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Pullbuoy for open water swimming: a three-week plan to improve your forward propulsion (part 1)

Triathlon & Open Water
Written by: arena coaches at 12 March '16 0
You are reading: Pullbuoy for open water swimming: a three-week plan to improve your forward propulsion (part 1)

We have already mentioned the importance of a Pullbuoy (A guide to making the best possible use of your pullbuoyand how it can help improve both your position in the water and swim stroke.

This article describes a three-week plan mainly aimed at developing arm strength to help you train for your forthcoming open water swimming events.

First and foremost you need to know that there is a very close correlation between upper body strength and swimming performance. Research1 has, indeed, shown that forward propulsion, particularly when swimming the freestyle, is mainly generated by arm movements, particularly using your forearms and hands.

The basic problem noted in water sports like swimming is that power is not applied against a fixed resistance, as in the case with sports on dry land, but against a mass in motion in the form of the water itself.

This means the amount of applied power does not correspond to the overall power an athlete can generate.

Power is, in fact, directly proportional to swimming technique: the better the athlete’s swimming technique, the greater percentage of power that can be applied to the swim stroke (index of propulsive efficiency)2.

Without further ado, let’s try and work on your arm strength to improve your propulsive efficiency.

Here is a three-week plan, ideal for beginners or masters:

1. Build week

2. Speed week

3. Recovery week

There are three sessions for each week. Try to train as regularly as possible and you will see huge improvements.

WEEK 1

Monday

  • 400 easy
  • 5×100 aerobic with 15” recovery
  • 200 backstroke legs
  • 5×100 aerobic with pullbuoy and 15” recovery
  • 200 backstroke technique
  • 5×100 legs(25 fast/75 aerobic) 15” recovery.

Wednesday

  • 200 easy
  • 6×50 accelerations 1-3 with 20” recovery
  • 2×400 pull (1x breathing every 3 strokes 1x breathing every 3/5 changing every 50) with 30” recovery
  • 5×100 (25 not freestyle/75 freestyle) with 20” recovery
  • 6×50 (25 fast/25 slow) with 20” recovery
  • 200 easy

Friday

  • 10’ easy
  • T-1000, 1.000m test.

*Swim as best you can, trying to maintain a steady speed. Record your time at the end of the swim, it will be a useful guideline in a few weeks’ time.

WEEK 2

Monday

  • 400 steady
  • 16×25 (1x fast 1x slow any stroke) at 45”
  • 100 double-arm backstroke
  • 8×50 accelerations with pullbuoy 1-4 with 20” recovery
  • 100 double-arm backstroke
  • 4×100 combo (50 legs + 50 pullbuoy) aerobic with 20” recovery *combo = swimming holding the pullbuoy like a float, using a Pullkick would be even better

200 (100 double-arm backstroke /100 as you prefer)

Wednesday

  • 200 easy 200 legs 200 arms
  • 12×75 pullbuoy (1×25 fast/50 aerobic 1x acceleration 1x slow) 20” recovery
  • 400 (25 freestyle/25 freestyle legs/50 swim)
  • 8×12.5 fast freestyle with head above water at 45”

Friday

  • 10’ easy
  • 4×400 with 60” recovery swimming fast and steady
  • 8×50 freestyle with pullbuoy and 30” recovery.

WEEK 3

Monday

  • 300 (75 swimming/25 any stroke legs)
  • 3×200 aerobic with 30” recovery
  • 3×200 aerobic with pullbuoy and 30” recovery
  • 300 (75 backstroke legs /25 any stroke you like)

Wednesday

  • 10’ easy
  • 1×300 (25 fast legs /50 swimming)
  • 4×150 fast swimming with 30” recovery
  • 4×75 (25mix/50freestyle) with 20” recovery
  • 200 slow

Friday

  • 200 steady, 200 with pullbuoy
  • 4×50 (1x 15 powerful legs 1x 25 fast) with 30” recovery
  • 12×100 fast* with.15” recovery
    * same speed as in T-1000 test performed in week 1
  • Easy swim to finish

DOWNLOAD THE 3-WEEK PLAN | Printable version

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