Broken Bucket Challenge Set

Ryan Woodruff, Lynchburg YMCA

I frequently post sets where we use buckets and I get some questions about what kinds of buckets we are using. Here is what we use:

It is a simple 1-gallon “paint bucket” from Home Depot. We string some paracord through the handle holes and then connect the bucket to a belt by a rope about 6 feet in length. The beats we use are recycled from old stretch cords.

This set worked well today. The broken 200 was challenging but the :10 rest allowed them to hold their stroke technique. The interval on the broken 200 and 100 allowed them to really get up and go on the 3 x 25. We cycled through 2 rotations of this station and some drag sox work.

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Full Workout with Stations and Quality Set

Ryan Woodruff, Lynchburg YMCA

Most of the time on this blog, I publish single sets that we do within a larger workout. Today, I am publishing the entire workout how I have it written out for my group. You may need to zoom in a bit to see it well.

I usually start with a quote — sometimes we discuss it, sometimes we just get right in. Today we did our “Standard Warmup,” which we probably do for 80% of our practices. Our standard warmup is:

400 smooth swim choice @:20 rest

4 x 150 choice kick/drill/build by 50 @:20 rest

4 x 50 choice sprint any 20 of the 50 @:20 rest

Total: 1200m, ~18-20 min

For this workout, we combined 3 power stations with a set of 6 x 50 off the blocks. We did it three times through, meaning each swimmer did each station once and the 6x 50s set three times. It was a good day for us — team energy and spirits were high, performances were good, and we spent time during our subsequent dryland discussing the previous weekend’s meet.

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Breaststroke Deep-Water Speed and Power Set

Ryan Woodruff, Lynchburg YMCA

We recently did this set in our approximately 10m-wide diving well. Our breaststroke group was nearly unanimous in their enthusiasm for this set, despite the dog-tired looks on their faces when they finished it.

3 rounds:

10 x 10m widths @:10 1 pullout and 1 cycle breast to make it to the other side.

:20 rest

1:00 vertical eggbeater kick, hands and elbows out of the water.

1:00 rest, hook up to stretch cordz

6 x 4 cycles cord-resisted sprint (no pullouts) and float back to the wall @ ~1:00

1:00 rest

For the cord-resisted sprints, we had a cord anchored to a chain link fence about 10 feet from the edge of the pool. This wasn’t quite enough resistance, so a coach held the cord to get enough tension so that the swimmers were only barely moving forward on the 3rd and 4th cycles sprint.

Underwater Kicking Power & Lightning Speed Set

Ryan Woodruff, Lynchburg YMCA

We did this set at the end of a long practice that included dryland that was heavy on the legs and a long kick set. The goal was to work some underwater power and then get some “lightning speed” underwater kicks at the end of each round. It worked well, with a few of our swimmers setting personal bests & team records at the 25m underwater kicking distance.

For the part written in green, one athlete wore the belt/cord and a partner stood on the deck and held the cord to provide the resistance.

Underwater Power and Sprint Set

Ryan Woodruff
Head Coach
Lynchburg YMCA

Our club doesn’t have the luxury of having power towers to use (yet), so we substitute by having swimmers hold a stretch cord for the their teammates, giving them resistance for short sets such as the one below.  One swimmer is tethered in the water and performs this set, and then they switch roles.  No rest except where indicated.

1 x 8 all out UW kicks and then get pulled back to wall
1 x 8 all out UW kicks + 1 sprint cycle and then get pulled back to wall
1 x 8 all out UW kicks +2 sprint cycles and then get pulled back to wall
1 x 8 all out UW kicks +3 sprint cycles and then get pulled back to wall
:10-:15 rest, unhook from tether, leave on coach’s “go”:
1 x 25 all out sprint for time
1 x 25 ez swim and trade places with partner

Power, Speed, Hypox…just FUN

Coach Ryan Lee
Shawnee Mission Northwest High School

2 Rounds of 7×25
*1st round w/ dragsoxs and fins (:50) 
*2nd round w/ fins (:40) 
25 (12 ½ fly, 12 ½ free) – max speed
25 (underwater dolphin)
25 (fly) – max speed
25 (underwater dolphin)
25 (12 ½ free, 12 ½ fly) – max speed
25 (underwater dolphin)
25 (free) – max speed

60secs in-between rounds 

Early Season Buckets Resistance Set

Ryan Woodruff
Head Coach
Lynchburg YMCA

This was our first resistance set of a new season.  We stuck to 25s with our 1-gallon buckets on an interval that provided an approximately 2:3 work:rest ratio.  Once we have a little more training behind us, we will tighten the interval and lengthen the distance a bit.  Swimmers chose their strokes, but were instructed to keep it consistent throughout the set.  We got some very good times on the final 50 at the end of the set, which was without a bucket.

BOOK REVIEW: "Power & Towers & Swimming: The Guide" by Jake Shellenberger, Head Coach at Liberty University

Ryan Woodruff
Head Coach
Lynchburg YMCA

This past summer I had the opportunity to share the pool deck with Jake Shellenberger, Head Swim Coach at Liberty University as his squad and mine both rented time at our local outdoor 50m pool.  I would occasionally pick his brain on training, and we had many interesting discussions on a variety of topics, so you can imagine my eagerness when he told me he was putting together a book.

His recently completed “Power & Towers & Swimming: The Guide” is a rich, detailed book on how to use some of what he deems the most valuable “toys” a swim coach has: Power Towers and Power Racks.  Shellenberger explains his power-based training philosophy that crystallized during his time as sprint coach at Penn State and during a particularly formative summer as an understudy at Frank Busch and Rick DeMont’s 2007 Arizona squad that would go on to win double NCAA Championships the following spring.  Shellenberger has brought that learning to bear since 2009 at Liberty with much success, and distills it very transparently and extensively in this book.

His very organized thought process is reflected in the 11-chapter construction of the book.  He leaves no stone unturned in outlining how to make make Power a part of the training for EVERY swimmer on your squad, regardless of distance or stroke orientation.  At Liberty, Shellenberger and his Assistant Coach Jessica Barnes have every swimmer train on the Towers multiple times per week, and the book provides many real-world examples of how it has helped his swimmers improve.  They don’t just do short 25 yard blasts with the Towers, but plenty of drilling, kicking, and other power-based training, each of which has its own devoted chapter.  The book doesn’t just explain what they do, it gives exact sets that you can use directly or adapt for your team.

As a club coach with a background developing swimmers with a hearty dose of training, I expected “Power & Towers & Swimming” to be in the vein of much of the recent USRPT dogma.  I was pleased to find Shellenberger’s treatise much more nuanced than I anticipated.  His examples and distilled wisdom were extremely valuable and thought provoking, and have made a significant impact on my thought processes about how I train my swimmers.

Regardless of training philosophy, this book will have coaches pondering new ways to help swimmers get better, and is a MUST for every smart swim coach’s library.

Buy “Power & Towers & Swimming: The Guide” here.

Read Coach Shellenberger’s blog here.

Follow Coach Shellenberger on Twitter and Instagram

Follow Liberty Swimming and Diving here