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

Training & Technique
Written by: arena coaches at 27 March '18 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 optimize 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 must 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 an hour to an hour and 30 minutes of swimming every 2 days. This needs 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 technical 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. Do 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.




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

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

100yds technique exercises.

2 x 50yds whereas 25yds using strokes and 25yds using a pull buoy. 20 seconds rest.

100yds technique exercises.

2x50yds whereof 15yds sprint without breathing + low-intensity swimming for the remaining 10yds. 20 seconds rest.


2 rounds of:

  • 4 x 40yds whereas 25yds sprint and 25yds easy with 5 seconds of rest.
  • 3 x 100m whereof 50yds sprint and 50yds easy 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 50yds.

200 yds of low-intensity swimming to finish off.




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

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

100yds legs.








All with 20 seconds rest.

200yds of low-intensity swimming to finish off.




200yd in the stroke of your choice.

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

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


3 series of:

  • 4 x 50yds powerfully with 45 seconds of rest + 1 x 200 pull buoy to recuperate.
  • 4 x 25yds maximum drag (with hand paddles if you prefer) @ one minute
  • 200yds 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. 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!


Written by:

arena coaches

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