Swim Training Set Of The Week: Training With Buckets

Jun 22, 2014; Santa Clara, CA, USA; Swimmer in warm up pool before the start of the preliminary heats at the George F. Haines International Aquatic Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports
Photo Courtesy: Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports

Swimming is always resourceful with equipment. Coaches find uses for everything from kickboards to tennis balls to improve their swimmers’ technique and training. This week’s Swim Training Set of the Week explores using buckets to maximize power, pull, and underwaters.

In order to complete this set, you first need the necessary materials. Purchase 5-gallon buckets from a home-improvement store (they’re fairly inexpensive), rubber tubing, and buckle straps. Drill 5-10 holes into the bottom of the buckets to allow water to pass through.The smaller the holes, the more you’ll need. Knot the rubber tubing onto the handle of the buckets. The tubing should be roughly 4-5 feet long, and should be connected to the buckle straps. Swimmers will strap the contraption around their waists and are set to train!

Bucket Set:

Before set: 4 x 25 off blocks with fast underwater to 15-meters 

Get 15-meter times and calculate average for each swimmer. 


4 x 50 Free with paddles and snorkels @ :15 rest

4 x 50 Free Distance Per Stroke Swim @ :15 rest

6 x 25 underwater to 15m Blasting legs @ :15 rest

After Round 2: 4 x 25 off blocks with fast underwater to 15-meters

Get 15-meter times and calculate average for each swimmer

There are a number of benefits to training with buckets. The resistance generated from the buckets helps build strength. For swimmers who don’t have an effective pull, drop their elbows on the catch, or don’t finish their strokes, the buckets will be a very formidable challenge to them. They’ll struggle moving through the water, but the buckets will magnify the need to make corrections. When they make the corrections, they will truly feel how much of a difference it makes.

The 50s in this set are not designed to be fast. They’re simply for working on the stroke and the pull. The resistance will increase strength and will leave them sore later on.

The underwaters with the buckets are akin to running with a weight vest. You’ll go slower with it on, but when you take it off, you can really zoom. Buckets will help increase underwater stamina, strength, and speed. It should be difficult to hit 15-meters with a bucket for average underwater kickers, but hitting that 15-meter target can help them become above average. Each underwater should be at maximum speed and effort.

The 4 x 25s at the beginning and end of the set are for coaches to compare underwater speed before and immediately after the set. The underwater times should be slightly faster at the end of the set from the resistance training. Doing this set periodically and recording results throughout the season is a great way to gauge any improvements on underwaters.

Interested in having your set used in Swimming World’s Training Set of the Week? Submit your set to the Swim Coaches Idea Exchange Group on Facebook or email it to edulaney@fuse.net. Be sure to include your team name and any comments or explanations for your set. 


    • Jeroen Dellebeke

      maar een keertje langs de Praxis dan 🙂

  1. Amy Foran

    Alex Timms

  2. avatar
    Coach R

    When doing these kind of reports/stories, pictures of the setup and gear are extremely helpful and add a lot to the content!

  3. Christopher Asiello

    We have been using buckets for a couple years