Swimming. It’s the full body workout that blasts calories while virtually eliminating joint impact. Ramp up your efficiency in the pool with our top tips for getting the most out of your swim time.
The secret to keeping your workout fresh and exciting is to mix up your training with different swim strokes, training aids, interval training and water weights.
Swap laps for drills
Want maximum efficiency? Forget straight laps and get your drill head on. Technique drills, speed drills – there’s a drill for everyone.If you plan ahead,with the right swimming drill, you could burn around 300 calories in as little as 25 minutes.
Need inspiration? Try this fat-burning drill and increase/decrease the rest time according to your fitness level:
- Swim four lengths of freestyle with just 15 seconds rest after each length.
- Next, move on to backstroke (or alternate backstroke with freestyle for 8 lengths), aiming to complete the entire 8 lengths in around 4 minutes.
- To add some variety to your swim, perform the next four lengths with a kickboard, taking a minute per length.
- After using the kickboard, swim freestyle with a pull-buoy for two minutes.
- Next, alternate freestyle and backstroke for eight lengths once again, completing this in 4 minutes.
- Finally, end on a high with two lengths of your favourite stroke, completed in one minute.
Turbo-charge your water workout with resistance training
Incorporating resistance training into your swim can help improve strength and power. Better yet, it helps build lean muscle, increasing your resting metabolic rate so that your body burns more calories, even when you have your feet up (bonus!). One way to weave resistance training into your drills is to invest in a pair of hand paddles. The extra resistance created by having paddles strapped to your hands intensifies the demands on your upper body, providing a challenging and targeted swim session. Advanced swimmer? Try upping the difficulty further by using a pullbuoy alongside your hand paddles. Tip: step up progressively to avoid loading the shoulders prematurely.
Resistance training for aqua fitness workouts
Want to add resistance training into your aqua fitness workout? Try using hand-held water weights as part of your training –simply hold them under the water (to create resistance) while performing exercises such as walking lunges, squats and high knees (jogging on the spot).
Alternatively, use them to improve upper body strength by targeting the triceps, biceps and shoulders during your aqua workout. Tip: if you’re new to fitness training, bypass the weights and start with body weight exercises such as high knees, squats and walking lunges.
Join the HIIT squad
High intensity interval training (HIIT) is a busy swimmer’s best friend, and allows you to get maximum bang for your swimming buck. Between 20 and 30-minutes of high intensity exercise, where you’re working for short bursts at close to maximum effort, has been scientifically proven to be an efficient way to burn fat and increase fitness. Best of all, unlike low-intensity steady state exercise (LISS), your body continues to burn fat long after you’ve finished exercising – for up to 24 hours afterwards.
The key is to ramp up your heart rate with intense intervals of effort. Try adding one of the following to your training plan:
- Swim as fast as you can for 30 seconds, then rest for between 15 and 30 seconds before sprinting again. Repeat as many times as you can manage – aim for double figures
- Non-swimming option Tread water (or run on the spot in the pool with your knees high), working as hard as possible for up to 30 seconds. Rest 10-15 seconds (you may need a longer rest, initially) and repeat. Advanced fitness levels may increase their exercise time to between 30 and 60 seconds, or raise arms above the head while treading water
Still need convincing to help you get in the pool? Just 30 minutes of steady swimming can burn between 200 – 350 calories, plus it only takes half an hour of swimming, once a week, to significantly improve your energy levels.
Great for toning up, swimming doesn’t work just one muscle group, but all of them. Better yet, 30 minutes of exercise in the water is the equivalent of approximately an hour’s land-based exercise. And you want to lose weight? Swimming burns around 3 calories a mile per pound of bodyweight – meaning that a woman weighing 150 pounds can burn approximately 450 calories for every mile swum. Nice!
Get started with our kitbag essentials:
Swim cap – try Speedo Moulded Silicone Cap
Goggles – try Speedo Merit Goggle
Swimming costume –try Speedo Monogram Muscleback
Water bottle – try Speedo Water Bottle
Nose clip – try Speedo Nose Clip