Best Swim Stroke to Improve Your Paddling - Head Up Freestyle Example Swim Sets

surfing fitness Apr 04, 2013

I received a lot of positive feedback from the Paddle Battle Analysis between Kelly Slater and Bede Durbidge.  So here are two swim sets you can try on your own to help you improve your paddling - a beginner and an advanced.  A warm up and warm down are required for each:

1.  This first swim set is taken from one of the XSWIM for Surfers Building a Base workouts, however, in the Building a Base workout, dryland exercises complement the swimming set after each repetition.  This is a good beginner style head up freestyle swim set.

4x200s (8 laps in a 25 meter or 25 yard pool), 80% effort, completed as follows:

1st 200 - 1st-7th 25 regular freestyle, 8th 25 (last lap) head up freestyle

2nd 200 - 1st-5th and 7th 25 regular freestyle, 6th and 8th 25 head up freestyle

3rd 200 - 1st-3rd, 5th, and 7th regular freestyle; 4th, 6th, and 8th head up freetyle

4th 200 - odd 25s regular freestyle, even 25s head up freestyle

Instead of a rest period after each 200, try doing these on an interval - for the 1st repetition, time it.  Add 0:10, this then becomes your interval for the remaining 3 200s (e.g. if you finish the 1st 200 on 2:50, then the remaining 3 will be on the 3:00 interval).  Be sure to swim at 80% effort, so swim hard, but not at a sprint.

2. This variation of the above set is one of my brother's favorites for conditioning.  He is an avid swimmer, a surfer, a water polo player, and a swim and water polo coach.  This is an advanced head up freestyle swim set:

8x200s, 80% effort, on interval (set your interval the same as above):

1st 200 - 7 laps regular freestyle, last lap head up freestyle

2nd 200 - 1st-6th 25 regular freestyle, 7th and 8th head up freestyle

3rd 200 - 1st-5th 25 regular freestyle, 6th-8th head up freestyle

... Continue the pattern by replacing one lap regular free with head up free for each 200 remaining until on the 8th 200 you are swimming all laps head up freestyle:

4th 200 = 4 regular /4 head up, 5th 200 = 3 regular

Need to make the interval on all 200s.


Let me know how you did.  If you enjoyed these sets, you can try a real challenge with the XSWIM for Surfers Training Program which incorporates dryland exercises in between the swim sets for an added challenge and intensified conditioning.

See you in the water...


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