Thoughts

5 Easy 30-Minute Swimming Workouts to Help Your BJJ

It seems as if right when we got back into swimming, it started to get popular as a cross training activity in the BJJ community.  So rather than extol the benefits of swimming or explain how it will help your jiu-jitsu, I’ll share the 4 most recent swim workouts we’ve done and our go-to workout when we don’t have any workout planned.

Swimming Terms

First, I’ll start out with some definitions so newbies to swimming can understand the workouts.

A standard lap pool is either 25 yards or 25 meters across.  So 1 x 25 would mean swim across the pool once (swim 1 length).  1 x 50 means swim across the pool and back once (swim 1 lap).  2 x 50 means swim across the pool and back once, take a little break, then swim across the pool and back again (swim 2 laps with a break in between).

Free or freestyle- any stroke you want although the best choice is usually front crawl.

Dolphin kick – keep your feet together, arms reach up over your head, undulate your body to swim like a mermaid

Navy Seal Kicks – we found this from another BJJ article, dolphin or front crawl kick while keeping your arms clasped behind your back.

IM – international medley, swim equal parts butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, front crawl.  So for a 100 IM swim 1 length butterfly then 1 length backstroke then 1 length breaststroke and end with 1 length of front crawl.

Workout 1

This is the first workout we did after about 2 years off from lap swimming.  Its any stroke you want (although I recommend front crawl with some backstroke or breaststroke in the warm up or cool down).  This should be easy to complete within 30 minutes.

Total Yardage: 600

2 x 50 warm up – any stroke

4 x 25 free counting strokes – try to have the same number of strokes for each length

4 x 50 free timed, 30 second rest – try to swim at the same pace for each 50

4 x 25 free counting strokes

2 x 50 cool down – any stroke

Workout 2

The focus of this workout was to build up our yardage.  Take the longer swims slowly and if you get tired slow your kicking down.  It might feel counterintuitive but legs require a lot of oxygen and energy to kick (just try to swim a length only kicking!) so slowing down your kicking can help you swim longer distances.

Total Yardage: 750

50 warm up – any stroke

50 free

100 free

150 free

200 free

50 backstroke

2 x 25 Navy Seal kicks

50 IM

50 cool down

Workout 3

IMs are difficult but also are a really fun way to push yourself.  This workout builds toward a 100 IM at then end by spending time on each stroke.

Total Yardage: 1000

100 warm up

100 free, first length breathe on 3rd pull, 2nd length breathe on 5, 7, 9

50 Backstroke

50 Navy Seal kicks

4 x 50 free with timed rest (20 – 30 seconds)

100 dolphin kick, first length face down, 2nd face up, 3rd one side, 4th other side

2 x 25 butterfly

50 backstroke

4 x 25 breaststroke, first length no glide, 2nd 1 sec, 3rd 2 seconds, 4th 3 second glide

100 IM

100 cool down

Workout 4

This workout encourages pacing by having a long slow swim followed by a medium speed swim, then a 50 yard sprint.  Try to rest as little as possible between the slow, medium, and fast sets – you can use the backstroke as recovery.

Total Yardage: 1050

100 warm up

150 free, slow

100 free, medium speed

50 free, fast

50 easy backstroke

150 free, slow

100 free, medium

50 free, fast

50 easy backstroke

50 dolphin down, breaststroke back

100 IM

100 cool down

Workout 5

This is our go-to workout when its hard enough to make it to the pool, much less plan a workout too!  This workout is called a ladder – you can make it as short or as long as you want.  Swim 1 length, then swim two lengths, then swim three lengths, and so on until you’ve reached your goal, then decrease by a length each time.  You can also increase and decrease by laps instead of lengths to build the distance faster (ex: 50, 100, 150, 200, 150, 100, 50).  Pause for the same amount of time between each swim, I’d recommend starting with 30 seconds and decreasing the rest if that feels too easy.

Total Yardage: 1100

100 warm up

25 free

50 free

75 free

100 free

125 free

150 free

125 free

100 free

75 free

50 free

25 free

100 cool down

 

 

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