View Full Version : I need a great!! speed workout.

April 27th, 2005, 10:19 PM
I'm a Speed Freak through and through. :D

Uh, no, not that kind of Speed.

I'm talking about 25 and 50 meter freestyle type of speed. There is nothing I want more than a low, low 20 second 50 SCM.

Any good workouts?

Just the idea of swimmng anything beyond 100m makes me ill. All of you long distance swimmers are truely nuts. You should seek medical help.

I've only trained/ swimmed competatively for 2 months and I know my lungs are way out of shape. Maybe that's why I like the shorter distances. Currently my best 25m time is 11.3 sec and my best 50 SCM is 26 sec.


April 28th, 2005, 08:24 AM
Hehe-speed kills.

April 28th, 2005, 11:38 AM
lol ... someone else that has seen Halloween ... ok, that is at least what I associate the line "speed kills" with.

Rob Copeland
April 28th, 2005, 01:50 PM
If youíre currently swimming a 26 second 50 SCM and want to get to 20. You donít need a good workout; you need to be training with a world class club. And if you are going 26 after only 2 of months of training, get with the club quick, so we can see you in Beijing in 2008!

Considering that last yearís NCAA champ in the 50 SCM, Fred Bousquet, could only manage a 21.10 while swimming with one of the best college programs. I doubt, a bunch of Masters posters can concoct a better training regimen.

April 28th, 2005, 10:17 PM
the 50 meter free is about speed and speed endurance and smart splitting

do 25's for time, 50's for time
lots of rest
even and negative split 50s
easy speed sprints


Originally posted by 69gscal
I'm a Speed Freak through and through. :D

Uh, no, not that kind of Speed.

I'm talking about 25 and 50 meter freestyle type of speed. There is nothing I want more than a low, low 20 second 50 SCM.

Any good workouts?

Just the idea of swimmng anything beyond 100m makes me ill. All of you long distance swimmers are truely nuts. You should seek medical help.

I've only trained/ swimmed competatively for 2 months and I know my lungs are way out of shape. Maybe that's why I like the shorter distances. Currently my best 25m time is 11.3 sec and my best 50 SCM is 26 sec.


May 20th, 2005, 12:45 PM
50 scm just a great dive a few strokes and kicks, a great turn a few more strokes and kicks, it is over.

July 9th, 2005, 08:47 PM
Ok, im a freestyle sprint specialist im 14 and i go a 54:06. The key to this is descending interval training. Take a set of 5X100 freestyle and start with the inteval at 1:20. On each following 100 drop 5 seconds. Do this set four times then do an easy 200 pulling set on 3:00. Then repeat the desending. This is one time through. Do this 5 times then cool down on a 500 yd swim. Then your done for the day. Do that twice a week and then double the the number of sets and cut the intervals in half and do 50's. By the end of one month ull be at least at 22-23.

July 9th, 2005, 09:23 PM
Originally posted by DeamonEamonn
Ok, im a freestyle sprint specialist im 14 and i go a 54:06. Yards or meters, short course or long course.

July 10th, 2005, 04:13 AM
The sets of 5X100 work better in longcourse. And yes 54:06

July 10th, 2005, 09:16 AM
If you had asked me 50 years ago to do that kind of work out , easy but now I like 25s and 50s and very few of these.

July 19th, 2005, 12:13 PM
Here's a sprint workout we did on July 5:


Let me know how you like it.

Dean O.

July 19th, 2005, 05:59 PM
I hate the dinoswim background. It makes it very hard to read their workouts.

July 19th, 2005, 06:33 PM
For a sprint workout, I like it simple 25s with a dive, hop out do it again, every one as fast as you can go. When you get too slow rest a few mins and do it again. Of course no stretching before or after but a good warmup and a good cool down swim.

July 20th, 2005, 11:32 PM
We'll be doing this one tomorrow. It's a pure sprint, with heavy emphasis on perfect stroke and drills.

We'll be on our swimmers big time to swim well, that means: high elbows / reach / finishing stroke / and rotation (not to mention pointed toes. We stop and rebuild our stroke when fatigue sets in.

It'll take us about 1 hour 45 again with heavy emphasis on quality speed work. Intervals on the 25s are not important.

Let me know what you think:


Nancy Ridout
November 11th, 2005, 01:30 PM
Dean and Everyone,

I looked at the workouts you shared it's clear that the intervals might not be appropriate for everyone. Do you have a suggestion for a work/rest ratio for sprint sets?

