This is the unsupported version of the 1st block of the 58 week Finding Freestyle Advanced Program.
Purchasers should have completed the 12 week Basic Course and all preceding Advanced Blocks, and have a thorough understanding of the drills, activities and nomenclature presented thus far.
This Block (and the entire Advanced Course) consists of 4 weekly workouts. This complete program will lead the athlete through one year of workouts, starting with the winter time swim focus, and progressing through the spring training and summer/fall competition phase, with special modules for final race preparation, and for focusing on specific technical objectives, such as the "kick forming" cycle, and the "distance per stroke/stroke rate balance" cycle.
This program acts as a stand-alone web-based service for remotely located athletes, as well as a companion program to the live Advanced Training Group that meets once per week with Finding Freestyle coaches. In addition to the workouts, we will also be developing content to teach triathletes what they need to optimize their swimming performance, harmonize their swim training within the multisport context, and ultimately be able to direct their own program.
Before beginning, please read the Advanced Program Overview, located above.
Block 0 Week 1
This is intended to be a transitional block, customizable to a swimmer who is very fit and eager to train more, someone who is coming back from an extended break, someone who is looking for a substantial increase in volume, or simply someone who is in need of a gentle mental break characterized by moderate volume, and moderate complexity. We make this a very customizable block by combining a variety of distance options with an only moderate level of technical difficulty (no new drills) so that the swimmer can dictate their own effort levels. If you are fit and looking to get fitter, the moderate technical demands of this, combined with a relatively large amount of kicking make it a good time to pick the longest options available. If you are trying to ease in, the kick volume is a good way to build usable fitness with a low impact on your shoulders, and the drilling simplicity can help you maintain your focus and execution when you fatigue.
The drill activities in this block are building upon old favorites from the Finding Freestyle canon, with little new introduced, but a nice variety of combinations. We will do a good deal of variation on the "pulse kicking" theme, combining different drills and activities into a pulse framework. In this way, we hope to help you to build fitness of the component motions (delivered by the drills), as well as enhance your ability to control and coordinate your movements (via the constant changes of the pulse). In the fitness oriented parts of the block, we will be doing a great deal of isolated pulling and kicking, as well as a substantial amount of swimming and drilling with fins. The large volume of kick work should be well received at this time of the year, a time when the multi-sport athletes among us can afford to fatigue their legs in the pool a bit more. Using fins while swimming and drilling is another great way of not only working the legs, but also of forcing you to become really good at making subtle adjustments to your form, since they shift the ratio of legs to arm propulsion, and alter the cadence substantially, making you adjust your timing as well. This is also another way of getting in some practice while reducing the load on your shoulders - something that can be useful at the ends of workouts.
Emphasis on the combination of SoL & 1-arm swimming in a "pulsing framework" will allow us to build a little bit of endurance and also ingrain some good motor skills. So many athletes struggle with the 1-arm drill, almost invariably because of their inability to "lead with the head" consistently. While leading with the head comes much easier to athletes in the SoL series, the lack of stability that you find in the 1-arm tends to make a person want to rush through the drill.
Note that when doing this in the pulse-kicking form, we do it 8-8 instead of our normal 6-6, which means 8 strokes of 1-arm, then 8 strokes of either pull or swim (depending on the set).
Early in the workout we prepare you for the 1-arm by giving you some "restricted breathing" 25s, where you breathe every 5 to 7 strokes. This shows you just how powerful you can be without the confounding influence of the breathe, in effect insuring a "leading head" on nearly every stroke. We also include this in the warm down so that you can finish with your best form.
Another challenge to the 1-arm drill is found by folks who are trying to engage Early Vertical Forearm, but failing to do so in a manner that is appropriate to their body (flexibility, kick frequency, other). The interesting thing here is that EVF is VIRTUALLY IMPOSSIBLE to achieve without a "head-lead". Beyond that, EVF is an effect, rather than a cause. The most important thing in the catch is to get your hand pointed DOWN, and underneath of your body so that you can apply pressure. Close your eyes and try to do 1-arm free, forget about what is happening in the catch, and just focus on applying pressure when your hand is underneath of yourself. If you lead with your head, and let your hand go deep, your body will achieve EVF if it is capable of it, but do not worry, if you do these things, it will achieve EEVF (Early ENOUGH Vertical Forearm).
