Swim Workout to Improve Butterfly

swimming skills

Here’s a short 1,600 yard workout to improve your butterfly. It’s for intermediate swimmers who are looking for a change of pace or master swimmers who want to swim a faster 50 or 100 butterfly.

Warm-up:
100 freestyle easy, 100 kick with board easy,
4 x 50 Descend to 85% (each 50 gets faster. 60, 70, 80, 85% on last one.
Use perceived effort. 0 to 15 seconds rest between 50’s.

Fly set #1
a. 100 dolphin kick medley. (25 on back, both arms overhead, 25 on right side, bottom arm extended, 25 on left side, 25 on stomach, both arms extended) Focus on kicking from ribs and work on the up kick. On the last 25 breathe every 4 kicks, but do not take a pull.
b. 4 x 25 fly drill. (25 with 4 kicks before you pull, 25 with 3 kicks before you pull, 25 with 2 kicks, 25 with one kick) Take 5 to 15 seconds rest between 25’s. Kick from ribs. Effort is about 70%. Stroke concentration is on bringing chin forward to breathe, sweeping arms low on the recovery.
c. 100 Freestyle easy.
Repeat set for a total of 600 yards

Fly set #2
a. 2 x 150 (alternating fly and free by 25’s. The fly is faster, the free is easy and used as recovery. On fly, keep a good stroke. As soon as you lose the stroke, stop and take more rest. Do not swim fly with bad technique.)

Finishing set
a. 8 x 25 dolphin kick sprints with board. Work on small, fast kicks and pressing down with your chest to keep the hips up. Approximately 10 to 20 seconds rest. 85-90%

Swim down set
a. 200 ascend by 50’s (start at 75%, 70%, 65%, 60%) Freestyle or easy backstroke. Let heart rate drop back down.

There you go. A few additional points.

  1. A workout is only as good as it’s context. You need a plan to really improve your skills.
  2. Have fun. If you need more rest, take it. If your stroke starts to fall apart, rest.
  3. Butterfly is difficult. Give yourself time to learn it.
  4. This workout does not go into details on technique. You can do any of the drills/sets with focusing on your technique and get even more out of the workout.
  5. I would do this workout once a week for about a month. Your body will adapt to it and be ready for more difficult sets. Plus, your mind will get bored with it (at least mine would!

Enjoy and let me know how it works for you. Also, feel free to ask for more workout ideas.

Ron Usher

I help swimmer have fun, improve, get fast and learn about the great sport of swimming. I've always loved coaching the swimmers who weren't as talented or world class fast but they loved the sport and they wanted to learn and improve. I want you to benefit from my coaching and training.

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