There’s no workout quite like swimming; the feel of the water against your skin, the weightlessness and serenity can take you to a different mental and physical state. Nevermind that in the water, you can achieve a full-body toning workout and get cardio in, with minimal impact on your joints.
Water acts as resistance to build, lengthen and firm your entire body. It’s also excellent for working your core, as virtually any swim stroke — and even simply treading water — requires you to engage your abs and will increase your core strength.
As with any workout, form and technique is important. Learning intentional movements will produce greater cardio results and allow you to stay in the water for a longer period of time. You want to work all muscle groups, learn how to lengthen strokes and reduce drag (sinking), and how to optimize breathing.
Looking for a great pool workout that goes beyond swimming laps? Make a splash with this 30-minute swimming workout, with a particular focus on working those abs.
Put on your swimsuit and dive in…
10 Minutes: Warm Up
Start every workout with a warm up. Begin by swimming at your fitness level, at an easy pace, for 10 minutes. This will increase your heartrate and prepare you for the next two minutes.
2 Minutes: Dolphin Kicks
Dolphin kicks allow you to hone in on legs, hips and glutes. While in the water, start with both hands holding on to the edge of the pool, tummy in the water. Extend your legs behind you, floating in the water. With legs together, kick up and down in a steady motion. Alternatively, hold on to a kickboard and swim laps in the pool, using only your legs to propel you forward.
2 Minutes: Water Crunches
Water crunches require a lot of core strength. The water will keep your upper body buoyant; however, you will have to work to stay afloat. Place your legs on the pool deck, with knees bent, so that your back is in the water – in crunch position. Using ab muscles, crunch up and out of the water. Try to do the exercise without splashing. Do one minute of crunches (about 10 to 12 reps), rest, then continue to complete 2 minutes of water crunches.
2 Minutes: Otter Roll
The otter roll requires balance and stability. It works abs through resistance and the fact that you have to use muscle groups to stay afloat. Just like it sounds, you will ‘roll’ in the water like an otter. Begin in the water, away from the sides of the pool. On your back, in a floating position, cross your legs and cross your arms over your chest. Roll your entire body in the water, first to the left, returning to float position. Complete 10 to 12 rolls, rest, and repeat on the right side.
2 Minutes: Leg Lifts
This is great for beginners looking to firm up their abs using water resistance. Begin in the shallow end of the pool, close to the deck edge, where the water comes up to your chest. With your back facing the pool edge, place your forearms on the deck edge. Legs straight and together, raise legs parallel to the pool floor. Hold for eight seconds (or more for advanced exercise). Return to start position, rest, repeat 10 to 12 reps.
2 Minutes: Cool Down
Don’t just jump out of the pool. Take time to cool down, relax and breathe. Swim at your leisure; enjoy the water and the fact that you just completed a great workout.
You can always up the intensity and length of this workout by adding laps between each exercise.