Workout For The Individual Medley

Workout For The Individual Medley

For swimmers of every level, the Individual Medley is one of the toughest types of race to excel in because of its fast paced, quick-changing nature. In order to be successful at the IM, you'll need to be comfortable with all four strokes -- the freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, and butterfly -- and should be particularly strong in at least two of them. You'll also need to have excellent endurance as the races, especially the 400 IM, are physically demanding. However, have no fear, CoachUp is here! We've procured some of the best Individual Medley workouts around for you to use the next time you hit the pool! The following swimming workout is not an easy one, but it'll help you work on your IM goals by focusing on both your stroke technique and overall endurance.

Warm-Up In this portion of the workout, just focus on warming up your muscles and adjusting to each of the strokes. There are no time intervals for this part, so make sure you're readying your body ready rather than using up your speed. Just as it is in any sport, it's so crucially important to properly warm yourself before intense, demanding activity. You wouldn't try to start a car that sat in the snow all night by going from 0 to 60 immediately, right? No, and the same applies here -- gently warm up, get the blood flowing, and put your mind in the right place!

  • 200 Freestyle
  • 200 Kick
  • 200 IM
  • 200 Freestyle
  • 100 Kick
  • 100 Choice

Pre-set For this section of the workout, focus on drills to improve your technique in each of the four strokes while raising your heart rate so that you're prepared for the main set. Much of the success behind a good swimmer is their mental fortitude, so continuously crushing the warm-up and pre-set are small things that can make your race. Many swimmers go through the motions during their pre-race routines and thus don't mentally prepare well-enough for the real thing -- don't be that person!  

  • 4X100 -- 1 of each stroke, 25 kick, 25 swim, 25 drill, 25 swim @2:00
  • 4X100 -- IM, descend slow to fast @1:45
  • 4X50 -- Build speed within each 50, one of each stroke @1:00
  • 4X100 -- IM, descend slow to fast @1:45

Main Set Obviously, this is the toughest portion of the workout, but it's ultimately what every swimmer must do in order to improve. Along with mental toughness and desire, the actual physical qualities of an Individual Medley swimmer are off the charts as well. For those just starting out, push yourself as far and hard as you can go before stopping, each time going a little bit further than the last. It's important to elevate your heart rate and work your muscles hard during this set to build endurance. In doing so, you'll eventually ensure your success in the pool. *

  • 3X200 -- IM descend slow to fast @3:15
  • 4X100 -- Fast, one of each stroke @1:45  
  • 3X200 -- IM descend slow to fast @3:05
  • 4X100 -- Fast, one of each stroke @1:40
  • 1X400 -- IM for time

Cool Down

After straining your muscles and testing your endurance, make sure that you prevent injury by cooling down. This will help your muscles slow down at a speed less than a sudden stop, which goes a long way towards getting you fully ready and healthy to hop in the pool next time. Swim this final portion of the set nice and easy -- there is no time, there is no race, just you making sure your body ends the workout in a comfortable place.

  • 200 Freestyle
  • 100 Backstroke
  • 200 Choice

(Related: Read about an advanced workout once you've graduated from this one here.)

Huddle Up

The Individual Medley is a difficult to learn and nearly impossible to master. Those who do master it often go on to do great things in their respective swimming lanes -- so why shouldn't you be the next one? Focus, determination, and a flair for switching it up on-the-fly are all absolutely necessary traits in a successful IM swimmer. If the Individual Medley interests you, but you're having trouble with something, whether it's your endurance, the swapping of the the strokes, or overall technique, then consider booking one of CoachUp's private trainers to help you out. Our advanced team has been hanging out in pools for most of their lives, so they'll have you racing better in no time. What are you waiting for?

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