1 X 500 done as 50 SWIM / 25 F&P / 25 1-BEAT REST :30
10 X 25 PULL - BR EVERY 5-7 STROKES
on :10 REST
1 X 250 PULL, NEGATIVE SPLIT
10 X 25 SWIM - BR EVERY 5-7 STROKES
on :10 REST
1 X 250 SWIM, NEG. SPLIT
TECHNICAL REVIEW / MAIN SET
1 X 400 SWIM, ALT 50 SLOW / 50 FAST
1 X 200 8-8 PULSE (1-6 SoL / PULL)
1 X 400 SWIM, ALT 25 w/1`-BT KICK / 75 SWIM
1 X 200 8-8 PULSE (1-ARM / SWIM)
1`X 400 PULL, ALT 50 SLOW / 50 FAST
1 X 200 SWIM, ALT 25 1-ARM / 25 FAST
1 x 300 SWIM w/ FINS & 2-BEAT KICK
1 X 200 EASY SWIM OUT
You only have a bit of time, so give yourself a moment of great speed, and great execution. 10 x 100 holding as fast as you can, and as fast as you can needs to be as technically sound as you are capable of. Focus on excellent kick timing, and getting full breaths, the speed will follow.
1 X 500 done as 200 SWIM / 50 F&P / 200 PULL / 50 1-ARM
10 X 100 SWIM, AFAYCH on :10-:15 REST
1 X 200 ALT 25 KICK ON BACK / 25 EASY SWIM
This is a nice blend of conditioning work and rhythm/timing work. The use of the bi-lateral breathing mode (breathing every 3) in the 1st and 3rd parts of the set are an opportunity for you to become aware of what your body is doing in response to your turning your head to breathe.
Even elite swimmers suffer from some stroke degradation when breathing -- one key point to focus on here is the effect that using a "Head-Lead" (such as that done in SoL and 1-arm) can have on your opposite arm. On the 3rd set, you are asked to breathe every 3rd while descending, which will cause a bit of oxygen debt if you go at a high level. Try to make sure that you get full breaths at the very least, and take an extra 1:00 rest afterwards to recover and be ready to swim very fast on the last set of 100s.
Overall, this type of set can be really useful to your technical proficiency, as well as your ability to maintain form when tiring.
1 X 3/500 CHOICE SWIM
1 X 500 done as 25 R.ARM / L. ARM / PULL / KICK / SWIM
Repeat same pattern w/50s, then repeat again with 25s, to total 500
MAIN SET (options give 2,000-3,600)
8/10/12 X 100 PULL, BR. EVERY 3 on :15 REST
6/8/10 X 100 SWIM, w/1-BT, DES. 1-4/3/5
on :15 REST
4/6/8 X 100 SWIM w/2-BEAT BR. EV. 3, DESC. 1-4/5/3 on :15 REST
REST :30-:60 DEPENING ON HOW YOU FEEL
2/4/6 X 100 SWIM, AFAYCH, on :10 REST
4 X 200 SWIM w/ FINS, :20 REST
ODD - 25 1-ARM / 25 SWIM,
EVEN 25 KICK ON BACK / 25 3-6 SoL
1 X 200 EASY SWIM OUT, BREATHING EVERY 3RD
This workout is a nice opportunity to build volume in a context that encourages optimal form. The main set is a mixture of swimming, pulling and pulse-kicking, with several interludes of 25s that are aimed at giving you a technical reset in between longer more strenuous swims.
If you take the long option on these interludes, doing 50s instead of 25s, be very certain that you maintain your best execution during the second 25, as these are intended to help you develop the motor skills needed to maintain your optimal form.
