Freestyle with Press-Outs

Ryan Woodruff, Lynchburg YMCA

I like incorporating dryland exercises I to practice occasionally, and deep water means it is an opportunity for one of my favorites — press-outs. A press out is essentially a vertical push-up at the side of the pool. The swimmer starts in the water with his belly close to the wall and hands in the gutter. Pressing down on the gutter, he raises himself up until his upper body is entirely out of the water and then drops back in. It is a great exercise for developing strength for all strokes. Here is one of my favorite sets to incorporate press-outs:

16 x 100 free LCM

#1 – with 4 press-outs at the 50 @1:30

#2 – with 3 press-outs at the 50 @1:25

#3 – with 2 press-outs at the 50 @1:20

#4 – FAST swim (no press-outs) @2:00

You can vary the number of press-outs and the interval to create many different interesting combinations of speed and reps. Make sure your swimmers’ shoulders are ready for the stress and don’t do too much too quickly.

Breaststroke Cord Work

Coach Ryan Woodruff
Follow on Twitter @WoodruffRyan

The cycles of kick, pull and swim were done with stretch cords anchored 8 ft above the edge of the pool.  200s were regular swim breaststroke. We got some good times on the last round.

Additional info: The picture below shows how our cords are attached to the railings at the front of the balcony overlooking the pool.  It is approximately 15 feet from the wall to the edge of the pool.  I like this high-anchor position, particularly for breaststrokers as it forces their hips up slightly. Obviously, the cord at right is in use and the others are not.


Spencer George
Head Coach
Long Eaton Swimming Club

A set we like to use at Long Eaton Swimming Club, Derbyshire England is called “man ups”. Its a basic complex training set that hurts but is great fun.

Straight through the following:
10 Press ups
50m swim max effort
10 squats
50m swim max effort
10 Dips
50m swim max effort
10 Calf raises
50m swim max effort

Our top lane swimmer go around 2:10 200 free and their turnaround is 3:45 for 8 Man Ups. You can add Med Balls or weights to increase the intensity of some of the exercises if you want. Another variation is for IM, obviously the 50’s are IM order but the exercises change to hit the strokes as close as possible, so V sits before Fly, Dips before Back, Squats before Breast and press ups before Free. Have fun and “MAN UP”

Breaststroke Challenge Set

Greg Johnson
3 x
I had the swimmers pair up and put one partner in the water for VK and the other partner on deck. The swimmer in the water was to vertical kick breastroke right up on the wall (so their knees couldn’t come up). I had the kicker hold the med ball for 4 kicks and pass on the 5th. The partner on deck would simply drop the ball back to the swimmer. After 1 min, they switched. So actually each swimmer kicked 2 x 1 min.
On the 75s, I had the swimmers think about stretching their strokes out into long streamlines, and although tired from the VK, have them think about lowering stroke count through leg-driven breaststroke and streamline. The interval gave rest to the good breaststrokers and challenged the others (but with rest).
I realized that the attention to the VK and throwing the med ball might be too much for the group, I switched it up each round. I made the partner out of the water do flutter kicks on the edge of the wall while the swimmer in the water VK with med ball, etc.

Medley and Free Sets for Success

Great mixed Medley/Fs sets that work well with all swimmers (times adjusted accordingly)
1600 IM as
50 Fs, 50 Fly
100 Fs, 100 Bk
150 Fs, 150 Brst
200 Fs, 200 IM
150 Fs, 150 Fly
100 Fs, 100 Bk
50 Fs, 50 Brst
Focus on good technique, especially towards end of set
20 x 100 Fs as
8 @ 1.20
6 @ 1.15
4 @ 1.10
2 @ 1.05
Work distance per stroke, turns & finishes
8 x 150 as (twice through)
# 1 – All Fs
# 2 – All Kick
# 3 – IM (Leave out Form stroke)
# 4 – All Form
20 x 50 Fs Jump Outs as
10 @ 50
6 @ 45
4 @ 40
Individual Pressure Swims;
Pick swimmer for ‘Pressure swim’ and give him/her 10/15 minutes to prepare. Leave poolside whilst others continue with session. Bring ‘competitior’ out and get all other swimmers out of pool to support him/her. Swimmers then has to race and be within 1% of best time. If they make the time, all swimmers swim down and leave early. If the swimmer fails, they ALL do 1000m Max for time. Great for teamwork/team building.

