If you are looking to really improve your breaststroke then these workouts will really help you. We understand that the people that visit this site are all at different levels so we will do our best to cater for this. The difficulty in writing these programs is in the times we set for you. It is difficult to know exactly what times to put each set on as we don’t know what everyone’s best time or ability is so that is something you will need to tinker with yourself. How often you train will also be different so we have based this on 3 sessions per week and we have made this a 10 week program. These 10 weeks should see you improve dramatically.
This is how the structure of each session should progress.
The first part of the warm up involves around 15 minutes of long slow swimming. It is important to swim all the different strokes in the warm up. An example may be 6 x 200m @ 65%.
Directly after the warm up is some speed work. No matter what the aim of the session is it is important to include some speed work in almost every session. E.g. 8 x 25m sprints in Medley Order
You can move the drills section around as you please. You can include them in your warm up after your warm up or even in your main set. It is so important to complete long slow swimming focussing on technique. I remember watching Pieter Van Den Hoogenband train for the Beijing Olympics and I was amazed at how much slow swimming he did. There were some sessions where all he did was swim around 50-60% but focussing on technique.
Too often I see people training so hard all of the time. Don’t get me wrong, it is important to work hard but you will only get so far with this. We have seen so many young athletes that are stars as children but never make it because their technique is not up to scratch. The best in the world have amazing fitness AND great technique. You MUST include some drills into every single session. You can check out some of our drills here. You could do 10 x 50m BR @ 60%with long glide.
What the main set consists of will depend on where you are with your race preparation. You may be in an endurance phase where you focus on training your aerobic system with lots of long swimming with minimal rest. A typical set in this phase may be 20 x 100m BR on 1min 45sec (or approx 5-10 seconds rest). The aim here is to try and maintain the same time throughout the set. Towards the last ¼ of the set should be quite difficult.
You may also be in an anaerobic phase where you are training your body’s ability to cope with lactic acid and increase the intensity you’re at when your body starts to produce too much lactic acid. This type of training allows you to push through the last part of your races. For a 100m Breaststroker a typical set could be 20 x 125m on 2min 30 sec @ 90%. This type of set is based around the idea that your body is used to 125m so 100m in a race should be a breeze! Your body will produce lactic acid much later in the race.
You could be in a speed phase where you are going all out but have lots of rest. An example could be 8 x 100m sprints on 6mins. This gets you used to sprinting. Your body will produce lots of lactic acid but will have time to remove some of it before it needs to race again.
The last part is the taper, where you are preparing for race day. You load should be greatly reduced but it is still important to do some sprint work. You may do 4 x 100m sprints on 8mins.
One thing we haven’t discussed is the breaststroke kick. The first thing in a race to fatigue is normally the legs. It is therefore important to include lots of kick as part of your training. It can be included after the main set or it can even be included as the main set.
I remember being on a camp to the Australian Institute of Sport and watching Australian Butterfly Champion completing a training session. The entire session was a kick session. This was the 3rd session for the day and it was 3 x 1000m main stroke kick (Yes, I meant to put 3 zeros!). The first 1000m was a warm up. The second 1000m was timed and they had to go as fast as possible. The last 1000m was used as a cool down. I had never seen so much kick done in my life and they told me that they do lots and lots of kicking as part of their training so I encourage you to include it in yours.
This is important to help your body clear the lactic acid it has produced and it will help reduce muscle soreness. Don’t take this lightly as it is still a great opportunity to work on your technique. The warm down can be anything from 200m to 1000m and should include some drills but also other strokes.
So this is the way you should set up your sessions to try and get the best out of yourself or your athletes. Good luck and remember to work both hard and smart. Going 100% all of the time will only cause your technique to be poor and will likely cause injury or illness. Lots of hard work but also lots of long slow swimming is a great way to improve.
4 x 200m (1st 3 F/S, 4th BR)
8 x 25m sprints in Medley order on 45 seconds
4 x 100m BR Drills
20 x 125m BR on 2.15
200m easy swimming. Alternate each 50m between FS and BK
10 x 50m BR Kick on 60 sec
400m Easy swimming
1000m Warm Up (100m FS Swim, 50m FS Kick, 100m FS Swim, 100m FS Drill x 4)
10 x 50m BR Drills on 1.30
8 x 100m BR Sprints on 8 minutes (record time for each and aim to maintain the same time)
1000m Easy swimming