Weekend Swim Workout: 125s and Pop-Ups

Don't go to the pool without a plan.

For access to all of our training, gear, and race coverage, plus exclusive training plans, FinisherPix photos, event discounts, and GPS apps, sign up for Outside+.

Ready to make this the year you become a better swimmer? The most time-efficient way to improve swimming speed is to incorporate sets, intervals, drills and various levels of effort into your workout. Read about the drills and then pick the set that best matches your fitness and ability level. Happy swimming!

Tarzan drill:

Swim the length of the pool with your head above water to build strength in your neck to prepare for sighting. Look forward as if you were sighting a buoy or landmark in open water.


Face the wall and place both hands on the top of the edge of the pool. Push up and out of the water until your arms are fully extended and then drop back down into the water. This will be harder or easier depending on how high the edge of the pool is in relation to the surface of the water.


500 choice
4×150 @ 2:45 (kick/drill/swim by 50)
6×100 @ 1:30 (25 FAST Tarzan Drill/75 smooth swim)
12×125 @ 2:00 3x(2 as free/fly/back/breast/free; 2 as swim w/10 pop-ups)
15×50 pull (5 @ :50, 5 @ :45, 5 @ :40)
300 cool down (50 kick/100 swim, repeat)

4200 Total


500 choice
4×150 @ 3:30 (kick/drill/swim by 50)
5×100 @ 2:00 (25 FAST Tarzan Drill/75 smooth swim)
8×125 @ 2:30 swim w/10 pop-ups
8×50 pull @ :50
300 cool down (50 kick/100 swim, repeat)

3300 Total


400 choice
4×150 w/:30 rest (kick/drill/swim by 50)
4×100 w/:20 rest (25 FAST Tarzan Drill/75 smooth swim)
4×125 swim w/10 pop-ups w/:20 rest
6×50 pull w/:10 rest
200 cool down (50 kick/50 swim, repeat)

2400 Total