Saturday Swim Session: Build Strength Through the Use of Paddles

Paddles are a great tool to build strength whilst swimming. They are specific, however just be careful that they aren’t too big, as the bigger they are the greater risk of an over use injury. 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

  • 300m WU;
  • 8x 50m Drill/Swim;
  • 2x 50m Paddles 20sec RI;
  • 2x 50m Swim 20sec RI;
  • 2x 100m Paddles 20sec RI;
  • 2x 100m Swim 20sec RI;
  • 200m Paddles;
  • 200m CD (1,700m);

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;
  • 400m Paddles;
  • 200m CD (2,800m);

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;
  • 400m Paddles;
  • 400m Swim;
  • 200m CD (3,800m);

Start the workout with a Warm Up (WU) covering 300m (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 eight repetitions (Options A and 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 twice through for Options A and B, and 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.

Coach Ray’s Top 3 Swimming Drills to Get You Swimming Smooth

After the set of  drills take the fins off.

In this workout there are a number of Main Sets, all done one after the other with the specified Rest intervals.

The first set is two (Option A) or four (Options B & C) reps of 50m swum using hand paddles, each with a 20 second Rest Interval (RI) afterwards (including the last one leading into the next set).

The second set is a set of two (Option A) or four (Options B & C) reps of 50m swum as freestyle, each with a 20 second Rest Interval (RI) afterwards (including the last one leading into the next set).

The third set is made up of two (Option A) or four (Options B & C) reps of 100m swum using hand paddles, each with a 20 second Rest Interval (RI) afterwards (including the last one leading into the next set).

This is followed by a set of two (Option A) or four (Options B & C) reps of 100m swum as freestyle, each with a 20 second Rest Interval (RI) afterwards (including the last one leading into the next set).

Next up we have a single rep of either 200m (Option A) or 400m (Options B & C) with Hand Paddles. At this point Options A & B move to the Cool Down and Option C completes another 400m this time without the hand paddles.

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.

You can repeat this session in a few weeks time and track your progress by measuring how much faster you are now swimming the distance.

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.

Saturday Swim Session – 100’s and 50’s to Sustain Your Swimming Pace

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