Strength/Power Routines

by Rich Abrahams, USMS SWIMMER Contributing Editor

Stair Hopping
"At my gym I have access to a 24-step flight of stairs," says Abrahams. His stair routine involves hopping up the stairs, two at a time, on one leg. He does 10 reps for time, alternating right and left legs five trips each. His best time is just over four minutes (as a point of comparison).

Timed Pushups
Do four sets of 10 pushups, timing yourself. Set one is 10 regular pushups. Set two is done with hands on a medicine ball. Set three is done with hands on a fit ball. Set four is done with feet on a fit ball. Abrahams' total best time is :54 seconds for the 40 pushups, including transition time between exercises. "No cheating on form," he urges.

Rowing Machine
Work on upper body and cardio simultaneously by doing 5x500 meters on a Concept II rower (or equivalent) on the 2:30. "I try to descend from 2:00 to under 1:40," Abrahams notes. "This puts you into true delirium."

Medicine Ball Wall Toss
Using a 10-pound medicine ball that bounces, toss it as high on a wall as possible for 10 times, allowing one bounce between tosses. The motion is like a set shot in basketball, trying to explode off the ground. Do three sets with about one minute between sets. "I try to average over 20 feet high for each toss," says Abrahams.

USMS SWIMMER Contributing Editor Rich Abrahams has developed several combined strength/power routines that have a strong cardio component, as discussed in the Training & Technique department, Sept./Oct. 2005.