return, breaststroke on the surface of the water.
150 yards kick
Rest 30 seconds between sets
Warmdown: 200 yards (relaxed pace)
4 x 50 swimmer’s choice
Editor’s note: always check with your doctor and be mindful of your fitness level before beginning any training program.