Workout of the Week: Swim Sevens

Dive into this swim workout, which is great for rookie swimmers and seasoned athletes alike.

female athlete swimming in pool
Photo: Shutterstock

OK, we know the Fast Talk Labs audience might not be used to seeing swim workouts, but we’re all about expanding and diversifying in 2023, which means diving into new sports (pun intended). This workout can be tailored to suit swimmers of all levels, whether you’re a seasoned pro who’s been swimming for decades or you’re totally new to the pool. In terms of equipment you’ll need a pull buoy and a watch (or pace clock on poolside).

Be sure to keep your warm-up smooth and easy, alternating between freestyle swim and pull, before hitting the prep set of 8 x 50, which includes just a little bit of faster-paced work to help warm you up and rev the engine.

The main set is a fun one that involves some variation in pacing and intensity, which is often the best way to keep your swim workout interesting as well as give you the best bang for your workout buck. Although the distance comes down (150, 75, 50, 25) each round, the number of reps stay the same, as does the pattern of intensity: You’ll swim the fourth and seventh rep at a harder effort (RPE 8-9/10) with all others at a lower intensity (RPE 5/10). For those looking to cover less distance, you can cut the first 7 x 150. Those looking to add volume can repeat the main set twice. You’ll follow the same rest pattern each time: take 10 seconds rest after the first rep, 15 seconds after the second, 20 seconds after the third, 10 seconds after the fourth, 15 seconds after the 5th, and 20 seconds after the 6th. After the seventh rep, grab a drink if you want/need it, regroup with your swim buddies (if swimming in a group), and then begin the next round.

Workout of the Week: Swim Sevens


400 as alternate 100 swim, 100 pull

Prep set

8 x 50 as: odds 25 fast, 25 easy; evens 25 easy, 25 fast

Main set

7 x 150 free

7 x 75 free

7 x 50 free 

7 x 25 free

Take 10, 15, 20, 10, 15, 20 seconds between the 7 swims each round

Make the 4th and 7th reps fast, RPE 8-9/10, all others easy aerobic pace, RPE 5/10


200 easy swim

Check out more tri-specific swim workouts from coach Ryan Bolton in Polarized Workouts for Triathletes.