Shape Up! - Blythe Lucero - ebook

Shape Up! ebook

Blythe Lucero



This is the second in a three book series of swim workouts by Coach Blythe Lucero. This book contains 100 swim workouts designed to generate full body fitness through a conditioning routine focused on building endurance, versatility and applicable power. The workouts in this book use established training methods including interval training, benchmark swims and speed play to build conditioning and improve fitness. The workouts total up to 3,500 yards/meters. Each workout is accompanied by a "Tip of the Day" to help swimmers get the most from their conditioning routine. A Progress Log is included for swimmers to track their improvement. Coach Blythe's Swim Workouts are appropriate for self-coached swimmers and triathletes, as well as for coaches looking for workout content for the athletes they train. The presentation of the workouts in this book series is clear and comprehensive. Photos and diagrams are included to assist with training goals.

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Dedicated to Elise Blumenfeld




Blythe Lucero

Meyer & Meyer Sport

British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data

A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library

Shape Up! 100 Conditioning Swim Workouts

Maidenhead: Meyer & Meyer Sport (UK) Ltd., 2010

ISBN 978-1-84126-988-7

All rights reserved, especially the right to copy and distribute, including the translation rights. No part of this work may be reproduced—including by photocopy, microfilm or any other means—processed, stored electronically, copied or distributed in any form whatsoever without the written permission of the publisher.

© 2010 by Meyer & Meyer Sport (UK) Ltd.

Aachen, Adelaide, Auckland, Budapest, Cape Town, Graz, Indianapolis, Maidenhead, Olten (CH), Singapore, Toronto

Member of the World

Sport Publishers’ Association (WSPA)

Printed by: B.O.S.S Druck und Medien GmbH

ISBN: 978-1-84126-269-7

E-Mail: [email protected]




Swimming to Shape Up

Make the Commitment

Shape Up Strategy

Building Endurance

Building Strength

Building Versatility

Achieving Results

Indications of Progress

Recovery and Adaptation

Signs of Non-adaptation

Valuing the Process

Getting Back on the Horse


Preparing to Swim

A Place to Swim

Timing System


Workout Presentation

Workout Elements

Workout Terminology

Workout Format

Swimmer’s Progress Log


Shape Up Workouts for Freestyle

Shape Up Workouts for Backstroke

Shape Up Workouts for Breaststroke

Shape Up Workouts for Butterfly




I have always looked at writing a workout like cooking a good dinner. As I plan the menu, I think about whom I am preparing it for. I am aware that what I serve will be experienced as it is consumed. I know that ultimately what I cook will help healthy growth and development. So, when I cook a meal, or write a workout, my goal is to make it appetizing, filling and full of nutrition. Like a meal, if a workout isn’t interesting, chances are it will not be met with enthusiasm, or even finished. The same old menu day after day gets boring. Spicing things up with interesting presentations, combinations and tasty treats makes it more exciting and palatable. Further, just as with dinner, a workout must be served in the right portion sizes. Too little, and it is unsatisfying, and won’t supply the body with what it needs. Too much, and it is overwhelming, leading to either excessive consumption or waste. Finally, just as a well-balanced meal contains a variety of food groups, rich in vitamins and minerals, a good workout must contain a blend of elements that together fuel the body, mind and spirit.

When I cook and when I prepare workouts, I use skill, creativity and love! In the kitchen, I deliberately blend certain ingredients, which I have learned from other recipes taste good together. Likewise, when I write workouts, I assemble specific elements together that I know from experience produce positive results. When I am cooking, I use color, texture, aroma and taste to create the richest sensory experience possible. Similarly, when I plan a workout, I strive to design a composition that is engaging, stimulating and meaningful to the athlete. Finally, when I cook, and when I write workouts, it is a labor of love. I am passionate about the process, and I am passionate about the results. It is my constant hope that this comes through in every meal, and every workout I prepare.

This is the second in a three book series called “Coach Blythe’s Swim Workouts.” This book contains conditioning-based workouts designed to help swimmers shape up by building swimming capacity and accessible power. The first book in the series contains technique-based workouts, designed to help swimmers improve swimming efficiency by improving swimming mechanics. The third book in the series contains challenging workouts, designed for advanced level training. Swimmers may use the material in these books to build their fitness, or to train for competitive swimming or triathlon on their own, when their coach is not present. These books can also be useful to coaches looking for workout content to use in the training programs they design for their swimmers.

Without the intent of discouraging anyone taking up the wonderful sport of swimming, this book is neither a ‘Learn to Swim’ manual, nor a ‘Swimming Technique’ guide. Users of this book are expected to have the ability to move safely through the water, and have an understanding, both in theory and practice of swimming mechanics. Always consult a doctor before beginning a fitness routine such as this.

