3 tips on how to plan an effective workout even if you don’t have much time

Training & Technique
Written by: arena coaches at 1 March '19 0
You are reading: 3 tips on how to plan an effective workout even if you don’t have much time

For amateur and master-swimmers: How to make your workout more effective. Useful tips on how to optimise a workout program.

Despite the training season already started a few weeks ago, it’s never too late to improve your preparation strategy. If you are a professional swimmer, your workout plan will obviously be planned by your coach, but if you are an amateur or master swimmer, then some good advice on how to improve your workout, never does any harm.

Answer truthfully. How much time do you want to dedicate to pool-time workouts?

If your answer is less than 4 hours a week, then these suggestions are for you!
With a few good tips, a good workout program and a bit of determination, even 4 hours a week can give you some great results.

Before getting started, I’ll give you 3 tips that you absolutely have to follow if you want to improve your workouts:

1. Constancy. You’ve said that you want to dedicate about 4 hours a week which means about 1-1,5h every 2 days? Well, in that case, it has to be the case week in and week out. There can’t be any excuses like “I’m too tired today, so I’m not going” or “what’s the point of going if I can only stay an hour?” or “I don’t really feel like going today. Maybe I’ll go tomorrow instead”. If you follow this suggestion, the rest won’t be a problem.

2. Pay attention to your technique. Even if you don’t have much time, 10min of pure technique training every session is time well spent. You can even incorporate it into the initial warm-up session.

3. Have fun. Do you feel like using fins? Use them. You feel like you are swimming more effectively when using the pull buoy? Then use it. You like to do leg-practice while using a snorkel? Fine! In other words, don’t put limits on what you enjoy in the water.

Finally remember that it’s good to incorporate different metabolic workouts within your week.




200m in style of your choice with incorporated technique exercises.

2 x 50m legs with 20 seconds rest (with or without a kickboard).

100m technique exercises.

2 x 50m whereof 25m using strokes and 25m using a pull bouy. 20seconds rest.

100m technique exercises.

2×50 whereof 15m sprint without breathing + low intensity swimming for the remaining 10m. 20 seconds rest.


2 series of:

  • 4 x 40m whereof 25m powerfully and 25m very slowly with 5 seconds of rest.
  • 3 x 100m whereof 50m powerfully and 50m very slowly with 5 seconds of rest.

1 x 300 rest with pull buoy at the end of each series while changing your breathing technique 3/5/5 every 50m.

200 m of low intensity swimming to finish off.




 200m in style of your choice with incorporated technique exercises.

4 x 50m slowly with 20 seconds rest (with fins, if you like).

100m legs.








All with 20 seconds rest.

200 m of low intensity swimming to finish off.




200m in style of your choice.

8 x 25m technique/stroke changing every 25m. 10 seconds of rest.

8 x 25m sprint/legs changing every 25m with 20 seconds of rest.


3 series of:

  • 4 x 50m powerfully with 45 seconds of rest + 1 x 200 pull bouy to recuperate.
  • 4 x 25m maximum drag (with hand paddles if you prefer) @ 1.00.
  • 200 m of low intensity swimming to finish off.

Obviously these workouts can be moulded and adapted as you like, but they can be used as a base to start off with. Remember to always respect the principle of increasing the difficulty of your workout in pace with your improvements. Remember to keep track of your improvements in a diary and the most important tip: have fun!


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arena coaches

Swim coaches, trainers and experts will give you all kinds of tips for performing at your best in both training and races.