For those who are curious, the progression I swam to build my one arm swimming strength is below:
4x100 - 25 R, 25 L repeat; 4x50 - 25 R, 25 L; RI :10
2x100 - 50 R, 50 L; 3x100 - 25 R, 25 L repeat; 4x50 - 25 R 25 L; RI :10
3x100 - 50 R, 50 L; 3x100 - 25 R, 25 L repeat; 4x50 - 25 R 25 L; RI :10
4x100 - 50 R, 50 L; 4x100 - 25 R, 25 L repeat; 4x50 - 25 R 25 L; RI :10
2x150 - 75 R, 75 L; 3x100 - 50 R, 50 L; 4x100 - 25 R, 25L repeat; 4x50 - 25 R, 25 L; RI :10
2x150 - 75 R, 75 L build 25s; 3x100 - 50 R, 50 L neg split 50s; 4x100 - 25 R, 25 L; 4x50 - 25 R, 25L; RI :10
2x150 - 75 R, 75 L build 25s; 2x150 - 75 R, 75 L mod; 3x100 - 50 R 50 L mod; 4x50 - 25 R, 25 L; RI :10
3x( 150 build 25s, 150 mod); 3x100 neg split; RI :10
2x200 - 100 R, 100 L; 2x150 - 75 R, 75 L; 2x100 - 50 R, 50 L; RI :10
3x200 - 100 R, 100 L; 3x150 - 75 R, 75 L; 3x100 - 50 R, 50 L; RI :10
2x300 - 150 R, 150 L; 2x100 - 50 R, 50 L; 4x50 - 25 R, 25 L; RI :10
1x400 - 200 R, 200 L; 2x100 - 50 R, 50 L; 2x100 - 25 R, 25 L repeat; 4x50 - 25 R, 25 L; RI :10
10x100 - 50 R, 50 L; RI :10
1x400 - 200 R, 200 L; 1x300 - 150 R, 150 L; 1x200 - 100 R, 100 L, 1x100 - 50 R, 50 L; RI :10
1. The net distance on the entire set is about 1000-1200 yards/meters. Total time to finish this workout is probably about 30-45 minutes depending on what I did after the main set.
2. I swim this workout on a 25 yard pool.
3. I started in the offseason and swam this workout 2X/week. It allowed me to focus on one arm swimming strength alone.
4. I would warm up with 400 EZ swimming, then jump into this workout.
5. I did this workout with fins, to give my body an extra push and not let me wallow in the middle of a lane when I got tired.
6. Following this workout, I would either do sprints of 50s, or pull with paddles and do 25 EZ/25 sprint alternating for about 200y. At the later stages, I would sometimes just cool down after the main set because my muscles were too tired. I did not attempt to force my tired muscles to do anything else afterwards, as I considered this a strength only workout and didn't tie in any other elements like endurance. I would focus on that during other workouts in the week.
7. The stress on my muscles was quite high, especially after I crossed the 200y mark of 100 right arm, 100 left arm. At the same time, I started into the base phase of my training too. That's when I started doing this workout once a week, and swimming normal Masters workouts another 2X during the week.
8. When you're one arm swimming, you can really focus your attention on the stroke and pull of each arm. I really put my attention on each and every stroke, and try to make each one the perfect stroke and be able to repeat it through the entire set. What's the perfect stroke for me:
a. Body form - Keeping as straight as a needle. I try not to let my flutter kick ruin my body straightness. I lay on one side and don't let my body sway or rock. I relax and think that I am a log just floating on the water and just paddling the log.
b. Head position - I keep it aligned with my body. I don't lift it up during any part of the stroke (another thing I found out I was doing!) but keep it in one place. I put my cheek against my bicep to maintain form and also close up the gap between my face and arm to prevent a possible place where drag from water can occur. I had to experiment with how deep my head was in order to keep my hips from dropping lower. With my body composition, I believe that my head is actually lower than many instructors might want it. But I also try to keep my forehead slightly up to cut through the water better, versus having the water barrel over my dipped head and create drag.
c. As my stroke enters the water, I try for the most quiet, non-bubble creating entry into the water. I am most successful with my right arm, not so good with my left arm. It has been talked about in other literature that creating bubbles wastes energy, and also is evidence of a messy, energy-using entry into the water. I try for perfect entry every time.
d. The moment it enters the water, I extend fully and almost immediately catch. The catch is when I bend my hand downward to "grab" water. Following next is my forearm bend to catch even more water, but as my forearm sweeps down, I also feel the actually stroke begin to work. I make sure that I bend ONLY at the elbow and keep my upper arm high. I don't let the entire arm drop down deep into the water. This is evidence of getting tired and also will create more drag as the deep water presses against the arm.
e. I keep my elbow high as I pull back the arm, down the length of my body. I try to keep the elbow skating along the surface of the water, or perhaps less than an inch under the surface as I move my arm/hand back against the water.
f. I try to keep the stroke strong through the entire length of the stroke. In the past, I discovered that my stroke would always start strong, but then fizzle out towards the end. So I focus on using my big lat muscles to pull back and not my shoulders, which are small and would get strained. As my hand/arm passes my shoulder and towards my hip, I start thinking about using my tricep to sweep the water back behind me with the final extension of the hand. This is where I had the most problems, where I was losing energy at the end of the stroke and was just letting my hand just drift backward and not using energy to get that extra push at the end.
g. I focus on keeping the hand/arm pressing straight back against the water, and putting 100% of the backward force into exactly forward motion. In the past, my arm was drifting up and down, and even moving backward in a circle when it started getting tired. Your tired arm will start to move around in order to find the place of least resistance to move backward; this is bad! It needs to push against the area of resistance that creates 100% forward motion. I focused on making every stroke put 100% of my energy into going forward EVERY TIME.
h. The only thing missing from this type of workout is the addition of your hip roll into the force of the stroke. I only lay on my side swimming and don't attempt to add my hip roll to give extra oomph. I focus on arm only and do not rock my body at all. I work on adding my hip roll during normal swimming.
9. It's OK to repeat workouts until you master it from a muscle standpoint.
10. I found this workout to be extremely demanding on my swim muscles. I need adequate recovery afterwards, which is at least a day in between until my next swim workout.