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Should I do say 30 push-ups in a row (maybe 3 sets with 30 sec pause in between) or should I do 4-5 sets of 10 spread across the day when I want strength in my arm?

My main focus is tennis and swimming, not to build muscle!

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    If you're performing hundreds, spreading it across the day makes more sense. For anything less than 50, I wouldn't recommend spacing it to more than 2 sets a day. May 27 '15 at 19:15
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Whether your goal is to gain muscle, strength, or endurance, it is always better to do your exercises together (with short breaks between sets) than spaced throughout the day.

In general, 3 sets of one exercise won't actually give you any noticeable changes in strength or endurance. You need to do more. You can try adding some exercises that would help your swimming stroke such as the Plank Row, Kettle Bell Swing, and Medicine Ball Pushup, too. Alternatively, This Site also has quite a few good exercises for arms, directed more towards swimming - most of which would be transferable to tennis as well. A good 4-5 exercises per workout for 3-4 sets would be ideal.

But in your case, your best bet is to also do more swimming. If your goal is ultimately strength in your arms for swimming, then just do a lot of it! Swimming is a great workout for your entire body, including your arms.

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  • my big problem is "time"... during week days I have 40 minutes/day to swim... I run from 6am to 8, work from 8 to 11:30, swim+lunch till 1:30pm, work till 5,tennis till 7, class till 10! In weekends I have more time, but i'm usually too tired to "push it", disregarding the fact that I probably drank my liver to cirrhosis till 3am...
    – Leonardo
    May 27 '15 at 20:20
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    Well it sounds like you are already devoting a lot of time to your exercises. Maybe you should look into better using your time? For example, try pushing it a bit more by running the same distance as you normally do in 2 hours in 1.5 hours (so upping the intensity) and then spending the remaining 30 minutes on strength exercises.
    – Steven
    May 27 '15 at 20:28
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    You can also consider alternating days for strength training and cardio in your mornings. For example, three days a week you do 1 hour of each instead of 2 hours of running.
    – Steven
    May 27 '15 at 20:58

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