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Top Swim Workouts to Try in Your Home Pool When Practising for Open Water Swimming

Whether you intend to participate in a triathlon or you just love being in the expansive sea, open water swimming can be an incredible addition to your workout routine. But not everyone has access to the sea or the ocean (or even a local lake or pond). How then can you practice for your open water swimming experience, when you’re nestled in the heart of a city, far away from the shore?

A fibreglass home pool is the answer you’re looking for

Well, the good news is that open water swim practice can still be done, no matter where you are. The solution lies in getting your own home pool installed. Fibreglass home pools in particular are very hardy and reliable, and available in different dimensions. Your pool installation experts will calculate the available area in your yard and recommend a fibreglass pool size and shape.

At Barrier Reef Pools New Zealand, we are a reputed pool installation company in New Zealand. We have years of experience building pools according to our clients’ bespoke requests. Our team can install an above-ground or below-ground home fibreglass pool, which you can use to practice for your open water swimming event. We can even install pool equipment such as artificial wave generators, to mimic the experience of the open waters.

Contact us to schedule a home visit.

6 powerful pool workout regimes to practice for open water swimming

Now that you have your brand-new fibreglass pool installed and ready to use, it’s time to get some practice in. Below, we have compiled a list of 6 powerful and effective swim workouts that you can use to get ready for your upcoming open-water swimming experience.

Before you start with these workouts, we do recommend consulting your physician and getting the all-clear to practice and swim in the open waters.

Now let’s get right to it –

Warm Up

Start with a 15 minutes easy run to get your blood moving. You can replace this with 15 mins easy cycling as well. Do 20-inchworm pushups. Stretch yourself out completely so there are no sprains or muscle spasms.

In the water, your warm-up would include –

  • Freestyle – 1*50 mts.
  • Drills – 30 seconds each of – Single leg free kick (right & left), Vertical leg free kicks, Butterfly kick, Single arm pulls freestyle (right and left), Dolphin kicks with backstroke arms.
  • Backstroke – 1*50 mts.

Do this warm-up every day.

Let’s talk effort

Open water swimming can be more dangerous than pool swimming because it’s the open sea. It’s hard to see in the salty and muddy water, plus the absence of any landmarks can make it disorienting for the swimmer. That’s why it’s important to be mindful of how much effort you’re putting into swimming, so that you always have some spare energy in you, to get back to shore, even at your most tired.

When we speak of effort in the following workouts, we are going to refer to the effort on a scale of 1-10. Here, 1 is the easiest pace for you and 10 is the hardest pace for you. We want you to judge your effort levels – i.e., what feels easy or doable or very hard – for you and then do these workouts accordingly.

Also, remember – all workouts here are calibrated to 50mts. But if your fibreglass pools Christchurch is smaller or longer than this, you can re-calibrate how many laps it takes to complete 50mts and do the following workouts accordingly.

Workout 1:

Here we start easy.

  • Freestyle – 1*50 mts.
  • Rest 15 seconds
  • Backstroke – 1*50 mts.
  • Rest 15 seconds.
  • Breaststroke – 1*50 mts.
  • Rest 15 seconds.
  • Butterfly – 1*50 mts.
  • Rest 30 seconds.

Repeat this set 5 times.

Effort: 2

Workout 2:

Today we slowly build on your ability to swim longer distances.

  • Freestyle – 2*50 mts.
  • Rest 30 seconds.
  • Backstroke – 2*50 mts.
  • Rest 30 seconds.
  • Freestyle – 3*50 mts.
  • Rest 30 seconds.
  • Backstroke – 3*50 mts.
  • Rest 30 seconds.
  • Freestyle – 2*50 mts.
  • Rest 30 seconds.
  • Backstroke – 2*50 mts.
  • Rest 30 seconds.
  • Breaststroke – 1*50 mts.
  • Rest 15 seconds.
  • Butterfly – 1*50 mts.
  • Rest 30 seconds.

A single set of these is enough.

Effort: 4-5

Workout 3:

In this workout, you’ll do HIIT swim reps. HIIT refers to high-intensity interval training. It involves working out at very high speeds/efforts for specific intervals and then taking rests in between.

Set 1: The Intensity/Effort in every rep should be: 9-10

  • Freestyle – 1*50
  • Breaststroke – 1*50
  • Rest 30 seconds.
  • Freestyle – 1*50
  • Backstroke – 1*50
  • Rest 30 seconds.
  • Freestyle – 1*50
  • Butterfly – 1*50
  • Rest 60 seconds.

