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Powerlifting and a 10k Swim


I was wondering if anyone here has any experience of concurrent training in both powerlifting and 10k open water swimming?

I’m trying to come up with a suitable training plan using Alex Viadas hybrid training and Mike Tuscherers RTS system.

I’ve searched around online but can’t seem to find any article or blog where someone has attempted this.

Any help or advice on this subject would be greatly appreciated.


How much time apart are the comps?

I don’t have any competitions planned yet. But for argument sake lets assume that the swim and the meet are 2-3 weeks apart.

Fair enough. Well, it really depends on how competitive you are - eilite in either would cause the focus to sway one way or the other. People always tend to give grief by saying sruff luke “well if you want to be mediocre in both then do both.” But unless you’re in the upper echelon of athletes you’re mediocre anyways, you just happen to be mediocre at one thing and bad at a bunch.

I ran a half marathon while running the 531 building the monolith program and was fine since my goals were modest in both. I tried to mitigate total stress by focusing on shorter conditioning sessions. They got me in cardiovascular shape and didn’t wear me down like running long distances would have; i think swimming would be similar though there is additional shoulder stress you would need to factor in.

So be realistic and just suck at both.

Alex Viada supposedly has some useful advice for this kind of thing, but if he can’t help you then nobody can.

Lift twice a week, swim three to four and accept that you won’t do as well at either if you just focussed on the one - as common sense would dictate.

Basically yes. I mean, unless you’re aiming to break world records you suck anyway by default, so may as well enjoy your training. & being well-rounded is itself a goal.

EDIT: I’m being a bit hyperbolic in the first sentence, but you get it.

Thanks for the replies.

I’m thinking the hardest thing will be trying to lift heavy whilst swimming high volumes, hence why I was thinking about applying RTS to the lifting part of my program. I should add at this point that I work shifts that change from week to week hence even more reason why I’m thinking about trying to use the RTS method.

The swimming part I will have to follow a set out program as I have no experience of long distance swimming.

The basic template I was thinking of involves trying to limit how often I lift and swim on the same days.

So basically something like this:

Day 1
Squat Variation
Pull Up

Day 2

Day 3
Fitness Swim

Day 4
Bench variation
Swim - drill sets (low intensity)

Day 5
Long Swim

Day 6
Row Variation

I’ve taken direct shoulder work out, as I reckon there’s enough shoulder work with all the swimming. I might also be content with taking out the pull ups and rows. It depends how hard the swimming is.

I think the Bench and Squat variations should be light as it might be too much to lift heavy twice a week.

Anyway, if you guys want to critique that or have any suggestions that would be great.

I think you are severely underestimating how difficult a 10k open water swim is. Have you ever swam 1k in open water?

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So why bother competing?

Why do you want to do this?

You can’t effectively peak for one competition while simultaneously training for another with totally conflicting requirements. It would make more sense if they were six months apart.

Good question. I think if you asked a thousand people you’d get a thousand answers. Since I can only answer for me, the thrill of competition and a metric to guage improvement.


I once did a 250km bike ride followed by a meet 3 weeks later.

Did i win either? No.
Was I going to win either before? No.
Were they my best performances? No but not that far off (I hasn’t done that big a ride before though)
Were both great experiences? Yes.

To answer s few questions asked:

No I have no open water experience, however I am lucky enough to live about an hour from the Scottish Highlands where there are plenty of open water events of varying lengths over the summer so I can get experience of the cold etc.

Why do I want to do this? I am aware that I’m not going to dominate in either endeavour. That’s not what this is about. I enjoy swimming and I enjoy lifting. I see this as an opportunity to set myself a difficult (yet I believe achievable) challenge. If I can complete a 10k swim and then a few weeks later set a new PR in my lifts, even if it was only 2.5kg in bench or 5kg on my squat and deadlift I would be happy. Sure in any other context those numbers suck, but not when you are also concurrently training for a full body endurance event.

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Well good luck buddy. Its good to set these high reaching goals!

My advice is go for an open water swim. I’m from Australia and have done quite a lot of beach swimming out to islands and also river mouth swimming and it is entirely different to swimming in a pool. The currents and the waves (even small ones) make breathing very difficult, you will also have the low temperatures getting to you as you will be in the water for several hours.

Also another hurdle that you may or may not have to face is the fact you are in open water, I have had many mates stress out once they are a couple hundred metres from the shore and they can’t see the bottom. It may be more of an aussie thing due to sharks but it can be quite daunting to overcome.

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I say go for it. Why can’t you have a good amount of aerobic capacity and strength? Are you really going to become world class at either?

If you chase two rabbits at the same time both will escape.

That’s a loser mentality. Why even try when you might not succeed?