Supercharge Your 400m IM with this Set

Improve Your 400m IM with this Set

Looking to improve your 400 IM? Here is a set that is designed to help you boost every facet of this challenging event.

In many ways, the 400m individual medley is the ultimate test of swimming ability.

You need to be well versed in all four stroke disciplines. You also have to have the patience to pace it properly, the endurance to finish strong, and the strength to swim each stroke at a high, unrelenting speed.

The event is, well, tough. Training for it? Even more so. Each day you show up to the pool trying to solidify your strengths while improving the weak strokes.

Bob Ruth, head coach of the Maclay Northside Dolphins recently shared with us this swim set that he used with one of age group swimmers (13 years old) with one purpose and one purpose only—to train the 400m individual medley.

The set will challenge you in a variety of ways. You will swim four 400 IM’s, do lots of kick, some work with swimming fins, along with stroke swim work.

Let’s get after this individual medley set and work those strokes!

How to Improve Your 400m Individual Medley

Here is Coach Ruth’s set. Some quick notes:

  • It’s to be completed as one, long set.
  • No breaks between the sets and reps outside of the prescribed intervals.
  • Extra 15-30 seconds before the 400 IM’s.
  • The set totals 3,600.

Here we go:

1 x 400 IM, smooth, effortless effort @ 6:00

4 x 100 free @ 1:15

4 x 25 freestyle kick @ 30

1 x 400 IM- glide @ 6:00

4 x 100 Butterfly stroke, fins @ 1:45

4 x 25 Kick fly, no fins @ 30

1 x 400 IM- glide @ 6:00

4 x 100 breast @ 1:45

4 x 25 (3 P, 3 K) Breast @ 30

1 x 400 IM- glide @ 6:00

4 x 100 back, Z’s-fins @ 1:40

4 x 25 Kick fly, no fins @ 30

A special thank you to Coach Ruth for sharing this set with us. You can stay up to date with the Dolphins online here.

More Stuff Like This:

Ryan Lochte’s “Brutal” IM Set. While training at the University of Florida under Gregg Troy Lochte did this set which included a series of descending 400 IM’s.

How to Improve Your 100m Butterfly. Bob Bowman, Michael Phelps’ longtime coach, shares two sets that he used to help Phelps develop that monster back half on his 100 butterfly.

Get Daily Tips on How to Swim Faster

Subscribe to the newsletter and get tips and advice on how to swim faster every weekday morning, straight to your inbox. 

Join 33,000+ swimmers, coaches, and swim parents learning what it takes to swim like a boss.

Unsubscribe anytime. Email will never be shared or sold.

Olivier Poirier-Leroy Olivier Poirier-Leroy is the founder of He is an author, former national level swimmer, two-time Olympic Trials qualifier, and swim coach.

Related Articles