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50 x 6 x 6 Swim Workout


A swim workout based around six sets of 50s, this swimming practice moves from a proportionately easier set of 6 x 50 (50% of them at a fast effort) to a set of 6 x 50 all at a fast effort. As the number of faster 50s increases, so does the rest between each 50. This should help you keep the effort level high so that there is a big difference between the easy and the fast swims. To make this set more sprint-focused, increase the rest between the 50s by adding 10-20 seconds to each on the listed rest amounts. To make it more endurance-focused, make the rest 5 to 10 seconds maximum for all of the 50s.

Swim on!

The Swim Workout

NOTE: It is OK to shorten this warm-up to fit the main set within your allotted amount of time to swim
4 x 100 (:20 Swim and drill mix. Do drills for technique practice for one length, then swim for one length, then repeat.
8 x 50 (:10 Kick. First and last 50 of each at a moderate effort, the rest of each is easy.
2 x 200 (:20 Pull. First and last 50 of each at a moderate effort, the rest of each is easy.

Take some extra rest if needed, sip some water or sports drink, and get ready for the main set.

Main Set If you need to take extra rest between each set of 6 x 50s, take enough to get your breathing back under control, but not so much that you cool off or that your heart rate drops too much.
6 x 50 (:05 Swim. Pattern = one fast and one easy 50. There should be a very noticeable effort difference.
6 x 50 (:10 Swim. Pattern = two fast and one easy 50 (Fast-Fast-Easy-Fast-Fast-Easy).
6 x 50 (:15 Swim. Pattern = three fast and one easy 50 (Fast-Fast-Fast-Easy-Fast-Fast).
6 x 50 (:20 Swim. Pattern = four fast and one easy 50 (Fast-Fast-Fast-Fast-Easy-Fast).
6 x 50 (:25 Swim. Pattern = five fast and one easy (Fast-Fast-Fast-Fast-Fast-Easy).
6 x 50 (:30 Swim. All fast.

1 x 100 Swim. Loosen a bit more, collect your thoughts, and you are done

Click on the "print" icon on the upper right to get a copy formatted for printing so you can print it and take the workout with you to the pool

About Swimming Workouts

This workout is designed to take between 75-minutes and 90-minutes. If that is too much time or distance, then cut things out, but do not always cut out the same thing every workout. And never skip the loosen at the end of the workout. Use that as one last bit of technique work before you leave the swimming pool at the end of the workout.

After the description of the set there is a number in a half-parentheses, like this - (:30 - that is how much rest you get after each swim. For example, 6 x 100 (:30 means you are to swim a 100 (yards or meters), rest 30-seconds, then repeat five more times.

There is nothing special about these swim practice sessions other than what you bring to them. Lots of freedom here. You control how hard or fast you swim and what swim strokes you want to use while swimming the workouts. Normally the amount of rest per swim will limit your top-end speed on a workout, but that does not mean go as fast as you can all of the time. A few guidelines:

  • The more rest you get, the faster the swim.
  • The early parts of a workout should always be easy to moderate and very deliberate.
  • Use your best swimming technique.
  • Stop the workout if you are too tired, go for it again in the future.You get to be a better swimmer by recovering from the workouts you do, not by doing more and more swimming without resting and recovering from that swimming.
  • Have fun with the workouts.
  • Change the strokes you are doing from time to time, try new things, and don't get caught in a rut.

Each workout has:

  • a warm-up
  • stroke drills or swimming technique work
  • kicking
  • pulling
  • a main set
  • a loosen or cool-down

More Reading for Swimmers on Swim Workouts:

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