Swimming is one of the best ways to work your entire body and your cardiovascular system. Therefore, incorporating swim workouts into your daily routine could be a great start for a fitness regime.
Experts usually recommend adults to get 150 minutes of moderate activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity each week. Water gives your muscles the built-in resistance to fight and keep moving while doing freestyle swimming or straight-up walking through the water.
Benefits of Swim Workouts
There are a host of benefits that you can get from practicing swim exercises regularly. Some of which are:
• Swim workouts increase the heart rate without stressing the body, tone the muscles, build strength and endurance. Swimming truly works on your entire body head to toe.
• When you stroke during the swim exercises, you use your muscles to move your body through the water, and various swimming strokes like the breaststroke, sidestroke, and backstroke help differently. Each focuses on different groups of muscles.
• The breathing exercises associated with swim workouts like holding your breath help in expanding your lung capacity and control your breathing.
• It is beneficial for people with multiple sclerosis, arthritis, injuries, or other conditions. Water provides gentle resistance to the limbs and makes them buoyant.
• Swimming is a great sport for kids. It is a fun activity and doesn’t necessarily feel like a formal workout.
• Swim workouts are great for burning calories depending on the muscle used. It is an excellent way to get into shape. It burns calories without putting too much of a strain on your joints.
Swim workouts are very important before you dive right into the water. It builds muscles, develops cardiorespiratory fitness, and helps in burning calories. Structured swim workouts are perfect for both beginners as well as seasoned swimmers. It strengthens the swimmers before the race day.
Here are some wonderful swim workouts that will help you before getting into the pool.
1. Water Crunches
Water crunches are a great way of working your stomach muscles while reducing stress and helping with movement. One can do these crunches in any depth of water and the intensity can be increased by performing the exercise without a noodle.
How to do it:
- Start by floating horizontally on water, on your back using a noodle to help flotation.
- Draw your hips up towards the ceiling and lay your head back in the water with your eyes towards the ceiling.
- Now using your core, bring your head and shoulders forward simultaneously, and knees to your chest.
- Once it reaches a crunched position, lower your knees and shoulders to finish in an extended position, floating on your back, just like you started.
2. Water Running
It is also known as aqua jogging. This is one of the swim workouts that give the high-intensity cardio aspect of running without the pushing impact of striking on a hard surface. You can run through the water just as you would do outdoors only with slight tweaks on proper form.
How to do it:
- Start by jogging in shallow water around the height of your waist.
- Lengthen your spine and try to move by putting pressure on your heels first and then on your toes.
- Engage your core.
- Continue this for 5 to 10 minutes.
3. Kick Drills
Kick drills swim workouts are dynamic exercises that make your core, low back, and legs strong. You can use ankle weights to make it more challenging.
How to do it:
- Hold onto a kickboard or a pool ledge and flutter kick your legs.
- Now, scissor-kick your legs open and closed.
- Do a breaststroke kick with your legs followed by the dolphin kicks.
- Do each kick for 2 to 4 minutes.
4. Pool Planks
Pool planks are proven to strengthen the core. Planks swim workouts boost endurance by posing as a challenge for your abdomen and lower body muscles.
How to do it:
- First, you need to stand on the pool floor.
- Hold a “waterlog” (also called a “noodle,” a long cylindrical piece of foam that floats) vertically with both hands.
- Now, crescent down into the water and lean forward until the body is on an even incline.
- Make sure to keep your head out of the water.
- Try to keep yourself stable for 1 to 2 minutes.
5. One-Legged Balance
This workout strengthens the leg and core muscles. In this workout, balancing plays a very important role. The core has to kick in to keep you upright while increasing your static balance.
How to do it:
- Firstly, stand in waist-high water.
- Now lift your left knee and place the middle of a water log under your left foot. as you take the position, its sides will float up into a U-shape.
- Keep your hands by your side and try to balance with your left foot on the water log for one minute.
