Swimming is a low-impact, high-cardio workout that burns calories and tones muscles; incorporate these moves to kick your workout up a notch.
The weather is warming up, which makes it the perfect time to hit the pool for a workout. Whether you’re trying to focus on your legs, your arms, or your abs, there are plenty of different swim workouts that will strengthen your entire body.
High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a popular training style that you can incorporate it into your water workouts, too. It involves short bursts of timed exercise followed by shorter bursts of rest. “Since it’s difficult to monitor the clock while swimming, transfer the work period to a distance that you swim,” says Kim Franklin, USA Triathlon Level I certified coach, and ACE-certified personal trainer in Baltimore, Maryland. “For example, you might do an 8 x 50-yard set, wherein you go all out the first 25 yards, and then take it nice and easy for the second 25.”
“Jumpouts are a fun way to mix things up and add dry-land strength elements to your pool workout,” says Franklin. “The dynamic movement of getting out of the pool will provide added cardiovascular work and the exercise done on deck will strengthen joints and work new muscles.” Try doing sets where you alternate swimming 50 yards with getting out of the pool and doing a dry-land exercise. (Choose from a range of body-weight exercises, such as push-ups, squats, or crunches.) Start with five to eight repetitions and increase the reps as you become more fit.
If you enjoy being in the water, but don’t like to swim laps, try a water jogging workout. “Water jogging isn’t just rehab for runners,” says Franklin. “It’s a great workout for anyone and provides all the cardio you need without the hard impact on your joints.” Get your upper body and abs involved by wearing water webs on your hands to push and pull the water, or try holding aquatic dumbbells in your hands, Franklin suggests.
This swim workout move hits the hip flexors and transverse abdominals. In the shallow end, sit in an “L”-shape with your back straight and your legs 90 degrees in front of you. The kickboard should be under your arms in front of you, like a table-top. You can push it underwater and rest it on the legs. “You have to lean slightly forward from the hips, over the board, but keep your back long,” says Evans. “Then kick your legs. You are trying to kick the feet to the surface, and the kick will move you backwards down the pool. If you are doing it with good form, you will feel it right away.”