swimmer using the FORM goggles for a guided workout

FORM's Workout Categories Explained

With a huge variety of workout categories and lengths, there’s options for everyone. We hope this blog helps you choose the perfect workout for your next swim!

Why are Categories Important?

Every workout is a little bit different, but many workouts share common goals and characteristics. Some swimmers may find more enjoyment from one type of workout compared to another. For your next swim, you might want to feel the burn in your arms after you finish, or maybe you want to leave the pool feeling refreshed and relaxed. Regardless of your mood and intent, you can easily find the perfect workout to match your mood and goals.

How to Mix and Match

In a given week, your body can only handle so many high-intensity sessions, so it’s good to mix it up. You can accomplish this by either taking rest days or swimming lower intensity workouts between more strenuous sessions. Doing this helps to get you ready to tackle the tougher sessions, making them more enjoyable and impactful. It’s also a good idea to mix in some workouts that focus on technique. They require a high degree of focus, but by slowing down and concentrating, you can improve much quicker. Not only does this make future swims more fun, but your improvements in stroke efficiency also mean that longer and faster swims will feel easier. And who doesn’t want that!?

screenshot showing category filter for workouts

FORM Definitions of Categories

In the FORM app, you can filter workouts by category (as well as size and intensity). Here are the six workout categories we have:

Recovery workouts are low-intensity sessions that don’t require much effort. These workouts promote recovery and prepare you for subsequent sessions. They’re also essential for resetting your muscles (on days falling between intense workouts) and are a great way to maintain your feel for the water. Recovery workouts are also a great choice when you need a lowkey session, and need something relaxing and enjoyable.

Endurance workouts are designed to improve your aerobic capacity by developing your cardiovascular system. This form of training is foundational and will give you the ability to maintain efficient and rhythmic swimming. An improved aerobic system improves both active and passive recovery from all forms of training. Because endurance workouts can range from leisurely to difficult, they’re great for everyday swims—on days when you need something more manageable and days when you're ready to take on a challenge.

Swimmer choosing a workout on the FORM App

Power workouts include repeated high-intensity interval swimming. These challenging sessions will help you build your tolerance to high effort swims. Power workouts tend to include sets that have longer intervals than sprint workouts and higher efforts than endurance workouts. Developing your power will help you maintain long, strong strokes while fighting fatigue. These workouts tend to put a lot of stress on the body, so mix things up with other workout styles and make sure you’re getting enough rest between hard sessions.

Sprint workouts focus on short, fast swims. This style will develop your maximum speed and strength. Sprint sessions will improve your ability to increase your arm speed, kick, and overall swimming speed. For shorter sprint workouts, your body will generally recover quickly, but pay attention to how you feel. If you wake up the morning after a sprint workout feeling fatigued, it might be time to take an easy or rest day.

swimmer putting on the FORM Goggles

Technique workouts focus on improving specific stroke elements. These sessions may be challenging, as they require attention to detail. This type of practice will develop your overall stroke efficiency, often using equipment or drills. Since you can recover from these workouts quickly, technique workouts can be used on some recovery days. As these workouts are generally much shorter than the other categories, you can easily add them onto other workouts when you want to swim a bit more.

Test set workouts are intended to be used to create reference points for yourself from time to time. These will allow you to gauge your performance and progress over time. You should aim to use these every 2-3 months, and in similar conditions each time. Each test set has a unique focus, so pick one that corresponds with your goals, whether that short interval speed or the ability to maintain pace over long swims.

swimmer preparing to swim a workout

Category Diversity

Within each category, you’ll find workouts of various sizes and intensities. For example, sprint workouts will tend to be shorter, while endurance workouts will tend to be longer. But, there are some longer sprint workouts over 3000m and some very short endurance workouts. This depends on the amount of rest given and the length of the intervals in the workout.

With all this newfound knowledge, hopefully you’ll feel more comfortable choosing your next workout with FORM. If you’re new to guided workouts, make sure to check out our blog explaining effort levels.