Pull Set for Swimmers

Pull-a-geddon: Try This Swim Workout to Develop a Stronger and More Powerful Pull

Ready to level up your pulling game in the water? Give this nasty workout that I did recently a go and send your pull to new heights.

It’s hard to find a swimmer who doesn’t love their pull buoy. The tricky thing about doing pull work is that we use our pull buoy as a bit of a crutch. With the added hip buoyancy our stroke feels great, but that doesn’t really help us out when it comes to swimming faster.

The swim workout below, that I did earlier this week, mixes some PB work with the hardest type of pull work in the pool, swimming with a rubber band around our ankles. The set mixes some distance per stroke swimming with a pull buoy, along with some high intensity pulling with that cursed, err, awesome ankle band.

The main goodness comes in the form of the 50s freestyle with a band loped around your ankles. Swimming with a band is tough, make no mistake, but it is awesome for you.

Ankle pulling reinforces a better early vertical forearm (otherwise your forward momentum stalls and ya sink), and encourages a higher hip position and face-down stroke (which will also help ya maintain momentum and keep your hips up).

Let’s be doing the pull-pull:


  • 400 swim mix + 300 pull + 200 kick + 100 double arm backstroke to open up chest


  • 6×150 pull desc. 1-3(x2) @2:30 for round 1; 2:15 for round 2


  • 500 pull strong cruise – focus on distance per stroke @1:30 base
  • 10×50 free w ankle band fast @1:15
  • 400 pull strong cruise – focus on distance per stroke @1:30 base
  • 8×50 free w ankle band fast @1:10
  • 300 pull strong cruise – focus on distance per stroke @1:30 base
  • 6×50 free w ankle band fast @1:05
  • 200 pull strong cruise – focus on distance per stroke @1:30 base
  • 4×50 free w ankle band fast @1:00
  • 100 pull strong cruise – focus on distance per stroke @1:30 base
  • 10×50 free w ankle band fast @1:15

Focus points:

  • Maintain a high hip position during the strong/fast ankle band 50’s. This means keeping your face pointed at the bottom of the pool.
  • No breaks between the 50s and the distance per stroke pull.
  • Finish strong on the last 10x50s.
  • No pull buoy on the 50s–just the ankle band. Yes, ouchies will ensue.


10×50 single arm backstroke @:15 rest


More Stuff Like This:

40 Workouts for Competitive Swimmers. Our mega-library of workouts and sets from Katie Ledecky, Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte, and many more. Whatever your flavor, we got some workouts for you.

Improve Your 100m Freestyle with this Epic Race Pace Set. Combine a deadly warm-up with race pace work with this workout designed to help you crush your 100m freestyle.

Cameron McEvoy: The Hardest Sets I’ve Ever Done. Like distance sets? Swimming until you can’t feel your shoulders? The hardest sets Australian freestyler Cameron McEvoy has ever done will push you further than you ever thought imaginable.

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

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