Welcome to the second week of the 14 Day Swim Challenge! Go to the Week 1 of the 14 Day Swim Challenge to start at the beginning. Otherwise, thanks for jumping in on the first week of this adventure. To reiterate, the goal of this challenge is to take you from zero to swimming (freestyle) with comfort and competence in fourteen days. This week, like the last will have 5 days of short swim workouts and two days of work on dryland on your off days. Mastering the technique takes priority over fitness development.
Day 8: Getting Closer, 6-1-6 to 6-3-6
Welcome to your second week of the challenge! Today we take a big step towards actual freestyle swimming. We’re going to build from the 6-1-6 drill that you did last week and add more stroking with the 6-3-6 drill. Everything will be with fins today so you can comfortably get a feel for the drill. The 6-3-6 will start to put all the things together: feel for water, body position, kicking, body roll, and actual stroking. The journey just got pretty exciting!
Gear Needed: Fins and pull buoy
Drills for today:
- Scull 8×50, scull down, kick back w/fins & buoy.
- Side kick, without fins, 4 x 25
- 6-1-6, w/ fins, 10 x 25.
- 6-3-6, w/ fins, 10 x 25
Grab a pull buoy, put some fins on, and push off the wall with you face just out of the water. With your arms extended in front of you, move them so that your finger tips are below your wrist, and your wrist is below your elbow. Then, move your hands side-to-side 2-3 feet, experimenting with the angle of and shape of your hand. If done correctly, this will propel you forward (slowly). There is no kicking in this drill. Take your time and play with it until you find what causes you to move down the pool most efficiently. Do eight laps (a lap is one length down and one length back). For each lap, scull down for one length, turn and kick back holding the buoy out in front of you.
Side Kick With Fins
Push off the wall and begin kicking from a prone position. As you kick extend one arm out in front of you, reaching for the wall while leaving the other arm relaxed at your side. This will pull your torso around so that your belly button begins to face the side wall. Aim to kick at about a 45 degree angle. Your face should be close to your arm with your eyes looking either straight down or 2-3 feet ahead. As needed, rotate your head to breathe on the side facing the side wall.
6-1-6 With Fins
Start out as you would for the side kick drill. Count to six, then pull back with your extended arm using it to rotate you to side kicking on the other side. While you’re doing this, bring your relaxed arm up and around to enter the water and extend in front of you, replacing the other arm. Make sure you are exhaling through all of this and rotate to a breath before you take a stroke. As you start the stroke with your extended arm, think about tipping your fingertips down first. Your palm should face the wall behind you. As you start to pull back try to get your palm and forearm vertical as soon as possible so that they are both parallel to the wall behind you. This gives you the biggest possible “paddle” to propel you forward. Avoid dropping your arm and pushing water down instead of back as this will cause your legs to sink.
6-3-6 With Fins
Treat this like the 6-1-6 drill with one major change: instead of one stroke to switch sides, you will do three before returning to your 6-count. The trickiest part of this drill is choosing when to breathe. It is typically easiest to do it right before you take your three strokes. Doing it after the strokes can be a touch long and cause discomfort if you really need some air.
Day 9: Dry Land Drills and Strength
Today’s dry land work will look very similar to day two, but will focus more on strength exercises for developing your core.
- Wall extension
- Side stroke Drill
- Plank 3 x 30-60 seconds
- Single Leg Bridge, 2 x 20-60 seconds
Good swimmers are “long swimmers.” Extension causes rotation, and rotation makes you slice through the water. This drill is a good way to practice and visualize the cue “reach for the wall” and emphasize why it matters. Face a wall with both arms extended overhead. Then, drop one arm to your side and reach as high as you can with the other. What happens? As you reach, your whole body rotates. This more sideways position reduces the surface area visible to the water, making you more hydrodynamic. Better hydrodynamics mean you will go further with less effort – you want that! Swimming efficiently is all about switching from side to side smoothly, not about plowing through on your stomach.
Side Stroke Drill
This drill is another low risk way to work on your stroke mechanics, more specifically the arm portions. Lie on your side with your bottom arm extended in front of you. Then, “stroke” with your other arm. A couple key pieces to focus on are:
- getting your stroke hand to face the wall behind you as you pull towards your toes
- recovering by pulling your elbow to a high position with your hand coming up to your armpit
- practicing an entry that is between the elbow and wrist of your extended arm.
Lie face down on a mat with elbows resting on the floor next to your chest. Your palms should be flat on the floor or in a fist position. Feet should be together. Then, push your body up off the floor into a pushup position with your body resting on your elbows and hands. Contract the abs and keep the body in a straight line from head to toes. Hold this for 30-60 seconds before returning to the starting position.
Single Leg Bridge
Lie on floor or mat. Place one leg straight and bend the other leg with foot flat on floor or mat. Place arms down on mat to each side of hips. Then, raise body by extending hip of bent leg, keeping extended leg and hip straight. Hold for 20-60 seconds. Return to original position by lowering body with extended leg and hip straight. Repeat on opposite side.
Bookmark this page and come back tomorrow for the link to Day 10 or find it on the Breaking Muscle Home Page anytime during the coming week. Go to Week 1 of the 14 Day Swim Challenge for the more background on the workouts and what to expect.