1 X 300 done as 50 CHOICE / 25 F&P
9 X 50 on :10 REST
#1 – 25 1-6 SoL / 25 SWIM
#2 – 25 SWIM W/1-BEAT / 25 SWIM
#3 – 25 PULL / 25 SWIM
MAIN SET (options give 2,400-5,100)
3/5 X 150 ON :15 REST
#1- done as 50 6-6 PULSE (PULL/SWIM) / 50 FAST SWIM / 50 EASY SWIM
#2- 50 EASY SWIM / 50 6-6 PULSE
(PULL/SWIM) / 50 FAST SWIM
#3- 50 FAST SWIM / 50 EASY SWIM / 50 6-6 PULSE (PULL/SWIM)
*#4- 50 6-6 PULSE (PULL/SWIM) / 50 FAST SWIM / 50 EASY SWIM
*#5- 50 EASY SWIM / 50 6-6 PULSE (PULL/SWIM) / 50 FAST SWIM
1 X 250/400/600 PULL, BR EVERY 3RD ON
REST :30 - :60
10/12 X 25/50 on :10 REST
ODD - SWIM, BREATHE 4/5
EVEN - SWIM W/1-BEAT
1 X 250/400/600 SWIM, NEGATIVE SPLIT
REST :30 - :60
10/12 X 25/50 on :10 REST
ODD SoL 3-6
EVEN KICK ON BACK
3/5 X 150 PULL, DESC. 1-3/5 on :15 REST
*1 X 250/400/600 KICK w/FINS
*10/12 X 25/50 on :10 REST
ODD - PULL, BREATHE EVERY 5-7
EVEN - EASY KICK ON BACK
1 X 150 EASY SWIM
* optional swims
This week is a big old block of Zen -- featuring repetition, focus, and opportunities to explore the relationship between yourself and your breathing.
1-arm swim with varying breathing patterns to become aware of the alignment of the head, but ALSO the rotation of the body, and how they both vary when breathing or not breathing.
Early in the warm-up we will do a series of SoL variations, 1-6, 3-10, and 5-12 (that's 5 strokes, then 12 kicks). When doing the 3 and 5 stroke variations, see if you can complete the strokes without breathing. The extra kicks (10 and then 12) are there to allow you to obtain several breaths before putting your face back in the water for successive non-breathing strokes.
1 X 400 done as 50 SWIM / 25 F&P / 25 KICK ON BACK
4 X (3 x 25 SoL) on :10 REST
1 X 25 1-6 SoL
1 X 25 3-10 SoL
1 X 25 5-12 SoL
6 X 50 ALT 25 1-ARM BR EVERY OTHER STROKE / 25 PULL on :15 REST
3 X 100 ALT 75 BUILD-UP SWIM / 25 SWIM w/1-BT on :15 REST
8 X 150 PULL ,DES. 1-4 on :15 REST
3 X 100 ALT 75 BUILD-UP / 25 HL PULL on :15 REST
6 X 100 KICK w/FINS, DES. 1-3 on :15 REST
1 X 200 EASY SWIM OUT
Today's workout has 2 options, 1) Do a 5x100 on :10 rest test set, and video it for review by the coaches, or 2) Take some time today to work on kicking -- it's just that simple. The 5x100 video test set will be a great way to assess your speed at VO2max, which is pretty much an assessment of your upper limit of aerobic speed - i.e., Your speed at Anaerobic Threshold, or your maximum long distance sustainable speed, should not be able to exceed the VO2max speed.
Post your video to the Video Review Forum at www.findingfreestyle.com -- smart phone video shot from the end of the lane is good enough.
We will be able to see a number of things: 1) how your stroke looks when fresh, 2) how your stroke looks when you tire, 3) what your repeats are, 4) how much your speed decreases as you tire, and 5) in sum: the timing of all of your body parts.
If you take the kick set option, put this 5x100 test set in your back pocket and set a date to do it. For the kicking version, it is quite simple: just kick. If you are normally someone who needs fins to actually propel yourself down the pool. try to do AT LEAST the first 5x100 without fins. Make sure that you allow your feet to break the surface while kicking with a board, and keep a relatively brisk cadence.
