david_barradavid_barra NYCharter Member
edited March 2012 in General Discussion
Anyone else find butterfly as useful training for their big swims?
I enjoy a heavy dose of fly in my workouts, but due to the rather narrow lanes (6'... thats under 2 meters to the rest of the world) at my regular pool, I usually opt for all (or 90%) freestyle when I have a lane mate or two.

I find I can get the most bang for my buck during shorter pool sessions, and I don't suffer from any shoulder pain, which seems to be the biggest complaint from most people... and seems to be the reason most masters swimmers beg out of fly.

If there is any interest, lets use this thread to share fly-based practices, and advice.

...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.


  • rosemarymintrosemarymint Charleston, SCCharter Member
    edited March 2012
    I love fly and find my stroke doesn't fully warm up in the pool until I've done a few drill sets involving either full-out fly or one-armed drills. Mostly I do these sets as drill fly to ease up on the shoulder pressure and rarely do a full stroke more than twice a week.

    I have several 500-1000 drill sets that are either fly/back/free or IM drills. I usually drop about 10secs/100m after I've done the sets.

    First one is 10x50 -odds are fly/free, evens are back/free. The free in both sets are hypoxic 3 to hypoxic 5, all with a 5sec rest. Sometimes I do this as 20x50 depending on my total workout distance that day.

    Second is 10x75 IM. Straightforward (fly/back/breast - free/fly/back, etc)

    Third is 8x200s- stroke first 25 per lap/free second 25 per lap. I greatly dislike breaststroke so I tend to do this as odd sets fly and even sets back.

    The point in all of these is to build up to some amount of fly, but not too much. I only do about 100m per session of all-our fly just to protect my shoulders (I've had reconstructive surgery already and don't care to have it again.)

  • david_barradavid_barra NYCharter Member
    edited March 2012
    Not a fly workout... but part of Friday's main set for the Gunks masters was a cross-fit inspired sprint/push-up session.
    12x 100 as:
    3x (50easy + 10 push-ups + 50sprint)
    3x (50sprint + 10 push-ups + 50easy)
    3x (50fly + 10 push-ups + 50free)
    3x (25ez/25sprint + 10 push-ups + 25sprint/25ez)

    now... the water surface at the deep end at our pool is about 18" below the deck and so to exit gracefully for each round of p'ups requires a powerful mantle.

    ...soreness prevails (the 46 degree water at Brighton Beach was therapeutic)

    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited March 2015
    Here's another blast-from-the-past thread.

    I've never been much of a Fly-er, but I recently watched this video from the Race Club and coach Gary Hall on the "butterfly skate drill." I love this drill! Maybe you will too.
  • gregocgregoc Charter Member
    edited March 2015

    Anyone else find butterfly as useful training for their big swims?

    Short answer, no. Long answer, no.
  • Cole_GCole_G PhiladelphiaMember
    Haha I love your answer gregoc.

    I still incorporate fly and IM into my training, though I can't really comment on how useful I find it. I started to incorporate it back into my workouts more as a motivational tool than anything. I found I was having difficulty keeping myself motivated since I am training alone and trying to put in more yardage than I ever have before. Os I found that reverting to a practice scheme similar to what I had known with my club team (where Mondays were IM day) has helped me keep up with my training better.

    I suppose once SCAR rolls around I might better be able to asses how useful the addition of fly really has been.
  • dpm50dpm50 PA, U.S.Senior Member
    Yeah, Greg's answer certainly is a popular one--seven likes and no doubt counting! :)

    Other strokes: They're on my "should" list (I will try a breaststroke event occasionally at swim meets, and once even ventured into a 100 IM... video of that should NEVER surface--only out of care for my fellow human beings). ;)

    That said, I do like sometimes to alternate front and back kick sets. And if no one's looking, I'll try fly from time to time. ;)
  • NiccNicc TennesseeMember
    Once upon a time, back when I was a wee teen, I really enjoyed fly. I swam IM and 100 fly, plus the fly leg of a medley relay. It felt powerful, it made me feel strong, and it lived up to the name--I felt like I was flying across the water in that stroke.

    Not so much when I try it these days.

    But I do still regularly throw in at least a little bit of fly to my workouts. I also kind of feel like it's a good way of upping the intensity of a shorter swim (that's how it feels, anyway) but mostly I have to admit I'm chasing that old joy I used to find in the stroke. I think I'm getting closer. I have my moments with it these days, just not ever an entire length of the pool.
  • msathletemsathlete Victoria, British Colubia, CanadaGuest
    I do as much fly as I can during the training season. I find it helpful for building power quickly. It's also a great confidence builder, at least for me.

    Every year about 1/3 of the way into the season I do a set of 100 x 100 IM - the main rule being no single arm fly. And whenever my club does 25s or 50s I swim fly. If a set requires me to get my heart rate up I swim fly. My freestyle has become so even and easy paced that I find it near impossible to get my heart rate where a fly set does.
  • SpacemanspiffSpacemanspiff Dallas, TexasSenior Member
    March is Fly Month in Dallas Masters. I hate March. Today's beatdown:

    2x200 Pull @ 3:00
    8x50 (first 25 fly, second free) @ 1:00
    2x200 Pull @ 3:00
    10x50 (first 25 free, second fly) @ 1:00
    2x200 Pull @ 3:00
    12x50 (odds fly, evens free) @ 1:00

    I slipped on my fins half-way through the final fly set. I couldn't take it anymore. My shoulders were like noodles. 50M is a long way to fly.

    "Lights go out and I can't be saved Tides that I tried to swim against Have brought be down upon my knees Oh I beg, I beg and plead..."

  • mjstaplesmjstaples Atlanta, GA, USMember

    I use fly as a mental endurance test. I have done a few 50x100 IMs just to see if I can push past the barrier in my head.

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