I have found that doing series of 50s and 100s on rest intervals of 20 seconds or less gets me in shape for middle distance events but not for real sprint efforts. This year I would like to do a couple sprint workouts a week and keep my sprint fibers awake.

The rest of the week I would be doing the normal team workout that for the next 3 months would be geared for the Hour Swim. From there it progresses to the 1650, and the 500 leaving little opportunity to sprint until well into the competitive season.

The best one I've found so far was one I did at Stanford last Saturday - LC.
After the warmup, technique sets, and kicking, we did:

2 x 3 x 50 - 15m sprint/35m recovery, 25m sprint/25m rec., 35m sprint,15m recov. x 2 RI=20 sec.
3 x 2 x 50 + 2 x 100 - sprint the 50s and the 1st 100, 2nd 100 recovery RI=40 sec.

After the main set there was a pull set and warmdown.

If anyone has experience with successful sprint training workouts, I'd appreciate your sharing them as well as advice on how often you do them and an optimal work/rest ratio. Thanks!


Paul Smith
November 11th, 2005, 04:29 PM
I think whats important is to be clear as to what the goal is here.......if its to simply try and develop more speed but maintain your focus on distance events then your program makes sense.

If on the other hand you really want to move over to the "dark side" and focus on the 50/100 as your primary events (something everyone should try for one season....in my opinion) then you would need to change quite a few things:

- dryland strength training

- race pace workout training 1-2x a week with long rest intervals, such as 5 x 50 @ 3:00 from the blocks

- lots of meets swimming these events, hard to prep for these events without racing them a lot.

- mental prep; seems obvious, but improvements/winning/setting records in these events depend on not making a single mistake, most of the time the mental side is where people blow it.

Good luck!

November 11th, 2005, 05:19 PM
Do lots of all out sprints, 25s and 50s with rests that almost bring your heart rate back to resting state. I would not do the 10 sec or 20 sec repeats rest a little longer and swim faster.

Nancy Ridout
November 11th, 2005, 07:50 PM
Thanks Pablo and George for your replies. I appreciate your help.

Responding to Paul, I am VERY serious about regaining my sprinting abilities. That's why I'm taking it upon myself to venture out from my team program and try to figure out how to get back my sprint capabilities. I've never really been in a sprint oriented program so I'm kind of learning as I go. I've been trying to "come back" from 3 shoulder surgeries and haven't seen the results I expected from all the work I've put in. My middle distance and distance events have shown the most improvement but I'm a sprinter and those are the results I want to see. It occured to me that perhaps I need to train for sprinting rather than expect to sprint well from a general training program.

- I do dryland strength training 3 x week
- I've begun my program with 2 x week sprint training (though I'm not entirely clear as to what that would be other than swimming as hard as I can)
- not many meets this time of year in CA as they're all outside, but I do plan to swim at Long Beach 12/3 & 4, the next possibility will be February
- I've been working with an excellent sports psychology consultant since my rehab from 3 shoulder surgeries.

When you do a workout featuring 5 x 50 on 3 minutes, how long is the workout, yardswise? I had anticipated that a sprint workout would be shorter but the one I've been doing seems to not be much shorter. I also incorporated swimming with tubing, those days to build power. Is there a general principle for work/rest - 1:1, 2:1, etc.? While I get pretty tired after my sprint workout, the satisfaction and exhilaration of swimming hard more than make up for it.

Thanks so much for your suggestions and if you have any workouts that would help me along this path, I'd appreciate your sharing them.


November 11th, 2005, 09:21 PM
Hi Nancy,

How old are you?

In terms of your work/rest ratio, you need to begin monitoring your heart rate on your sprint sets. Depending on your age, we'll use 22-29 as a benchmark, your 10 second heart rate at the immediate end of your sprint repetition should be at least 30 beats. That is, 30 beats in a 10 second period. 10-15 seconds later, your recovering heart rate should be around 18 in that 10 second window. Depending on your conditioning, this may vary a bit so tweak your rest on your hardest sets to your pulse. Now remember, it's not how hard you work in the pool that's important, you need to focus on how fast you recover - that's your gauge on how well conditioned you are.

As you get older (typically mid-late 20s) you will notice that your endurance will tend to improve on the mid-distance and distance events.

