Coach Ray

Training for Excellence, with Excellent Training

Swim Session
Swim Sessions Triathlon Training

Saturday Swim Session: Paddles and Pull Buoy to Improve Swimming Strength

Utilising both Pull Buoy and Paddles is a great way to improve your specific swimming strength. This session 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;
  • 8x 50m (25m Drill/25m Swim);
  • 4x 50m Paddles 20sec RI;
  • 4x 50m Swim 20sec RI;
  • 4x 50m Paddles & Pull Buoy 20sec RI;
  • 4x 50m Swim 20sec RI;
  • 200m CD (1,600m)

Option B

  • 400m WU;
  • 8x 50m (25m Drill/25m Swim);
  • 8x 50m Paddles 20sec RI;
  • 8x 50m Swim 20sec RI;
  • 8x 50m Paddles & Pull Buoy 20sec RI;
  • 8x 50m Swim 20sec RI;
  • 200m CD (2,600m)

Option C

  • 600m WU;
  • 12x 50m (25m Drill/25m Swim);
  • 12x 50m Paddles 20sec RI;
  • 12x 50m Swim 20sec RI;
  • 12x 50m Paddles & Pull Buoy 20sec RI;
  • 12x 50m Swim 20sec RI;
  • 200m CD (3,800m)

Start the workout with a Warm Up (WU) covering 200m (Option A), 400m (Option B) or 600m (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 eight (Options A and B) or twelve (Option C) repetitions 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 doing them twice through for Options A and B or three times through for 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.

Following the set of drills take the fins off and complete four sets of 50m reps. If you are doing Option A it is four sets of four reps, Option B is four sets of eight reps and Option C is four sets of twelve reps. The sets of 50m are different each time.

The first set is four (Option A), eight (Option B) or twelve (Option C) reps of 50m wearing hand paddles with a 20 second Rest Interval (RI) between reps.

The second set is four (Option A), eight (Option B) or twelve (Option C) reps of 50m freestyle with a 20 second Rest Interval (RI) between reps.

The third set is four (Option A), eight (Option B) or twelve (Option C) reps of 50m wearing hand paddles and a pull buoy with a 20 second Rest Interval (RI) between reps.

The fourth and final set is four (Option A), eight (Option B) or twelve (Option C) reps of 50m freestyle with a 20 second Rest Interval (RI) between reps.

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 Coaching.

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.

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

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Ray has competed in triathlons from sprint to ironman distance (both IM Taupo and Challenge Wanaka). Consequently he is aware of the importance of balancing training with lifestyle, thus complimenting other important aspects of an athlete’s life (family, work, study commitments etc…). • Entering your first triathlon? • Stepping up to a longer distance? • Looking to go faster? • Wanting to turn previous negatives into positives? Ray has coached athletes to achieve these and more. Training programmes are accessible online, so athletes can be located anywhere and still reap the benefits of Ray’s coaching. Contact him to discuss how he can assist you to achieve your goals.
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