The 100 workouts in this book focus on shaping up with swimming, using a strategy that builds endurance, strength and versatility over time. This collection of workouts is presented in a sequence that when done regularly, will encourage gradual adaptation, and progress towards one’s fitness goals. The workouts range from 2,200 to 3,500 yards/meters. Specific workouts are included for each of the competitive swimming strokes. Each workout is designed as a balanced practice session unto itself, but also as a part of a long-term program of physical conditioning.

So, if you are ready, dig in! Bon Appetit.


Swimming to Shape Up

What does the term “Shape Up” mean to you? Beyond improved fitness, this term might bring to mind more specific goals such as weight loss, lower body fat, toning, more strength, improved cardiovascular health or stress reduction. Swimming can be an excellent method to achieve any of these goals. It can be also be totally ineffective.

Experts commonly agree that swimming is one of the best fitness activities a person can engage in to achieve full body fitness. However, it takes ongoing activity to make a difference. One or two swims will just not do it. Further, how and what one swims is also an important factor in the quality of result. Health professionals disagree about the effectiveness of swimming as a way shed weight, for example. Why? Because, it is possible for two swimmers, both swimming for one hour, to burn vastly different numbers of calories, simply due to what and how they swim. Finally, the mechanics of swimming plays a very important role in an individual’s ability to benefit from a swimming fitness routine. Good swimming technique will allow a swimmer to expend less energy, and therefore be able to continue to swim for a longer period of time. On the other hand, poor technique will make a swimmer too exhausted to maintain the activity long enough to achieve fitness benefits.

This collection of workouts uses established training methods of swimming to build fitness. As you gain physical conditioning, and begin to shape up, I hope you find swimming to be as rewarding as I have, and stick with it. Over time, as you use this book to work toward your particular goals, you might just find that you achieve additional results serendipitously along the way.

Make the Commitment

Like any effective fitness routine, swimming requires personal dedication to get results. Think of personal dedication as a mindset, which includes characteristics such as patience, perseverance and commitment. In order to get the most out of this book to Shape Up effectively with swimming, you must be ready to put in the time and effort, and be prepared to keep working at it, even though it will take time. You must maintain your motivation to achieve results, slowly but surely. You must believe in what you are doing.

To shape up with swimming, you must make a three-part commitment:

Commitment to swim regularly over time

To shape up with swimming, you will need to swim frequently. Plan a routine that makes time for three to four swims per week, expecting to be in the water for an hour at minimum each time. It will take some time to adjust to this routine. At first you might feel pretty tired. But after you establish a base, your routine will become much more enjoyable, and rewarding. As everyone is different, there is no exact answer to how long it will take to get to this point, but plan on several weeks of base work. When you do begin to see results, this is not a cue to ease up, but a sign that what you are doing is starting to work. Keep it up!

Commitment to follow the workouts

The workouts in this book are designed to build well-rounded fitness, with a comprehensive and balanced program of progressive, diversi-fied swims. You have to be willing to follow the workouts... even when no one is looking! It is easy to skip and edit workouts. It is exactly like leaving the vegetables uneaten on your dinner plate. You will not get all the elements you need to develop fully if you leave something out. Certain activities will be more challenging than others. These are the very activities that you should focus your energy on. By building your weak areas, in addition to your strong areas, you will develop more balanced conditioning and well-rounded fitness.

Commitment to maintain good technique

Good swimming technique is the foundation of good swimming. Without constant attention to this issue, even the efforts of an experienced, refined swimmer can be derailed. When swimming workouts, especially without a coach present, it is easy to fall into bad habits. If not noticed and corrected early, stroke errors can become reinforced as they are repeated, stroke after stroke, leading to slower progress and potential injury. While stroke problems can be frustrating, and it is tempting to simply ignore them, and muscle your way through your workout, take time to analyze and identify them. Maintaining stroke quality is a must!

Once you have decided to make the commitment, and hold on to the mindset of personal dedication to your goals, you are ready to embark on an effective “Shape Up” swimming program.

Shape Up Strategy

The workouts in this book are neither random, nor generic. Each is part of a strategy designed to result in better physical fitness, conditioning and swimming capacity when done frequently and progressively, and over time. The Shape Up Strategy employed in this book is based on three key principles that are the core of this coaches’ training philosophy:

1.  Full body fitness requires full body training

Successful development of full body fitness comes from building strength, as well as endurance. Training one without the other only produces limited success. Because swimming, by nature, requires both strength and endurance, it is an excellent method to train full body fitness. When we do the repetitive action, resistance-based activity of swimming, our muscles require an increased supply of oxygen to exert and to keep working. The lungs have to build capacity to meet the demand of exchanging more new and used air. As more new oxygen is be drawn into the lungs, and carried through the bloodstream to the heart, the heart muscle also has to increase its pumping capacity, to supply new oxygen-rich blood to the muscles at work, and, to carry depleted blood away from the muscles. As this chain of systems adapts to the demands of exercise, fitness level rises. Working interdependently, these systems build capacity for increased workload and therefore potential results.

2.  Fitness develops in stages