Swimming Workout Periodization: It's easier than it sounds.

Coaching is an art, a science, and a maddening pursuit of refining excellence in another's performance. And designing a swimming workout and/or season(s) plan is no different. We can get lost in the minutia or create it on deck. But the athlete 'buy-in' to the information presented in a way they understand properly creates the necessary adaptations for success.

Biomechanics is Code for Swimming Technique

The foundation of a great swimming workout is a core philosophy that provides the bedrock upon which to build. And Sir Isaac Newton and his three laws are as good a place as any to begin.

First law: In an inertial frame of reference, an object either remains at rest or continues to move at a constant velocity, unless acted upon by a force.[2][3]
Second law: In an inertial reference frame, the vector sum of the forces F on an object is equal to the mass m of that object multiplied by the acceleration a of the object: F = ma. (It is assumed here that the mass m is constant – see below.)
Third law: When one body exerts a force on a second body, the second body simultaneously exerts a force equal in magnitude and opposite in direction on the first body.


Or from another, more specific, point of view.

  1. reduce drag through the water as much as possible (start with a great streamline)
  2. start slowly, with a good rhythm to your stroke(s) then gradually apply 'speed' as you learn how
  3. use your 'walls' - great starts and turns

Motor Learning for Purposeful Engagement

Motor learning is the design that gives context to the science of technique by programming the body to understand the means by which to implement specific swimming techniques and strategies. The artful presentation of information creates the best possible experience for each athlete to learn. 

Curious how you learn best? Try this 2-minute test.

multiple intelligences

'Stack' Physiological Demands to Stress Technique and Learning

Finally, we optimize our path. When technique has become implicitly understood and intrinsically motivated, the strategy and tactics require repetition to 'beat on one's craft'. Reinforcing and preparing the pathways to be honed and prepped through training for a race.

swimming workouts

Choose from the benchmarks, variables and parameters above to control and assess your success. Give yourself 7-10 days to learn a skill. 14-21 days to understand how to use it. And 12-15 weeks to create a finely tuned swimmer.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published