Swim Smooth's DVD Boxset

Swim Stroke Rate Ramp Test

Swim Stroke Ramp TestI recently purchased the Finis Tempo Trainer Pro to try to get a handle on my optimum stroke rate for distance swimming in triathlons. To figure out my ideal stroke rate, I did ramp test by swimming 50 meters at increasingly higher stroke rates, and recording both my time and perceived effort after each lap. A detailed explanation of how to do your own ramp test is described in detail on the Swim Smooth blog here. In general, the idea is to find the sweet spot where you are swimming relatively quickly with relatively low, or at least sustainable, effort. I’ve charted the results of my first ramp test below. I think I’ll have to do a few of these tests to ensure its accuracy, however. I found that the whole test took about 50 minutes, and every lap wasn’t swum with ideal form. Some laps were better than others. In any event, it was a good starting point. According to my results, below, there is at least one sweet spot at 78 strokes per minute where my perceived effort is about the same as when I swim 72 strokes per minute, but my time dropped to 43 seconds. Unfortunately, in practice, I have found that its not really possible for me to sustain that stroke rate for longer distances, at least with my current level of fitness. Actually, doing 400 meter repeats, I found I could only comfortably hold about 63 strokes per minute, though I only paced myself on one day and it may have been an off day. My plan is to do a ramp test once a month and try to swim regularly with the tempo trainer to get better data, and of course to swim faster!

Stroke Rate Strokes per Length Lap (50m) Time Perceived Effort
60 47 :50 2
63 49 :50 2
66 47 :47 3
69 47 :45 4
72 51 :46 6
75 51 :44 6
78 55 :43 6
81 54 :41 7
84 54 :40 8

Swim Stroke Ramp Test

Buy the Finis Tempo Trainer Pro on Amazon

Xterra Training Plan

FREE Guide: The Ultimate Xterra Training Plan

  • 36 pages of workouts planned for you so you don’t have to waste time figuring out what to do.
  • Resources to help you swim faster, dial in your nutrition, and develop a strength training program

Get the Training Plan

Peter Prestley is an attorney living in the Northern Mariana Islands. In his spare time, he kitesurfs and competes in triathlons throughout the Pacific region, including the CNMI, Guam, Hawaii, and the Philippines. You can read his blog at TheTriGuy.com
No Comments

    Leave a Reply