Now, as the others were saying, all-out sprints are essential, but you always have to come back to technique / perfect stroke. Make sure you don't sacrifice your efficiency for high turnover. That's an easy and deadly habit to get into. Prepare your sprint sets with drills. Concentrate on your reach, catch, and finish. High elbows and tight stroke will give you a shorter range of motion and the ability to increase turnover while holding on to efficiency. All swimmers at every level have to come back to these basic principals, so don't feel like these drills are too fundmental. They need to be a core part of your training.

As far as total yardage goes, this is also a bit of an art. Americans tend to pile on yardage, but I have some swimmers that respond much better after stepping away from the pool. Other swimmers need more yardage to feel comfortable. What works for one, won't work for the other. Try 4,000 meters for one and half hours, then peel it back to 3,500 at times. Keep records of all your workouts and note what is working and why you think so.

Most important though, have you discussed your specific goals with your coach?

November 11th, 2005, 11:49 PM
Aloha Nancy,
Iím not a top notch sprinter (yet) but my coach (Mark Noetzel) is. Hereís a workout that he had me do to prepare for 50 free for this yearís LC Nationals:

MAIN SET: 20 X 50 on 1:10 send-off. The goal here is to maintain your best average. By this, he means that you hold the same time for each 50. The expectation is that you will bring that average down, over time, as you get faster. Initially I was able to hold :40-:41; over a 4 month period I was able to bring that average down to :37-:38. (You will be considerably faster, Iím sure) You want to do this workout when youíre fairly well rested because you are to use it as a benchmark to measure your progress. Also, you donít want to do it too often, about every 2-3 weeks.

Hope this helps. -Becky

Rich Abrahams
November 12th, 2005, 02:00 PM

It's nice to see your trying to regain / improve your natural ability as a sprinter.

Here are a couple of suggestions.

Work on kick tempo. I find the more rapidly I can kick the better I can sprint. A good workout for this is vertical kicking with a 10 lb. diving brick (or a substitute weight). As you increase the resistance (by holding the brick higher out of the water) you will have to increase your kick tempo...or sink. Try to work up to 15 or 20 seconds with the brick entirely out of the water. It helps to hold your breath during these efforts. Make sure you stay vertical with your posture perfectly in line. Don't bend at the hips or lean backward. Take one to two minutes between each.

Second, don't be a slave to yardage. It is perfectly acceptable for at least one workout a week to consist of a pre-meet warm up and then about 10 all out 25 yard no breath, perfect technique sprints on complete rest. Maybe one every 3 or 4 minutes. Do a very easy 50 or 100 between efforts. Get someone to time you with a watch, off the blocks with a formal start command. Work on both foot touch and hand touch. I think I know your physiology somewhat and you can defintely get seriously tired doing this kind of workout if done to the max.


Nancy Ridout
November 13th, 2005, 11:27 PM
Thanks to all of you for helping me find my way down this path to sprinting again. I have copied your suggestions and will incorporate them into my training.

What I've gleaned from your information is that a sprint workout twice a week is adequate for sprint training. Form should not be sacrificed for power and turnover. Excellent technique is necessary for a sprinter and needs to be continually targeted. A fast kick is mandatory. A rest interval that allows the heart rate to drop to a moderate level before beginning another sprint is something to figure out. The volume level on sprint focus days can drop. Utilize strength and flexibility training.

Does it matter what kind of training I do on the other 3 days, other than focus on technique? Do you have any particular strength training exercises that you've found benefit sprinting? I have been swimming with tubing - so far, about 8 times as far as I can go in a certain number of strokes.

Again, thanks to all of you and any future suggestions will be most welcomed.


November 22nd, 2005, 02:55 PM

Working with tubing is EXCELLENT for sprinters. You can really get a quality workout. I did my best times one season after doing sprint sets with tubing at the end of workout. Be careful though! It will wear you out very quickly. Quality not quantity. Make sure you rest about 30 - 45 seconds between them. Fix the tubing at a length that you have to work very hard to reach the wall (25 yards) then grab the wall and swim the way back with the tubing assisting you. VERY FUN! Try to keep your turnover fast for the whole 50. The tubing keeps you efficient on the first 25....or else you won't go anywhere! I workout at Swimatlanta and used to see Amanda Weir use the tubing all the time. It definitely works for her!;)

February 10th, 2006, 01:41 PM
I have lots of sprint workouts I am happy to share. The best set though is 6 to 10 50s (25 easy kick/25 blast out hard sprint swim) with 15 seconds rest at the end of each practice.


