All you need is a swimsuit and some goggles….and a body of water.
Swimming is often overlooked even though it’s one of the most effective strength and cardio combinations available in fitness. Many of us equate the pool with leisurely relaxation and fruity cocktails. The beauty of the pool is that it doesn’t need to be one or the other, it can be both.
If you’re someone who struggles to burn extra calories because of joint pain or past injuries, the pool is perfect for you because it works your entire body while putting little to no stress on joints. If your form is proper (something you should consult with someone who knows their stuff before exercising regularly), you’ll stay injury free, get lean, and build muscle.
As with any workout, you should be very intentional with your time. Simply hopping in the pool and doggy-paddling around isn’t going to get you anywhere. Here’s what you should do:
By now, we hope that you understand the necessity of warming up. It’s absolutely essential to avoid injury and maximize performance. Jump in the water and start to swim laps slowly but with intent. Build your speed each lap until you’ve completed four.
Use a kickboard or simply extend your arms forward and use only your legs to move you through the water. Use your entire leg, beginning at the hip, to propel you through the water. Be sure you’re not only using your knee down because it will cause you to move more slowly. Perform another four to six laps or until your heart is beginning to race a bit.
This is a great workout for your core and hips, which generate a lot of your body’s sustain and power.
Now’s when the real workout happens. It’s similar to a HIIT (high intensity interval training) workout, so you want to ensure that your heart rate is boosted for an extended period of time to burn the maximum amount of calories.
Freestyle swim two lengths of the pool at a fast pace. Once you’ve reached your starting point, rest for 15 seconds. That’s one rep. Then immediately start again. The entirety of this period is 15 minutes. You ought to be getting about 10-12 reps in that period of time. If you’re getting less, just keep building. If you’re getting more, maybe try going three lengths rather than just two.
Once you’ve completed the bulk of your workout, your body needs time to recover. You ought to be pretty gassed by this point, but still take the time to swim 200-300 meters at your warm up pace. Maintain your form and breathing, as it will be easy to get sloppy once you’re tired.
This workout is going to be extremely difficult when you start. Don’t get discouraged. Use it as motivation to keep working towards making it all the way through. Also, you’ll be extremely hungry after an intense workout like this. Be sure to follow up with a protein shake and a healthy meal once you’re ready. Don’t use the fact that you burned a bunch of calories as an excuse to eat garbage.