- Now you must move your left arm out to the side and balance for another minute.
- Switch the legs and repeat this with the right knee lifted and the right foot resting on the waterlogged.
- You can also leave both arms up over your head as you balance for an extra challenge.
6. The Gutbuster
The Gutbuster is a core training drill. It is a comparatively difficult exercise than the other swim workouts. This exercise will get all your core muscles from your rib cage to the hips. The inherently unstable flutter kicking in water will help all the stabilizer muscles to participate in the motion.
How to do it:
- Take a kickboard and hold it in your lap.
- Keep your torso vertical and bring your legs parallel to the surface of water bringing your body in an “L” shape.
- With your back on the other end of the pool, start doing a flutter kick and moving down the pool.
- Your body might start leaning towards the back partway down the pool to straighten the abs to make it easier. But resist the urge.
7. Core Ball Static Challenge
Core ball static challenges are comparatively simple swim workouts that strengthen your core as you work to keep yourself upright. There are four versions of doing it.
How to do it :
- Stand in a lunge with your left leg extended behind you and your right leg bent.
- With both hands hold an inflated ball of about 6 inches in diameter (like the ones found in a drugstore or a toy store) directly in front of your navel.
- Keep your shoulders down and back.
- Hold the position for 30 seconds to engage your core to keep you upright.
- Switch the legs and hold them for another 30 seconds.
Do the entire exercise like in Version A but this time hold the ball with your arms outstretched. This way the ball is just under the surface of the water for an added core challenge.
- Lift your left knee and balance with your right leg.
- Same as version A, hold the ball in front of your navel for 30 seconds.
- Repeat this while standing on the left leg while the right knee is lifted.
- Lift your left knee and balance on your right foot again.
- This time, hold the ball with your arms outstretched same as version B.
- Hold for 30 seconds.
- Repeat this while standing on the left leg with your right knee lifted.
8. Parachute Pull
It gets more difficult when you try to swim against resistance. This workout is more muscle-building and tough to do. On land, it might look easy but in water, you will have a whole base jumping rig behind you.
How to do it:
You clip a “parachute” around your waist that holds back the water. You get enough resistance and get fatigued very quickly. This stimulates muscle growth. You can also wear a swimming tracksuit that has little pockets in them to trap the water flow and make swimming harder.
When To Stop
• Stop exercising if you feel lightheaded or dizzy.
• Stop immediately if you are unable to breathe or feel nauseous.
• If you feel any pain or pressure in your chest or upper body, stop exercising.
Things To Keep In Mind
Swim workouts are safe for most people. But there is a certain risk associated with it. One needs to keep those things in mind before starting with the swim activities.
• Prepare your muscles before entering the pool. Consider asking a personal trainer for help with the form.
• If you are not a strong swimmer, use a flotation device like a pull buoy or floatation vest.
• Follow the pool rules and avoid working out in a pool that is heated above 90°F.
• If you are a beginner, you can take the help of swim coaches for better understanding.
• If you are injured or have any kind of medical condition, take the advice of your doctor before any swim workouts.
• People having skin conditions like psoriasis might feel their skin getting irritated upon entering the chlorinated pool water.
For those who might want to switch from swim exercises, you may look into 7 Social Benefits of Exercises.
• You might sweat more than you realize when you are working out in the water. Do not forget to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids before and after your workout. Take breaks as necessary.
Swim workouts are helpful for anyone with joint issues or injuries and for those who are pregnant or have balance trouble.
You can use these swim workouts designed in swim sets for better results.
Water workouts are an effective way to boost cardio fitness. It also strengthens the major muscle groups in the body.
Therefore, go on, include these in your exercise regime and bask in the magic that it provides.
Any information found on the site does not constitute legal or medical advice. Should you face health issues, please visit your doctor to get yourself diagnosed. Icy Health offers expert opinions and advice for informational purposes only. This is not a substitute for professional medical advice.