Nancy Ridout
February 10th, 2006, 02:40 PM

I'd be most grateful for any sprint workouts you'd like to share. Currently, I'm using 3 that capture principles I've learned so far. I started out with 4 x 2 x 50 + 2 x 100 [second 100 recovery] with 40 seconds rest. I haven't done that one in a long time, I see. The main sets currently are 1) 6 x 100 on 3 minutes, 2) 3 x 2 x 50 + 2 x 100, the first one sprint, the second one recovery, and 3) 3 x 1 x 75 on 1:30 + 3 x 25 [ez, med, sprint] on 35 on 6:15 interval [includes 100 ez). I don't usually go much over 3,000 yards in a sprint workout.

Thanks so much for your help!


February 16th, 2006, 01:12 PM
Simply do this.

Warmup. Include a few easy sprints to get the muscles awake.

8-12x25 yard sprints. Full recovery between each, so no interval. And I mean full recovery - each repeat should be absolutely full out as if you were swimming a race. Go as if the Devil himself were chasing you!

If possible do each one off the blocks. Buy a cheap finger stop watch to get accurate times if there isn't a coach around.

If you want to do a fast 50, that requires a lot of very intense, short, 100% efforts. A lot of folks think they are sprinting, but their training pace is around 75-90% of their best times. That won't do the trick in my opinion. You must train your body to go full out.

February 16th, 2006, 01:16 PM
There is a gap in those splits. Your 25 meter free is much faster, comparatively speaking, than your 50 meter free. With a 25 free like that you should be going no slower than 25.0 I think. By comparison, I rarely go below 12.0 on my first 25, but I almost always do 26's in my 50 SCM free.

Is the 11.3 handtimed? If so, it might not be accurate. Or, you might have no problem with speed and what you really need is speed endurance, or lactic acid tolerance, to bring home that last 25 fast. I think Fred Bousquet went out in a 9.2 and came home in a 9.4 when he swam that 18.74 50 yards.

April 26th, 2006, 05:40 PM
I agree with Paul. If you are going to focus on sprinting you aren't going to get it from most of the masters workouts I 've gone to. You need to focus on strength (not just dryland but also in the water), speed, and breathing.

Strength, I am talking about workouts where you break out the torture devices and stuff like that. I remember doing 2 workouts a week where all I would do was strap a belt on that was hooked to a weight rack. Push off and swim as hard as you can pulling the weight until they hit the top of the rack and float back. I would do 3 sets of 10 reps on like a minute. Stuff like that is what is going to really make you pop. You can't get that at a masters workout. You can't get that many places. But if you really want to be a "sprinter", you need something like it.

Speed, lots of speed work with fins. sets of 25's usually breathless on 30 where you come in under 10. Tubes connected to belt with partner pulling you. Things where you get the feel for flying.

Breathing, my favorite set was 10x50 @1:00 no breaths trying to come in under :25 for each.

The fact is you have to want to hurt yourself in a different way than the D freaks want to hurt themselves by doing countles 500's.

Good luck. I can't sprint (came in and registered to find some swim specific dryland ideas) because of too much tri specific swimming but after this season I plan to splash around a little more. This is what I plan to do. But not expecting anything spectacular. I am old.

May 23rd, 2006, 06:16 PM
I have become a sprinter almost by default because I am terrible at anything above middle distance. I was not a sprinter 25 years ago.

I have done some reading of Maglischo's Swimming Fastest and my coach is tailoring my overall workout for speed on 50s and 100s.

One thing I do consistently is sprint sets with long rest intervals, sometimes with active rest. The sprint part, sometimes as short as 15 yards, is always 100% effort.

Sample sprint sets:

6x50 on 2:30, 25 sprint, 25 easy

8x100 on 3:00, 25 sprint, 75 easy

4x50 on 2:30, 15 sprint, 35 easy

Sprint sets aren't very useful at the end of a workout when all your glycogen is depleted either. So sometimes move the sprint work earlier in the workout.

Maglischo points out that traditional endurance sets serve very little purpose to sprint speed, especially for 50s. Your energy sources for a 50 are not improved by swimming hard long sets of 200s or 500s. Easier basic endurance sets have value for base endurance plus they provide the stroke repetition.