Training Set to Improve Early Vertical Forearm

I am still trying to settle into a full routine of training, which with Covid-19 has not been easy. On the other hand, swimming slower while using drills as you adjust to swimming faster is a great time to improve technique. I use this set a lot to develop the feel for early vertical forearm. The set is intended for immediate to experienced swimmers who generally have good form and want more power in their stroke.

Good body rotation and pulling with your strong back muscles (not the shoulders) is critical and helps prevent injury. Don’t force the pull, but gradually learn to engage a more efficient catch and pull. This drill/swim progression is designed to incorporate this important part of the stroke.

Repeat 4-8 times, moderate pace with fins with 10-15 seconds rest. Don’t rest between the drills/swims. Carry the continuity through the progression.


100 yards/meters 6-1-6 Drill

  • Rock side-to-side, kicking between 45-90 degrees

  • Achieve a good streamline from fingertips to toes

  • Focus on snapping hips at the entry phase of the stroke

  • Think about the catch as you stroke on the 1 cycle


100 yards/meters Catch-up Stroke

  • Continue the good rotation from the 6-1-6

  • Hold a good streamline while your recovery arm comes forward

  • As you engage the pull, concentrate on getting your hand underneath your elbow, pressing your hand down to the bottom of the pool

  • Feel the power of the stroke as push your hand backwards, with your stationary hand driving towards the wall of the pool

  • Kick strongly to help the forward drive

100 yards/meters Swim

  • Swim a full 100, focusing on the catch phase with early vertical forearm

  • Engage the core

  • Finish the stroke long and strong

  • Experiment with kicking rhythms -- 2-beat, 4-beat, crossover kick

Now work for speed

After you have run through the sets, swim 4 X 25 at a fast pace with 20 sec. rest, focusing on keeping a good early vertical forearm

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I’m just getting back into a regular pool practice routine. While I’ve had a few good swims in lakes over the last few months, inertia and a bum shoulder have taken their toll. My lack of muscle tone