Tricep Fire

Ryan Woodruff, North Carolina Aquatic Club

You guessed it… this one will burn!

30 x 50 done in ten sets of 3. After each set of three, perform 8 press-outs on the edge of the pool, adding :10 seconds to the interval on the 3rd 50.
Set #1,#4,#6 and #9: descend 1-3 to P200 or faster @ 1:00
Set #2 and #7: 1 ez, 2 at P200 or faster @ :50
Set #3 and #8: moderate, descend cycle count @ :40
Set #5 and #10: Fastest possible average @ 1:00

Race Pace Under Fatigue Part 2

Ryan Woodruff, North Carolina Aquatic Club

A little while back, we posted Part 1, a similar set. This week’s set is another step forward (more fast swimming).

10x through:
Dryland exercise @ :30
1 x 50 at P200 @ :40
1 x 50 ez free @ :50
1 x 50 at P200 @ 1:00

Dryland exercises:
#1 – :20 prone hold in pushup position
#2 – 10 press-outs
#3 – :20 prone hold in pushup position with one leg off the ground
#4 – 12 press-outs
#5 – same as #3, other leg
#6 – 14 press-outs
#7 – :20 mountain climbers
#8 – 12 press-outs
#9 – :20 prone hold in 90-degree pushup position
#10 – 10 press-outs

Power Towers

Ryan Woodruff, North Carolina Aquatic Club

One of my favorite pieces of training equipment is the Power Tower. It’s a terrific tool for making your athletes stronger in the water. In order to keep our swimmers’ shoulders safe, we never load it up to see how much we can do. In order to determine proper levels of resistance for training, we gradually increase the resistance by pouring water into the bucket to find the maximum volume at which the athlete can hold a normal cycle count. Other teams put discrete amounts of weight into the buckets using water jugs, lead weights etc. We prefer to just use water and measure the amount using a yardstick. Any great Power Tower sets out there?

Here is on of ours:

20 x 50 @ 1:00 SCY
25 against the resistance fast, 5 each stroke in IM order
25 freestyle assisted, 1 breath max

Vertical Kick + Power Tower

Ryan Woodruff, North Carolina Aquatic Club

Some vertical kicking and Power Tower work to get you going:

1:00 vertical kick arms across chest
100 drill @ 2:00
8 x 25 Power Tower odd sprint/even EZ @ :40
:40 vertical kick with weight belt in front of chest
100 drill @ 2:00
6 x 25 Power Tower same as above
:20 vertical kick with weight belt held overhead
100 drill @ 2:00
4 x 25 Power Tower same as above

Teammate Slingshots

Ryan Woodruff
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This exercises builds off of the Teammate Drag. It is best done for a 25 at a time. Here is how it works. Swimmers are partnered, with one swimmer pulling (sprinting) and the other being pulled. Somewhere between the 15m marks, the trailing partner pulls the leading partner’s leg, attempting to slingshot to the lead. They then sprint to the wall. The kids love this exercise, and it really got them going pretty fast.

Here is what it looks like:

Shallow End Kick Set

Ryan Woodruff, North Carolina Aquatic Club

We did the blastoffs (streamline push off the bottom and explosive dolphin kick to the surface) in the 7-foot shallow end of our pool. Works beautifully for 5 to 6-foot-tall senior swimmers. Have swimmers strive for 4+ dolphin kicks during each blastoff. All kick is choice without a board. Use a board on the 300.

:25 blastoffs @ :30
75 fast kick + 25 ez swim @ 2:00
:25 blastoffs @ :30
125 fast kick + 25 ez swim @ 3:00
:25 blastoffs @ :30
175 fast kick + 25 ez swim @ 4:00

300 kick for time