Happy Medium Drill - The happy-medium drill is a type of speed-play that focuses on hand-speed as opposed to swimming speed. This drill asks you to alternate swims:
Odd swims with an extremely long stroke (take as few strokes as possible without exceeding a 6-beat kick).
Even swims with a short stroke and very high turnover rate, while maintaining at least a 2 beat kick.
The idea here is to achieve the highest possible sustainable turnover rate. How can you make it sustainable? How does the head movement (or head lead) fit into the stroke timing? Like switching into a small gear on a bicycle, you will shorten the stroke length, decreasing the amount of time during each stroke that you are applying force. By combining this shortened effective area with a high turnover rate, your overall swimming speed will most likely NOT decrease substantially.
Happy Medium - https://youtu.be/gmL2EaZdDPU
1 X 600 EASY CHOICE WARMUP
10 X 25 HAPPY-MEDIUM DRILL on :10 REST
ODD - Minimal long strokes. Maximum DPS.
EVEN - Maximal quick strokes. Maximal SR
3 X 100 PULL, BUILD on :15 REST
ANY OTHER WARMUP ACTIVITIES YOU NEED TO FEEL READY
5 X 100 SWIM AFAYC on :10 REST (video it if at all possible and submit to the forum for review)
15:00 OPEN WARMDOWN
1 x 200 EASY CHOICE WARM-UP
10 X 100 KICK on :10-:20 REST
1 x 200 EASY WARMDOWN
We begin the workout with a bit of a leg focus, combining leg-intensive drills such as 1-arm and SoL with some beat-kicking and some speed kicking. This will give us a nice work on the legs before the main set which, while containing a large portion of pull, will essentially give us an opportunity to really challenge our bodies arm/leg/head synchronicity.
The Float & Paddle "@QUICK PACE" in the warm-up is just as it sounds, Float & Paddle executed at a pace that is not quite a sprint, but which really encourages us to shake it loose a bit, and explore the bounds of control on this drill which is, by its nature, quite restrictive. We want to experience how we can perform the F&P by just "shaking" the body to spin the arms around it, developing a sense of how we can encourage two body groups (the arms and torso) to be in perfect synchronization by doing less, rather than more.
This workouts main set contains an intense focus on bi-lateral breathing, mixed in with some speed play. To simply breathe bilateraly, however, is no magic pathway to better swimming. Bilateral breathing simply presents an opportunity to gain awareness, and then leverage that awareness using your understanding of how your body works in the water, and the keys that you have gained over time.
Primary among those gains is your understanding of the role of the head, particularly the "leading head" in enabling your arm to get into position and propel effectively. When you breathe every 3rd stroke, you not only get to alter the arm that breathes, but you also have 1/3 less breathing strokes, which means that you get to do more strokes without the interruptive influence of breathing. Patterns such as 2-3 (alternating 2 strokes and a breath, then 3 strokes and a breath) allow you to experience this effect also, but with considerably more oxygen, which will allow you to go at a higher intensity.
1 X 300 CHOICE
6 X 50 ALT 25 SLOW 1-ARM / 25 F&P @QUICK PACE on :15 REST
6 X 100 done as 25 3-BEAT KICK w/BOARD / 25 KICK FAST / 50 1-6 SoL :15 REST
MAIN SET (options give 2,400-4,000)
1 X 3/4/500 PULL, BR EVERY 2-3
3/4/5 X 100 SWIM, BR every 2 ON RIGHT, DES 1-3/5 on :15 REST
1 X 3/4/500 PULL, BR every 2-4
3/4/5 X 100 SWIM, BR every 2 ON LEFT, DES 1-3/5 on :15 REST
1 X 3/4/500 PULL, BR every 2-3
3/4/5 X 100 SWIM, BR every 3, DES 1-3/5 on :15 REST
1 X 3/4/500 SWIM, BR every 2-5
3/4/5 X 100 SWIM, CHOICE OF BP DES 1-3/5 on :15 REST
8 X 75 w/FINS, ALT 25 1-ARM / 50 SWIM w/6-BEAT KICK on :10 REST
1 X 200 EASY SWIM OUT