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5 Swimming Sets for Better Arm Pulls

Just knowing the ‘right’ or the ‘best’ drills won’t help you improve your skills.

You have to know how to optimally use these drills to really improve your performance.

When you use the best principles for learning, you get sets that accelerate your progress.

In my last couple e-mails, I’ve been talking about how to improve your hands to improve your speed.

I showed you how to learn to accelerate your hands for a better pull.

I showed you how to change your hand position to improve your feel for the water.

I provided some sample sets to illustrate the concepts.

I’ve always learned best when I understand why you do something AND how to do it.

It’s the combination that works best.

With that in mind, I tend to explain more than I show, so today we’re going straight practical.

It’s going to be light on words and heavy on practical examples.

I’m going to give you five different sets that you can use to improve your pull, based on the principles we discussed.

For ALL of the sets, simply adjust them to suit your needs.

Add repetitions or remove repetitions.

Do more rounds of the set or do less rounds of the set.

Increase the distance or reduce the distance.

Aim to swim faster or aim to swim slower.

Respect the basic set up and adjust the specifics to suit your needs.

Here are your simple solutions!


This is set is all about learning how to change speeds.

You’re going to have to figure out how to swim faster across repetitions.

You’re going to have to figure out to build speed within repetitions.

And you’re going to have to do so with various hand positions and various drills.

In every situation, the goal is to find speed, and the way to do that is more effective pulling

Stroke Count

In the previous set, the focus was on speed.

Here, you’re going to focus on stroke count.

You’re going to have to get more out of each pull to accomplish the goals of the set, and you’re going to have to do so in different situations.

You’re also going to have to change your stroke count on command.

When you can, that means you can control how you pull, which means you know how to execute great pulls and make adjustments.

Speed and Stroke Count

In swimming, you need to be adaptable.

You need to be able to change HOW you swim when required.

Especially in open water, where conditions are always changing, you need to be able to adjust.

In this set, you’ll shift your focus between speed and stroke count.

You’ll have to adjust how you swim and the goals you’re trying to achieve, all in different situations.

Considering that’s going to be putting pressure on your pulling, that means more effective pulling.


This is the ultimate test.

You have to be efficient AND effective, fast AND long.

To get your golf score, you add your time and your stroke count.

Because we’re going to take away your legs on some repetitions AND modify your hands, the only way to do so is with great pulling.

Use the concrete feedback you’ll get from the numbers to adjust your approach, adjust your stroke, and figure out what works.


Too often, triathlete just perform ‘technique’ work over short distances.

This time we’re going to incorporate these concepts over longer distances.

What’s the key concept?

Consistency of execution is the goal.

Achieve the objectives and do so by executing great pulls.

You’ll be doing so in different situations, and the common theme is great pulling.

Give one of these sets a try and let me know how it goes.

I love to hear about your progress.

Keep it simple...



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