iSwim Workout Wednesdays - Maggie's Muscle Build

29 April 2020
James Magnussen

If you have access to a backyard pool or can still take a dip in the ocean, James Magnussen’s high intensity freestyle iSwim workout is designed to improve your speed, fitness and stroke efficiency.

Titled ‘Maggie’s Muscle Build’, the Olympian will guide you through the warm-up, main set and cool down, including demonstrating freestyle drills to improve your body position, catch and technique.

“Training for swimming doesn’t always have to be swimming laps in a pool for endless hours, this session is high intensity which will create variation and keep things interesting,” he explains in the video.

While the video depicts Magnussen in a 50m pool, these drills can be adapted to a backyard pool, or even tried in open water, and as always please the adjust the session to suit your own fitness level.


For beginners lightly swim up to 200m freestyle, or for those who are a bit more advanced, it can be up to 400m freestyle. This is all about loosening up the muscles and focussing on technique.

You can also pop fins on if you have them to keep it nice and easy.

Drill 1 – Body Position Kick:

Try and stay as horizontal in the water as possible, keeping your bottom nice and high.

Drill 2 – Sculling:

You want to keep your structure from the body position kick, but this time you’re moving your hands out in front to gain a feel for the water.

Drill 3 – Catch Drill:

Here you work on holding the water and initiating the freestyle catch which will flow through into your freestyle sprint technique.

Main set:

3 x 50m laps

  1. 25m sprinting freestyle, then swim through easy for the remaining 25m for your recovery
  2. 25m sprinting freestyle, then swim through easy for the remaining 25m for your recovery
  3. 50m full sprint

Repeat this set three times.

Warm down:

2 x 50m easy laps of either freestyle or backstroke – you can even pop your fins on again if you have them.

The video can be found in Swimming Australia’s free iSwim app. Simply download the app from the Apple or Andriod store, open the app and head to My Swims – Training – Plan.

Check out more Workout Wednesday sessions with Ironman Ali Day and Dolphin Jorden Merrilees.

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