With the summer weather starting to sizzle, you’ll want a workout destination that helps beat the heat. And there’s no better place to pump up than at the pool.
Swimming is a superior way to get fit. It packs all the powerful health benefits of higher-intensity exercises such as running or plyometrics, without compromising the safety of sensitive joints.
With each stroke, every major muscle group must work hard against the water’s resistance to propel you through the pool. This all-out, total-body effort burns mega calories, enhances endurance, improves flexibility, and most important, is fun — a factor that other aerobic activities can lack.
Make a splash this summer with the following water-based workout. This routine is intended for beginners who know how to swim. If at any point you feel lightheaded or out of breath, or you’re having trouble staying afloat, exit the pool immediately and consult a lifeguard nearby.
The tank trek
Start in the shallow end, on one side of the pool.
From here, pump your arms and legs to walk to the other side of the shallow end and back. Do this two times. Avoid hunching forward as you push through the resistance of the water.
Wade a little deeper into the pool so you can begin treading water. Tighten your core muscles, pull your shoulders back, and breathe smoothly in and out.
Rotate your arms from your shoulders and legs from hips for 10 counts forward, followed by 10 rotations backward. Repeat this back-and-forth sequence three times.
With your back against the wall of the pool, elevate your arms to rest on the ledge and lightly grip the lip of it.
Use your core muscles to lift your legs until they form about a 90-degree angle at your hips. Point your toes and open your legs wide then bring them together, crossing your right leg over your left. Now open once more, this time bringing your left over right. Continue alternating for 16 counts.
Facing the ledge of the pool, position your hands wider than shoulder-width apart. Be sure to have a strong grip without the risk of slipping.
Push through your palms to lift your body up out of the water until your arms are nearly straight. Do not lock your elbows. Hold for two counts then slowly release back down to the starting position. Repeat 10 times.
Pick your favorite swimming stroke, such as the breaststroke, freestyle, butterfly, or backstroke. Whichever you choose, swim the length of the pool and back. Repeat three times.
Not everyone has access to a pool. And even if you could join a local swim club, perhaps you aren’t quite ready to resume floating around a crowded pool. Luckily, you can get the same perks of aquatic aerobics without setting foot in a pool. Here are the top land drills that mimic the motions, and engage the same muscles used while swimming. For best results, repeat this dry circuit three times.
Fish out of water
Begin on your belly with your arms extended straight forward, palms facing down.
Use your back and core muscles to lift your trunk off the floor. Keep your neck relaxed as you pull your arms back until your elbows form a 90-degree angle. Squeeze your shoulder blades together as you hold for two counts, then release. Continue for 10 repetitions.
Remain on your stomach, resting your arms at your sides. Using your core and back strength, elevate your chest and legs off the floor.
Engage your glutes to lift your right leg slightly higher, lower it, then lift your left leg. Flutter your legs in a controlled manner for 16 total reps. Remember to breathe with each repetition.
Swim against the tide
Performing a push-up in the opposite direction challenges the muscles in a new way. Start on your stomach with your hands beneath your shoulders and elbows tucked close to your body.
Push through your palms to elevate your body into a plank. Hold here for five counts, then move at half speed to lower your body back down to the floor. Let your body come to a complete rest between reps. Repeat 10 times.
Ashley Blake Greenblatt is a certified personal trainer and wellness coach in South Jersey. To learn more about her virtual training program, go to ashleyblakefitness.com.