Fun and Purposeful Training Methods

From our ONESwim Research Lab

Quick Links to Swim-Specific Plans:

Upper Body

Lower Body





Join the #ONETrainSavage movement on Facebook and tag ONE Swim Products. Don’t forget to use the hashtag #ONETrainSavage!

#ONETrainSavage: Fun (for swimmers)
Kids want to be PUSHED. Put a parachute on a 11 year old and they say ‘this is like Army Ranger training’ and they love it. As coaches we often bristle at the notion that we should have to make practices ‘fun’ and if we are not careful, ‘swim games’ can be mere distractions with limited purposefulness (i.e waste precious swim time). As coaches ourselves, Train Savage is our never-ending approach to make swimming ‘Fun with Purpose’. The goal is that fun doesn’t have to be games and jokes and other distractions. Kids know they are at swim practice to get faster, better, and stronger. They don’t have to be ‘entertained’. We know that the kids that train with our ‘Train Savage’ method have fun and push their parents to help them not miss 1 practice.

#ONETrainSavage: Purposeful (for coaches)
The real key as coaches is that Train Savage must be ‘Purposeful’. Some ‘swim games’ can have the purpose of pushing effort and cardio systems and that can be great and useful in itself. But with Train Savage we will present plans to focus on swim-specific purposes.
Upper Body circuits (combining different ways to target swim-specific pulling muscle chains)
Lower Body Circuits (focusing on kick quality, technique, and power)
Resistance Circuits (how to swim ‘all out’ under resistance)
Dive Block Explosive Power Circuits (the muscle chain from arms, front leg, and back leg)
Off-the-Wall Explosive Power Circuits
Breast Kick Muscles and Technique Circuits
Cardio Circuits (ideally we combine cardio into all circuits whenever possible)
Turn Circuits (to push our intensity into and out of walls)

There are many purposes we are focusing on with our Train Savage program:

  1. Physiology (please download a free copy of Dave Salo’s book Sprint Salo and follow his Twitter account)
  2. Swim-specific muscle engagement (the proper kinetic order of muscle engagement for swim)
  3. Cardio improvements to the heart and cardiovascular system
  4. Technique (exposing swimmers to a range of equipment, methods, and situations will ultimately make the best changes to their technique than just doing/saying the same things over and over)

The Purposeful aspect of Train Savage is that we feel it is best if you stay focused on having a unified purpose to the things you are adding and building to your normal swim sets. To the swimmer, every push from a wall should have a purpose of course but as their coaches, every set component should equally have a purpose from a planning standpoint. ‘Train Savage’ is our attempt to help organize some of those purposes (upper body, lower body, dive explosions, etc…) into some samples to help get you started and as a home base for you to find updates and new ideas to constantly improve your program.

The Research Lab: For Coaches, By Coaches

A little about the owners of ONESwim and Reasons for Train Savage:

We coach every day. Our family has 6 swim coaches that are active daily, just like you. We own/operate our own swim team for all ages. We all have other jobs and none of us are full time coaches so we struggle to find the time off the deck to prepare and plan for our sessions, just like you. We are located in a very rural area of Georgia and swimming is a very new sport to our area, so we don’t have an infinite influx of new swimmers of all skills and body types. Like you, we are motivated to make the swimmers we have mold into the best swimmers and human beings we can help them to become.

A few of our groups train at our Research Lab, which is a 2 lane pool with a dryland area. These groups test all of our new products so we can get both the swimmers’ perspective and have the chance to study our new products as coaches for 1-2 years before we launch them. Our Research Lab is not new. It is not a gimmick for marketing, … it is not an ‘add-on’ idea for our ONESwim products… just the opposite in fact. We have been coaching in our local area since 2005. ONESwim.com is an extension of our efforts as self-taught coaches as a means to develop solutions for training better and more efficiently. In many cases this manifests itself as new products as you see on this website, but in other cases the best solutions are not products, but instead they involve unique training methods and approaches.

To be clear, our coaching philosophy is rooted in the methods of coaches like Dave Salo, David Marsh, Coley Stickels, and similar coaches that we have had the opportunity to study for many years. But so many of our favorite coaches are college and pro level coaches and that means their methods can be complicated to dial in for age group swimmers. Our Train Savage project is a way to share a lot of the details of how we train some of our groups. Most of these methods are for novice-to-advanced swimmers, with the concept of engaging swimmers so they are being ‘purposefully pushed’ to get stronger and faster is an approach we try to incorporate into all of our swim groups. Of course the newer the swimmer, the less creative you can be as they are not strong enough, coordinated enough, or have enough practice hours available to safely introduce the creative processes we present here. For newer swimmers we recommend you focus on the basics and for that we have our Training for Perfection, Drill Catalog and other resources available for your use.

For us, the more ‘#ONETrainSavage’ we add to our programs, the more the swimmers hunger for more diversity, harder things to do, and ways to push themselves. The first thing you will see is that they WANT to attend every possible practice. But their excitement to attend every practice has a flip side in the pressure you will feel to stay ahead of their mental, physical, and technical needs. So our best word of caution… once you start making practices more engaging and challenging, you will step on a treadmill that never lets up. It won’t mean a few new methods and changes to your sets. It will mean a never-ending pursuit for you to stay 6 months ahead of their needs because their excitement and engagement will push you to keep feeding their needs while you enjoy their constant improvements.