Try This Classic "Technique Pyramid" Session

Here's a classic swim session that is a good combination of technique work and some aerobic swimming. The aerobic swims keep some emphasis on your swim fitness and immediately ensure that the stroke technique you are developing can be sustained over long distances - which is essential as a distance swimmer or triathlete.

The worst thing you can do in technique sessions is to become a "technique hermit" and only ever swim short distances of 50 or 100m for fear of your stroke falling apart. An effective stroke technique is much more quickly developed in combination with an all round program: developing both your swim fitness, pacing skills and technique at the same time. This session is a great way to do just that.

Technique Pyramid Session

Swim the following session straight through, taking a short recovery between swims to think through what you are doing next:

100m steady freestyle, relax and gradually loosen off your shoulders.

200m freestyle with a pull buoy, focusing on efficient roll from the hips. Visualise rotating the hips out of the way ahead of the arm stroke (see here).

300m with fins, 6-1-6 drill on the way up the pool, freestyle on the way back down. Think "shoulders back and chest forwards" during the drill to keep your lead arm straight.

400m steady freestyle, breathe ever 3 strokes on the way up the pool, every 5 strokes on the way back down. Focus on a nice smooth exhalation whenever your face is in the water.

500m with a pull buoy (and paddles if you have them). Don't kick at all but focus on pressing the water smoothly backwards to the wall behind you with a good rhythm.

6-1-6 is a great drill to work on your
posture and alignment.
Progress to 6-3-6 by performing
3 strokes in the middle instead of 1.

(click on the image to expand)
400m freestyle swim as a negative split, meaning you swim the second half faster than the first. If possible check this with a stopwatch or the pool's pace clock to see if you did in fact negative split (it's not as easy as it sounds!).

300m with fins, 6-3-6 drill on the way up the pool, freestyle on the way back down.

200m freestyle on the way up the pool, backstroke on the way back down.

100m easy pace freestyle.

This session totals 2500m. You can lengthen or shorten it by lengthening or shortening the swims slightly, albeit keeping the pyramid structure in place.

If you are someone who enjoys a lot variety in their swimming then you'll love this type of set, there's always something new to think about and keep you stimulated. Many Kicktastics can easily become bored when swimming so this session is perfect for you to enjoy, the time will fly by.

(By the way, there's plenty more training sessions to follow in our Waterproof Training Plans and the Swim Smooth Book of course!)

Swim Smooth!


Anonymous said...

Great post -thanks Adam!
One question I have is..even though I rotate, use a bent arm for catch, and do not have crossover, my DPS is very low. I am 160cm and it takes 23-24 strokes to go 25 yards mostly. Do you have any suggestions?
Thank you

Mike Kay said...

Nice sounding workout. It develops many things meanwhile with the combination of drills should keep one's interest throughout. thanks!

Adam Young said...

Hi Mike, yes give it a go, it's a great session!

Hi Anonymous, to be honest I wouldn't be overly concerned at all, many great swimmers have a similar DPS to yourself at around your height. Work on the important things such as body position, catch, stroke timing and kicking technique and the right DPS for you will follow!


Chris Livingstone said...

More of these please! Could we get one weekly perhaps?


Emler Swim School said...

Oh, this might be challenge for beginners. Indeed, triathletes can benefit from this exercise since it requires stamina and endurance.

Ian Burley said...

Tried this at the pool yesterday and loved it. A really great work-out with something new to think about all the time. If you could post other similar ones, that would be great!

Adam Young said...

Thanks guys.

Having something more regularly on the training session side is something we're working towards for the future. Watch this space!


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