Hypoxic Swimming Sample Sets

Hypoxic swimming is a technique used by swimmers to improve their tolerance of oxygen debt. While we haven’t discussed the topic much before, it is an important part of a swimmer’s training regimen. Mark discussed the use of a hypoxic # in freestyle sets a few months ago, so I’m going to talk about a few sample sets that will build your anaerobic capacity and improve the intensity of your workouts. The main goal with all of these sets is to use your body’s anaerobic energy systems. That means swimming at moderately high to high effort levels with limited breathing.

Sample Set #1 (moderate difficulty)

8×25 @ 60

Odds- Descend 1-4 Freestyle NO BREATH

Evens- Easy swimming


Use Zoomers® or Foil Monofin

Odds- Descend 1-4 Underwater Dolphin Kick NO BREATH

Evens- Easy swimming

Sample Set #2

4×100 @ 2:00 (or +:45 on your normal 100 interval)

#1 = 4 breaths each lap at 80% effort

#2 = 4/4/3/3 (breaths by 25) at 85% effort

#3 = 3/3/3/3 at 90% effort

#4 = 3/3/2/2 at 95% effort

Challenge Set (high difficulty)

10×50 LCM Underwater Dolphin Kick

No breath with Zoomers® or Foil Monofin @ 60

While you can specifically design a hypoxic training set, know that hypoxic work can also easily be weaved into your other parts of your workout. For example, you can limit the breathing you do on normal freestyle sets, or aim to go farther on your underwater breakouts off each wall. By challenging yourself hypoxically you will ultimately improve your swimming “engine”. You will be able to maximize your power and speed in the water.

- Paul