Workouts

Weekend Swim Workout: The Importance of Single-Arm Drills

Struggling with a certain phase of your swim stroke? It's time to incorporate single-arm drills into your sets.

Single-arm drills are the best way to focus on every phase of the stroke, including the pull. The non-swimming arm should be kept at your side to allow and promote torso rotation while performing the drills. The basic version is with no equipment. Start with 6×25, alternating arms each 25. A more advanced single-arm drill is performed with a paddle to provide a bigger surface area during the pull. While the focus is on the pull during these drills, don’t forget to rotate your torso enough that your non-stroking shoulder pops out of the water.

Try single-arm drills with the the sets below. The A set is based on intervals of 1:20–1:30 per 100. The B set is based on intervals of 1:50–2:00 per 100. The C set is 2,000–2,500 yards/ meters total and based on a rest interval. Pick the one that fits your skill and fitness level. See the descriptions of the drills at the bottom. Happy swimming!

How to Do Single-Arm Drills

Streamline off the wall. Keep your left arm extended while taking complete strokes with your right arm. Reach your right hand past your left before the catch. Focus on good rotation during each stroke. Swim a 25 with the right arm and then switch for the next 25.

A:

500 choice warm up
12×50 (3: kick @ :60, 3: drill @ :50, repeat)
6×25 @ :30 drill (finger tip drag drill)
6×75 @ 1:10 swim (descend 1-3, 4-6)
6×25 @ :40 drill (single-arm drill)
6×75 @ 1:20 swim (all strong)
6×25 @ :30 drill (catch up/stick drill)
6×75 @ 2:00 swim (ALL FAST)
6×25 @ :30 pull (smooth)
6×75 @ 1:05 pull (strong)
6×25 @ :30 pull (breathing every 5)
6×75 @ 1:00 pull (strong)
200 cool down
*4300 Total*

B:

500 choice warm up
6×50 (3: kick @ 1:15, 3: drill @ 1:05)
6×25 @ :40 drill (finger tip drag drill)
6×75 @ 1:20 swim (descend 1-3, 4-6)
6×25 @ :45 drill (single-arm drill)
6×75 @ 1:30 swim (all strong)
6×25 @ :40 drill (catch up/stick drill)
6×75 @ 2:00 swim (ALL FAST)
6×25 @ :40 pull (smooth)
6×75 @ 1:20 pull (strong)
200 cool down
*3400 Total*

C:

400 choice warm up
6×50 (3: kick, 3: drill w/:20 sec rest)
6×25 @ :50 drill (finger tip drag drill)
6×75 w/:30 sec rest (swim descend 1-3, 4-6)
6×25 @ :50 drill (single-arm drill)
6×75 w/:45 rest (swim all FAST)
6×25 @ :45 pull (smooth)
6×75 w/:30 rest (pull)
100 cool down
*2600 Total*