Michael Phelps Describes Favorite Hard Set

In Michael Phelps‘ latest Facebook live post he discusses a wide range of topics while taking on questions from fans, one of which was ‘what is your favorite set?’. Phelps initially says his “favorite” set wouldn’t be good for him training-wise, as he enjoys easy swimming the most. However, he delves into his favorite ‘hard’ set, done when he was younger.

Phelps mentions that he did a lot of crazy sets when he was younger, and then discusses this one specifically. It goes something like this:

  • 4 x 25
  • 4 x 50
  • 4 x 75
  • 4 x 100
  • 4 x 125
  • 4 x 150
  • 4 x 175
  • 4 x 200

Once the 4 x 200’s are completed, you repeat them and go back down, doing the set in reverse order to end with the 4 x 25’s.

Phelps says during the first round of the set on the way up the pace times average from around 1:01-1:05 per 100 yards, and then the times get quicker coming down. He mentions the 4 x 50’s being on 28 or 29 and the final 4 x 25’s on about 14 seconds. The set totals 7200 yards.

Watch Phelps discuss it in the video below (he starts talking about it at the 13:30 mark):


In a previous Facebook live video Phelps discusses another set he has done more recently that brings the pain. 30 x 100 as 50 free (under 35 seconds), followed by getting out, hopping on the blocks and doing 50 fly looking to hold under 28 seconds. Each repeat is on 1:30.

Read about the set here (at #1) and watch Bob Bowman discuss it.


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Elliott James Metters
1 year ago

I tried this set and I am 11 years old and its pretty tough and later today I am going to do 2×400 IM all out. I am also a very big fan!!!!!!

5 years ago

shall i join u phelps

7 years ago

We did a similar set to the 100s. Our set:
50 meters with only 3 breaths on 35, get on the block and do a 50 all out on a minute. We did the whole thing 15 times.
Not quite Phelps but still hard none the less 🙂

7 years ago

Kids did 100x100m at a Christmas camp. Very tough set.

Reply to  rob
7 years ago


7 years ago

ODAC – Coach Bill Peak’s hardest hell week set. We got to look forward to this set every year!

20 x 400 yard IM
1st 5 on 6:00 min interval
2nd 5 on 5:30
3rd 5 on 5:00
4th 5 on 4:30

Reply to  [email protected]
7 years ago

Oh……………………..on the 4th…..I bet even you fail….

7 years ago

for which stroke? freestyle?

7 years ago

Forget the nonsense about training sets, the most striking part of the video is how calm, comfortable and grounded Phelps seems. I imagine he is going to have a very successful final olympics.

7 years ago

@cbswims cool story bro.

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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