Strengthen Your Freestyle Stroke By Doing Butterfly

  • By
  • Published Mar 20, 2013
  • Updated Mar 20, 2013 at 4:42 PM UTC

Swim Speed Workouts is a deck of waterproof cards of workouts, drills and dryland exercises that are carefully designed to develop a fast freestyle technique. We’ll be featuring a few workouts from the deck over the next few weeks. Look for the book in bookstores or online.

Swim Speed Workouts For Swimmers And Triathletes: Week 2, Workout 3

Purpose: To strengthen freestyle by doing butterfly. Butterfly is a great training stroke for freestyle because there is no serape core rotation, so the shoulders must stabilize as the upper arms arc out slightly and the forearms direct down for the catch. Strive for the same shoulder stabilization with freestyle, and drive your core on a transverse plane rather than excessively rotating your shoulders. Fly also strengthens your rhomboids as they work to lift both arms from the water at the same time—great for freestyle strength!

These send-off intervals are from my training log. Note the effort level and rest descriptions, and adjust the interval to be right for you.


5 × 200 free @ 3:00 at 65–70% (rest was 0:15)
Reminder: The warm-up is always a great opportunity to focus on streamlines off the wall.

Main set

5 × 100 free strong @ 1:15 at 80–85% effort (rest was 0:03–5)
Get the blood pumping with a tight send-off interval. Challenge yourself, since this is not a long set.

6 × 150 moderate @ 2:15 at 70–75% effort (rest was 0:12–15)
100 free / 50 fly
If you’re new to butterfly, modify this set to be 125 free / 25 fly or do just 4 repetitions. You can also choose a send-off interval that gives you more rest than I had, but try to take no more than 0:30 rest.

Download the pdf version of this workout.

RELATED: Advantages To Learning New Strokes In The Pool

FILED UNDER: Swim / Training TAGS:

Sign up for our free e-newsletter, SBR Report!

Subscribe to the FREE Triathlete newsletter