Increased speed is a goal for many swimmers. When practicing and training, certain exercises are designed to target goals like speed. Over time, these drills and exercises train your body to use efficient techniques and muscle groups to pull through the water faster.
With swimming, every second counts. As you work on increasing your swim speeds, shaving even a fraction of a second off your time is a move in the right direction. Use drills and exercises to improve elements like:
- Underwater time
- Turn time
- Stroke rate
- Reaction time
To train your body to swim faster, you must use exercises that target these elements. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular swimming exercises for faster speeds.
Exercises for Improving Swimming Speeds
Exercise #1: Repeat Sprints
One way to increase your swimming speeds is to practice sprints. This workout in particular helps you target high speeds in short intervals. You can also use fins with this drill to get a better feel for the increased speed and efficiency. Fins also help you maintain your speed for longer periods of time.
Here’s how the exercise works:
- Start with a 300m warm-up in your swim style of choice
- 50m freestyle fast with fins on 10 to 15 seconds rest
- 2 x 25s fast choice with fins on 10 to 15 seconds rest
- 50m recovery backstroke on 20 to 30 seconds rest
- Repeat steps 2 to 4 up to 10x
- For cool down, do 6 x 50s on 10 to 15 seconds rest, working on your breathing patterns
Exercise #2: Kick and Swim Sprint
In a previous blog post, we shared how certain freestyle drills can help you gradually improve your technique, thereby increasing your speed in the water. This is one of those exercises that works for swimmers of any level — from beginner to advanced.
Follow these steps:
- For the warm-up, do 300m choice, 75m freestyle/25m stroke, on 1 minute rest; then 2 x 100s on 15 seconds rest
- 6 x 50s freestyle on 15 seconds rest
- 200m kick on 1 minute rest
- 100m recovery backstroke
- Repeat steps 2 to 4 about 3 times with 1 to 2 minutes rest between rounds
- Cool down with 6 x 50s on 15 to 20 seconds rest, working on your breathing pattern
Exercise #3: Both Sides Breathing Drill
You’d be surprised how much your breathing can impact stamina, endurance, and overall swim efficiency. Improving your breathing can positively impact multiple areas of your swim technique and thereby improve speed. This drill also helps balance out your stroke.
Try this pattern:
- Do 4 freestyle strokes
- Breathe to the right on the fifth stroke
- 4 more strokes
- Breathe to the left on the fifth stroke
- Continue this pattern for the length of the pool
Exercise #4: Rotation Kick Drill
Working certain muscle groups and areas of the body can improve strength and endurance which, in turn, improves technique and speed. This exercise uses rotation in the hips to keep the core tight.
Follow these steps:
- With both hands at your sides, start swimming using the flutter kick
- Add in slow rotation from side to side
- Keep a steady kick from the hips throughout, especially while breathing
- Try to keep one goggle in the water when you turn your head to breathe
No matter how you work to achieve your goal of faster swim speeds, practice makes perfect. The more you practice (while using good technique, of course), the better you will get. Keep this motivation in mind as you incorporate new swimming exercises for better speed into your routine. Good luck!
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