Set 2: The intensity/effort in every rep here should be a 7-8.

  • Freestyle – 1*50
  • Backstroke – 1*50
  • Breaststroke – 1*50
  • Butterfly – 1*50
  • Rest 60 seconds

Repeat both sets alternatingly, 3 times each.

Workout 4:

Again we work on your long-range swimming.

  • Freestyle – 4*50 mts.
  • Rest 45 seconds.
  • Backstroke – 4*50 mts.
  • Rest 45 seconds.
  • Breaststroke – 4*50 mts.
  • Rest 45 seconds.
  • Butterfly – – 2*50 mts.
  • Rest 90 seconds.

Repeat this set 4 times.

Effort: 6-7

Workout 5:

Today you will be doing a Fartlek swim workout. Fartlek means “speed play” in Swedish and typically is a running terminology. But that doesn’t mean we can’t be speedy when in the water.

In the water, Fartlek involves swimming at different speeds, for a set duration, without stopping until the timer reaches the end. You experiment between your easy to hardest swimming paces, so as to build the endurance you need for open water swimming.

Here, choose one 25mts section of each length to experiment with a different speed. For example, you start your 1*50mts freestyle with an easy swim effort of 2 for the first 25mts. The next 25mts should be a pick-up of effort to 5-6. As you return, you can either go back down to a 3 effort or kick it up a notch to effort 8, in the return freestyle for 25mts of the 50mts length.

For this training plan, you’ll need to do –

  • Freestyle – 2*50mts.
  • Backstroke – 2*50mts.
  • Freestyle – 2*50mts.
  • Breaststroke – 2*50mts.
  • Freestyle – 2*50mts.
  • Backstroke – 2*50mts.
  • Breaststroke – 2*50mts.
  • Butterfly – 2*50mts.
  • Freestyle – 2*50mts.

Make sure that you keep switching speeds every 25mts for each rep. Jump around from easy to moderate to hard and mix it up as you prefer. The sky is the limit. You can even start off at a 9 effort and then come back all the way down to 3 and then pick things up at a 7 effort again.

Set the timer for 20 minutes and keep swimming. Then Rest for 90 seconds.

Then end the workout with an easy (effort 2) of the stroke/s of your choice for the next 10 minutes

Workout 6:

In this workout, we focus on swimming long and building your endurance for triathlon-level open water swimming. There you may be asked to swim for anywhere between 2500mts to 3500mts (i.e., 2.5kms to 3.5kms) in under 2 hours sometimes.

So, set the timer for each rep and start swimming.

  • Freestyle – 15 minutes (effort 5-7)
  • Breaststroke – 5 minutes (effort 6)
  • Freestyle – 15 minutes (effort 5-7)
  • Backstroke – 15 minutes (effort 5-7)
  • Breaststroke – 5 minutes (effort 7)
  • Butterfly – 5 minutes (effort 5)
  • Rest – 90 seconds
  • Freestyle – 15 minutes (effort 8-9)
  • Backstroke – 10 minutes (effort 8-9)
  • Freestyle – 15 minutes (effort 8-9)
  • Rest – 90 seconds.
  • Freestyle – 15 minutes (effort 8-9)
  • Breaststroke – 5 minutes (effort 8-9)
  • Butterfly – 5 minutes (effort 8-9)
  • Rest – 90 seconds.
  • Freestyle – 15 minutes (effort 6-7)
  • Backstroke – 10 minutes (effort 6-7)
  • Freestyle – 15 minutes (effort 3-4)
  • Rest – 90 seconds

A single set is enough since you will have swum for over two hours.

Mix and match the 6 workouts over the course of your practice, for the best effort.

Cool down

Although it sounds strange, it’s important to do some weight lifting before you end your workout. Weight lifting has been found to improve your form in the water, strengthening and building your muscles and increasing your endurance. Lifting weights before you swim can tire your muscles out and prevent you from swimming at your optimal effort.

A few weighted exercises you can do are –

  • Alternating dumbbell press (standing/lying down)
  • Lateral lunge with kettlebell
  • Pull-ups
  • Medicine ball rotation
  • Dumbbell reverse fly
  • Medicine ball Russian twist

You can do 1-3 sets each day, of 8-12 repetitions for each exercise, at a weight level that you are comfortable with.

You can end your cool down with some gentle yoga – restorative yoga and yin yoga are the best. Do the gentle yoga routine of your choice, which offers deep stretches, for 15-20 minutes each day.

In Conclusion

Try these swimming workouts today and get prepared for open water swimming in the best way!

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