Swimming Workouts to Get Started Swimming

Build Up From Zero to a 500 Yard or 500 Meter Swim

2011 ConocoPhillips USA Swimming National Championships
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Want to get swimming workouts going, but think you are a weak swimmer and won't be able to do it? If you can do swimming workouts for 25 meters or 25-yard lengths of a pool, then you can use these swimming workouts build up to a swimming workout that totals 500 meters or 500 yards.​​

It does not matter what stroke you do for these swim workouts. It does not matter how fast or how slow you swim these workouts. The sole goal is to increase the amount of swimming you do within one workout. Within one swim workout, there are 25s, the 50s, 75s, and - at the end of the plan - a 100.

What Is a 25, 50, 75 or 100?

A 25 = 25 meters or yards. You push off of one wall of the pool and swim to the other end, assuming that the pool is 25 meters or yards long. If it is a longer pool, then you will stop in the middle of the pool and start your next swim effort from the middle.

A 50 = 50 meters or yards. Push off of one wall of the pool, swim to the other end, turn around and swim back to where you started (assuming that the pool is 25 meters or yards long). If the pool is 50 meters long, then you swim from one wall to the other without stopping.

A 75 = 75 meters or yards. Push off of one wall of the pool, swim to the other end, turn around and swim back to where you started, push off that wall and swim to the other end (assuming that the pool is 25 meters or yards long). If the pool is 50 meters long, then you swim from one wall to the other without stopping, turn around and swim halfway back.​​

A 100 = 100 meters or yards. Push off of one wall of the pool, swim to the other end, turn around and swim back to where you started, push off that wall and swim to the other end, turn around, push off, and swim to where you started (assuming that the pool is 25 meters or yards long). If the pool is 50 meters long, then you swim from one wall to the other without stopping, turn around and swim back to where you started.

Resting Between Sets

How long should you stop between each effort? How much rest should you take? I am using breaths to indicate rest. Control your breathing when you finish each effort as best you can, and count each exhalation. When you reach the indicated number of breaths, it is time to start the next swim effort.

At the beginning of the plan, it does not matter very much as long as you are able to do the swims. There is recommended rest for each swim, but if you need more, take it! If the swim is a 25, then you take rest between each 25. If the swim is a 50, you should try to keep swimming, with no rest, until you complete the full 50; the same for a 75 or a 100. Swim the full 75 or full 100 before you stop to take rest.

If you need to stop at any time to rest, then do it. The goal is to increase the amount of swimming you do within a workout. If that means taking more rest or swimming shorter efforts, that is OK.

You will get the best results by doing at least three workouts each week. You could do them from #1 through #18, or you could do #1 two or three times in a week, then do number #2 two or three times in a week, etc.​

18 Swimming Workouts From 100 to 500 Meters

Workout #1 (100)

  • 4 x 25 with no more than 20 breaths rest

Workout #2 (100)

  • 4 x 25 with no more than 15 breaths rest

Workout #3 (150)

  • 6 x 25 with no more than 20 breaths rest

Workout #4 (150)

  • 6 x 25 with no more than 15 breaths rest

Workout #5 (200)

  • 8 x 25 with no more than 15 breaths rest

Workout #6 (200)

  • 1 x 50 with no more than 20 breaths rest
  • 6 x 25 with no more than 15 breaths rest

Workout #7 (250)

  • 1 x 50 with no more than 20 breaths rest
  • 8 x 25 with no more than 15 breaths rest

Workout #8 (250)

  • 1 x 50 with no more than 15 breaths rest
  • 8 x 25 with no more than 15 breaths rest

Workout #9 (300)

  • 2 x 50 with no more than 20 breaths rest
  • 8 x 25 with no more than 15 breaths rest

Workout #10 (300)

  • 2 x 50 with no more than 15 breaths rest
  • 8 x 25 with no more than 15 breaths rest

Workout #11 (350)

  • 2 x 50 with no more than 10 breaths rest
  • 10 x 25 with no more than 15 breaths rest

Workout #12 (350)

  • 1 x 75 with no more than 20 breaths rest
  • 1 x 25 with no more than 15 breaths rest
  • 2 x 50 with no more than 15 breaths rest
  • 6 x 25 with no more than 15 breaths rest

Workout #13 (400)

  • 1 x 75 with no more than 20 breaths rest
  • 1 x 25 with no more than 15 breaths rest
  • 3 x 50 with no more than 15 breaths rest
  • 6 x 25 with no more than 15 breaths rest

Workout #14 (400)

  • 1 x 75 with no more than 20 breaths rest
  • 1 x 25 with no more than 15 breaths rest
  • 3 x 50 with no more than 15 breaths rest
  • 6 x 25 with no more than 10 breaths rest

Workout #15 (450)

  • 2 x 75 with no more than 20 breaths rest
  • 2 x 25 with no more than 15 breaths rest
  • 3 x 50 with no more than 15 breaths rest
  • 4 x 25 with no more than 10 breaths rest

Workout #16 (450)

  • 2 x 75 with no more than 15 breaths rest
  • 2 x 25 with no more than 15 breaths rest
  • 4 x 50 with no more than 15 breaths rest
  • 2 x 25 with no more than 5 breaths rest

Workout #17 (500)

  • 2 x 75 with no more than 15 breaths rest
  • 2 x 25 with no more than 15 breaths rest
  • 4 x 50 with no more than 10 breaths rest
  • 4 x 25 with no more than 5 breaths rest

Workout #18 (500)

  • 1 x 100 with no more than 20 breaths rest
  • 2 x 75 with no more than 15 breaths rest
  • 2 x 25 with no more than 15 breaths rest
  • 4 x 50 with no more than 10 breaths rest

Ready for a Harder Workout?

Done with this plan? Move on to building your workout up to 1,500 meters or yards, or even 3k yards!