Training for your beach lifeguard

Training sessions:

There is a lot of swimming involved when on the Beach lifeguard Course so preparing yourself for it is essential! But also to remember if your not fit enough when working as a beach lifeguard, you will not be efficient in the rescues you may need to make. Potentially putting your own life  in danger.

Below you will find 2 training sessions, one for the weaker swimmer who has a few weeks to train before their course the second is for the stronger swimmer who has that bit less time.

Training plan 1

This programme should be followed for 4 weeks working on swimming 2-3 times a week (or more if possible).  Make sure you test your time at the start of the programme and keep a record of your progress.  You may do each segment on its own or add them all together in one session depending on your fitness level and ability.

It is important to warm up beforehand with around 3-5min very easy swim, and cool down at the end of the session with a different stroke to that used in the working sets e.g. sidestroke. NB – the number of lengths indicated assumes a 25m pool

Week 1  16 x 25m    Swim one length, rest 10-20 seconds, repeat 15 more times.

Week 2  8 x 50m
Swim two lengths, rest 10-20 seconds, repeat 7 more times.
Practice touch turns and push and glides at the end of each length. The quicker you can turn around and start again, the less time wasted.

Week 3 100m, 200m, 100m
Swim 4 lengths, rest 10 seconds
Swim 8 lengths, rest 10 seconds
Swim 4 lengths

Week 4  2 x 50m, rest 10-20 seconds
100m, rest 10-20 seconds
2 x 50m, rest 10-20 seconds
100m, rest 10-20 seconds

Rest periods should be tailored to fitness levels. If you are finding it too hard, take more time to rest, but not too long! If it is too easy then decrease rest periods. Remember don’t do it all on your first go. Aim to build up sessions each week.

Training plan 2 

  •  You may not achieve this straight away but do try and aim for it!
  • When your able to successfully complete the program it does not mean you are finished it just means you will have to up the ante!
  • If the plan is totally out of your depth, don’t despair contact Atlantic Coast Lifeguards for a personal training plan, also if you are able to complete it we will prepare something more advanced for you.

Day 1: Distance>

First you need some distance in your arms and legs start by doing 6 sets of 8 lengths  resting 2min between sets, finish with a cool down swim of rescue stroke for 10 lengths

Day 2: Sprints>

You need to start getting 2 lengths under the min aim for 2 in 55sec then rest for 35sec, do this for 10 sets, rest 6min and go again, finish with a cool down swim of rescue stroke for 10 lengths

Day 3: 16 lengths >sets

Push yourself and complete 16, without timing yourself but without stopping. rest 4min and do it again rest 6min and go again

Here is some hints, and tips >

  1. With your breathing, make sure you are exhaling all out under the water and only inhaling when your head comes out. Also take normal breaths, not deep ones, then exhale slowly, and repeat. Breath as much as you like as this helps get oxygenated blood around the body which in turn makes it work better. After time you will get into a rhythm and set breathing on so many strokes.
  2. Now with your stroke, make sure you are using it effectively, count your stokes, make sure you have the same amount every length, you are aiming for maximum 10right arm pulls each length.(if a 25 metre pool)
  3. With Your legs, your legs are not there to move you forward, your arms do this, your legs are there to keep your body afloat and streamlined, kick enough to just break water and not splash it, kicking from hips, toes pretty much hiiting off each other as they move up and down. Most people kick way to much and incorrectly which makes you more tired and less energy efficent.
  4. Lastly make sure your push off the wall is effective and you are getting at least 5 meters, get used to it, practice it, use both legs like a spring, arms in front pointed, head tucked tight into arms, then when you are ready to take a stroke always use the same arm first so its habit.(never use breast stroke arms at the end of the push and glide.
  5. Always use your front crawl only as this is the fastest stroke and will be used on the course.
  6. Pools have lines along the bottom for a reason – it’s the most direct route along the pool! Make sure you wear goggles and swim with your face in the water so you can follow the line and keep straight.
  7. If you’re going to be a lifeguard you need to be at one with the water. This doesn’t just mean swimming through it. Practice floating in different positions, diving down, doing handstands, rolling your body from front to back… It may seem silly, but doing these things will firstly break up your training sessions and secondly provide you with many fundamental skills which will not only be useful for other aspects of your lifeguard training, but also have a direct improvement on your swimming.
  8. The second stroke is the rescue stroke, which will also be used on course this is for carrying your casualty
  9. An all round helpfull website for helping you train in swimming is
  10. Its not all about swimming, general fitness and nutrition is a must, get out there for a run/cycle/surf and eat what your body needs to develope