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Medley: the “hidden” importance of a dedicated session

Training & Technique
Written by: arena coaches at 12 July '16 0
You are reading: Medley: the “hidden” importance of a dedicated session

We have already seen how to incorporate a micro-cycle of training sessions (weekly training cycle) over a period of time.

We have decided to call one of these sessions a “dedicated session” or, in other words, a specific work out for all four swim strokes.

This kind of training session is mainly important due to the specific nature of this kind of race: you will have to perform at your best in all four legs, which means you will have to learn how to “coordinate them together” properly.

There are two main “to hidden difficulties”:

1. Adapting to changes in body position: the angle of our body in relation to the surface of the water changes for each swim stroke.

This change in position also includes your head and line of vision. To prevent this from having a negative effect on your performance (variations to the nervous and hormonal systems), you need to adapt to these changes very quickly.

 2. Coordination in the use of different muscle groups: each swim stroke has its own peculiarities, which means you use your muscles differently as you swim.

When you swim just one single stroke in a race this happens a lot less and only during certain phases (start, turn etc…).

For example, you use your triceps less and the front of your legs more when swimming breaststroke, whereas for the backstroke you use your back muscles a lot but your pectoralis major much less than for the freestyle. On the other hand, your abdominal region and all the extensor muscles in your hips work much harder during the butterfly.

This kind of change means that whereas certain muscles act as stabilisers (balance and stability) for one particular stroke, they work phasically (actively) during another.

To overcome these “difficulties”, you should practice making these changes over very short distances, here are some drills:

Drill 1:

12 x 50m with 20” rec (1st in a medley sequence changing stroke every 12.5m – 2nd in a reverse medley sequence changing stroke every 12.5m – 3rd  25m 3 butterfly arms and 3 backstroke arms+ 25m 3 breaststroke arms 3 freestyle arms – 4th all freestyle to “rearrange your thoughts”)

Drill 2 (‘/’ means turn at 25m):

16 x 50m with 20” rec’: butterfy – butterfly/backstroke – butterfly/breaststroke – butterfly/freestyle – backstroke – backsroke/breaststroke – backstroke/freestyle – breaststroke/butterfly – breaststroke – breastroke/freestyle – breaststroke/butterfly – breaststroke/backstroke – freestyle – freestyle/butterfly – freestyle/backstroke – fs/breaststroke

Drill 3:

16 x 25m with 15” rec’: 1 butterfly with breaststroke legs– 1 backstroke with breaststroke legs – 1 breaststroke with freestyle legs – 1 freestyle with butterfly legs

Drill 4:

4 x 100m in medley sequence, changing stroke every 25 m and starting with a different stroke each time but keeping in the medley sequence.

These and other drills will help you master the change of swim stroke in the medley and improve your control over your entire body.

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