Meat Grinders

Coach Ethan Leach

This set is called “Meat Grinders.” It says to do 2 rounds, but it was built to be stopped around halfway through the first round and started over, pushing the swimmers to their limit.

2 x [8 x 50 ALL OUT SPRINT, from the block, last person touch]
FL down, IMO back
(example: #1 FL/FL, #2 FL/BK, #3 FL/BR…)
Really emphasize the fact that the entire set is ALL OUT, so that when they start to slack off you threaten them with starting over again.

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Recovery Workout?

Ryan Woodruff, Lynchburg YMCA

We generally don’t do “recovery workouts.” Not because I don’t believe they have benefit, but rather because rarely do I have an entire group on the same page where that is what they all need at the same time.

Today was one of those rare times. Most of the group has just come off their high school state championships. We spent time at the beginning of practice going back over what we learned, how we swam, and what we can do better next time.

Here was the main block of the workout:

3 x 10:00 fartlek @11:00

#1 – 10 cycles kick against the wall at every wall then great underwaters on the push off

#2 – 25 drill/25 build done as 50 free/50 no free

#3 – all choice, sprint 1 cycle on first lap, 2 cycles on 2nd lap up to 4 cycles on fourth lap, continue that pattern.

3 x 500 kick @ coach’s go

25 fast -25 ez

50 fast- 50 ez

75 fast-75 ez

100 fast-100 ez

Lactate Production Set with Jeff Gross

Jeff Gross, Head Coach, Saline Swim Team

Founder, Techniq Group

We rarely repeat exact sets, aside from tests, but here is one we reliably do once per cycle. Here is a copy from something I wrote. 

Our sample set is one of my all time favorite lactate production sets (used early in the lactate production cycle noted above) and is one of the only sets I dependably repeat each season. I mean, its one of my all time favorite sets of any kind. Swimmers are asked to increase effort as the rest gradually increases; causing lactate levels to spike significantly. The set came to me from a long time mentor, Coach Richard Pointon:

2 x 50 @1:00 holding best 50 time +6/7 seconds

100 Smooth Technique As; 50x (Fists/ Stroke Count) @2:00

4 x 50 @1:10 holding best 50 time +4/5 seconds

100 Smooth Technique As; 50x (Fists/ Stroke Count) @2:00

6 x 50 @1:20 holding best 50 time + 2/3 seconds

100 Smooth Technique As; 50x (Fists/ Stroke Count)@2:00

8 x 50 @1:45 holding second half 100 pace

Longer flush out swim, min 300

I expounded on it a bit recently on our Blog at Techniq Group.


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Awesome Age Group Workout with Coach Gordon Brown

Gordon Brown, YMCA of Western Connecticut

“Wanted to share what we did tonight with our 10-12 year-old age group qualifiers. Workout attached below. They did a great job and had some really fast swims at the end.”

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Race To The Top

Alex Morris, KC Blazers

Here is a set idea that I came up with over the summer that I call “Race to the Top” which is very similar to the Targeted Finishes set.

? x 50 @ 1:01, beginning on the :10

The goal is to be back by the :00 (top)  (or :05 for second person, :10 for third person, etc.) no matter when you leave. So the interval is always 1:01, but you have 1 second less to complete each 50 as you go through

The first time you miss being back by the Top, you stop and sit one out and out on fins, then hop back in and continue until you miss again

If you are a coach who loves good quotes, you’ll want to check this out:

Targeted Finishes Pace Work with Coach Mike Pestorius

Mike Pestorius, Somerset Valley YMCA

This set was for our 13-14 year-olds in a 25m pool.

5 rounds of 6 x 100

The challenge is for the lane leader to finish on the :00 (second in the lane always on :05, 3rd on :10). 

Therefore, in the fast lanes, the kids need to go 1:20s on #1&2 (leave on the :40, finish on :00). #3 & 4, shoot for 1:15, #5, shoot for a 1:10, #6 is all out.  The interval is 2:00 when the goal is steady, 2:05when the goal gets faster.  Took a bit to explain it to the kids, but they really enjoyed it. We reset between rounds and took an easy 50 after rounds 4 and 5. 

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Coach Leroy’s Training Outline and Best Stroke Efficiency Set

Mathieu Leroy, Bishop’s Stortford, UK

Below is the training plan for Coach Leroy’s 50-100-200 Juniors group for the month of January and one of his recent workouts.

Purpose: efficiency work on your Best stroke. Secondary: muscular endurance with kick & pull set

Water! It’s easy for us as coaches to take it for granted. It only makes sense then, that we should try to ensure that every human being has access to clean water. We have started a campaign through charity:water to help end the water crisis in Africa. To find out more or donate, see Swim Coaches for Clean Water

Dueling Kick Sets

Ryan Woodruff, Lynchburg YMCA

We did these two parallel kick sets recently because we only have enough Drag Sox for 1/2 of my group to wear at one time. Prior to this, we had mostly used the Sox for short bouts of underwater kicking and sprint swimming. I loved this set — it was something a little different that really made them push themselves. We were in a 25m pool.

Group A did:

9 x 50 flutter kick with Drag Sox and board @ 1:40.

While Group B did:

10 x 75 flutter kick with board Descend 1-5 and 6-10 @1:30

Then switch sets.

One of our favorite ways to start practice is w/ a good quote. Here’s a bunch to try, conveniently divided by the occasion in which you might want to use them:

All Stroke Technique Workout with the Makos

Mike Cook, Mason Makos

This was a technique workout to build off of later in the week. Works all 4 strokes and underwater dolphins



200 swim SR

200 kick 50 board 50 no board

today focus is all technique in the 4 strokes for thursday and saturday practice RULES

1 focus on underwater (not how many kicks but how far can you get off every wall in 5 seconds EVERY WALL TODAY

2. focus on the drill not your speed 3 IMX AROUND THE CORNER


200 swim SR (smooth and relax)

200 kick 50 boards 50 no boards

12×25 fast dolphin kicks @40 (not how many but how far can you get in 5 seconds. Push

each one. break out into fly back free 4 each

8×25 fast dolphin kicks @40 with fins (same as above 4 on stomach 4 on back can you get

further in 5 seconds) MAIN SET


4×50 fly kick @1:00 (odds board evens no board)

8×25 drill flyy chest press need breath pull and land forward@35 4×50 fly /free fast @45 fins

easy 50 choice


8×25 back kick fins @45 (5 second dolphin under water)

4×50 drill back (25 right arm/25 left arm) @1:00 good rotation from hips and core 4×50 fast back@55

Easy 50 choice


8×25 breast kick (on back palms at side) @40

8×25 drill breast @40 (1 pull 2 kicks ) shoot forward and hold 4×50 back to breast fast @55 (cross over turns)

Easy 50 choice


4×50 kick with snorkels @1:00 (streamlines)

8×25 drill free @45 (paddle on forhead nice and controlled) 4×50 free des to fast @55

Easy 50 choice


8 minutes social treading water