Learn The Workout Secrets To Ippei Watanabe’s 200 Breast World Record

While competing at the 2017 Kosuke Kitajima Cup, 19-year-old Japanese swimmer Ippei Watanabe cranked out a shiny new World Record in the men’s long course meters 200 breaststroke. Firing off a monster 2:06.67 at the Tatsumi International Swim Centre in Tokyo, Watanabe became the first man ever to score a sub-2:07 200 breast, easily overtaking the previous world record mark by .34 seconds.

To followers of the international swimming scene, Watanabe has steadily been making a name for himself in this event. He first set the World Junior Record at 2:09.75 in May of 2015 and spearheaded the field into the Rio Olympic final in a new Olympic Record mark of 2:07.22. Although the teen ultimately finished in 6th place overall in a slower 2:07.87 in Rio, there has been marked improvement for the potentially Tokyo 2020-bound superstar.

But to what can Watanabe attribute his World Record-setting time drops? According to his coach at Waseda University, Keisuke Okuno, who also coaches 200m butterfly Olympic silver medalist Masato Sakai, at least part of Watanabe’s success can be credited to his new lower body workout routine.

In an exclusive conversation with SwimSwam, Okuno detailed how Watanabe has been steadily improving his lower body strength and paying more attention to the kicking aspect of his technique. As a result, Watanabe feels he can use his body energy more efficiently now whenever his races, even with his new training regimen still in the development stages.

So what exactly is Watanabe’s new lower body routine? Okuno tells SwimSwam the World Record holder’s body undergoes a series of dryland exercises, which includes jump roping, squat jumps and the use of suspension trainer TRX, all combined with the goal of increasing leg strength. Below are some highlights of Watanabe’s workout:

  • Squat and dead lifts with weights (but not too heavy)
  • Jump roping for 7 minutes
  • Half squat jumps, 30 reps, 2x
  • Track jumps, 10 reps, 2x
  • TRX single dead lifts and single squats, 10 reps, 2x each
  • Bounding 20m
  • Knee up running using Tabata protocol

Try incorporating a few of these land-based skills into your next workout and see if it takes your breaststroke finesse to the next level.

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7 years ago

what is bounding 20m? thats new to me

Reply to  coach
7 years ago

coach – here’s a good video that explains bounding. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g2OTAoWR5zg

7 years ago

That gym workout is really what any amateur swimmer really does. This is no workout secret. The secret to 2.06 is his monster genetics and technique in the water.

7 years ago

While any world record is worth enormous admiration, this isn’t the dam buster that we have been expecting. Someone (cough Peaty cough) is going to turn this record inside out within the next couple of years. 2:04?

Reply to  Buster
7 years ago

I think Peaty carries to much muscle to take the 200m breast down to 2:04. All that muscle takes a lot of oxygen.

7 years ago

Like I said he is generating a superior propulsion because he has everything else we expect of a top swimmer ( technique / training / talent / environment) but in particular agile udon legs.

That is a nice legs workout for everyone btw . Very do able .

I once had thin legs but it took 5 months carrying a backpack 2000kms eating dehyddrated food ..Being in a continual state of glycogen deprivation is very zen . I also think this has a bit to do with Japanese athletes . That diet is minimal carbs.

Reply to  G.I.N.A
7 years ago

And then there’s Marco Koch.

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Retta Race

Former Masters swimmer and coach Loretta (Retta) thrives on a non-stop but productive schedule. Nowadays, that includes having just earned her MBA while working full-time in IT while owning French 75 Boutique while also providing swimming insight for BBC.

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