Saturday Swim Session – Paddles Galore

Utilising Hand Paddles as part of your swim workout is a great way to develop swim specific strength. This workout is perfect for Ironman and Olympic distance triathletes or people doing longer ocean swims.

Each week I will load three options up for you to do. Option A is for swimmers who are after a workout less than 2,000 metres. Option B is for swimmers who are after a workout between 2,000 and 3,000m and Option C will be greater than 3,000m.

Option A

  • 200m WU;
  • 4x 50m Drill/Swim;
  • 4x 50m Paddles 20sec RI;
  • 4x 50m Swim 20sec RI;
  • 4x 100m Paddles 20sec RI;
  • 4x 100m Swim 20sec RI;
  • 200m CD (1,800m)

Option B

  • 600m WU;
  • 8x 50m Drill/Swim;
  • 4x 50m Paddles 20sec RI;
  • 4x 50m Swim 20sec RI;
  • 4x 100m Paddles 20sec RI;
  • 4x 100m Swim 20sec RI;
  • 200m Paddles;
  • 200m CD (2,600m)

Option C

  • 1,000m WU;
  • 12x 50m Drill/Swim;
  • 4x 50m Paddles 20sec RI;
  • 4x 50m Swim 20sec RI;
  • 4x 100m Paddles 20sec RI;
  • 4x 100m Swim 20sec RI;
  • 200m Paddles;
  • 200m Swim;
  • 200m CD (3,400m)

Start the workout with a Warm Up (WU) covering 200m (Option A), 600m (Option B) or 1,000m (Option C). During the warm up feel free to stop and stretch as needed.  It doesn’t need to be a continuous swim.

Next up is a drill set of four (Option A), eight (Option B) or twelve repetitions (Option C) of 50m Drill/Swim, where you do a drill for the first 25m of the repetition and then normal swimming for the next 25m swimming. Feel free to use fins whilst doing the drill/swim set.  Do the drills below once through (Option A) twice through to make eight reps (Option B), or three times through to make twelve reps (Option C):

  1. Kick On Side (KOS) left side 
  2. Kick On Side (KOS) right side 
  3. 6/1/6 
  4. 6/3/6

I wrote an article about swimming drills previously. Click here to read and watch it.

The next four sets are all the same across the three workouts prior to Option A moving to the Cool Down (CD) whilst Options B and C continue with extra sets and Option C does an extra set when Option B moves to the Cool Down (CD).

First up is a set of four reps of 50m swimming with Handle Paddles all with a  short 20 second Rest Interval (RI). When using Hand Paddles make sure they aren’t too big.  Ideally they should be slightly bigger than your hands (you can get some that are dinner plate size). You also want to build into using them progressively and not too much, as developing strength too quickly (particularly with poor technique) can overload the shoulders and injuries (particularly to the rotator cuff) can result.

The next set involves swimming a set of four reps of 50m swimming with a  short 20 second Rest Interval (RI) without hand paddles.

This then progresses to a set of four reps of 100m swimming with Handle Paddles also with a  short 20 second Rest Interval (RI).

Next is a set of four reps of 100m swimming also with a  short 20 second Rest Interval (RI) without hand paddles.

At this point Option A moves to the Cool Down (CD).

Options B and C complete a straight swim of 200m with Hand Paddles on. After this Option B moves to the Cool Down whilst Option C completes a 200m hard swim without paddles before the Cool Down (CD).

For the Cool Down (CD) swim 200m. Unlike the previous sets which have to be freestyle, the cool down (like the warm up) can be any stroke you wish to swim.  You can also stop and rest after any length.  I encourage you to stop and stretch during the cool down.

If you would like further advice feel free to contact me.

I am the Head Coach & Director of Qwik Kiwi – Endurance Sports Consultant.

I specialise in assisting first timers and recreational athletes to achieve their sporting goals. I can be contacted at coachray@coachray.nz and 021 348 729. Make sure you sign up to my informative newsletter.

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If you enjoyed this workout, here is a similar session I published 12 months ago.

Saturday Swim Session: 200’s

Coach Ray is the author of the successful 12 Weeks to an Ironman Swim PB – Swim Faster with Smart Training eBook.

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