Swimming is a great form of exercise and offers an all-over workout that can’t fail to leave you feeling better for it. If you really want to make your swim count in the fitness stakes, it’s worth adding in some alternative, in-pool exercises that push you a bit harder and boost intensity. You’ll improve your cardio fitness in super-fast time as well as get a stronger, more toned body than with gentle laps. We asked two experts to give us their ultimate pool fitness boosters…
Sam Hunt was a county swimming champion and is now a coach
Natasha Richardson is an aquatics and meditation coach – Tweet her @LDNfitnessgirl
What you’ll need: A basic rectangular float – try the Speedo Elite Pullkick (£16, speedostore.co.uk) – and a pair of training fins – these are mini ns, not long scuba diving flippers, and allow you to move faster and more easily through the water – try Speedo Biofuse Fitness Fins (£22). Your local pool should have floats, or buy your own, visit speedostore.co.uk.
How to do the workout:
Add these exercises to your usual swim. Aim for a total time of 20-25 minutes. Pick and choose the exercises you prefer.
THE WATER RUN
Sam says: This is a great whole-body exercise as you push against the resistance of the water, but it’s gentler on your joints than running on land. It should ideally be done in a pool that’s shallow all the way along, but it can also be done in deep water if necessary. Basically, you’re going to run through the water for 25m, then recover with one length of walking through the water (or an easy swim)
-Push off and pump your arms to drive you forward. Move your legs as fast as you can. You’ll nd that you’ll be on tip-toes rather than at on your feet as it makes it easier to balance.
-If you’re in deep water, you can hold a float under one arm to help keep you buoyant. Do six repetitions of 25m running, 25m recovery.
Natasha says: As well as getting your heart rate up, this exercise works the sacral muscles in your lower back and the gluteals in your bottom, plus the fins recruit the bigger muscles
in the legs better than regular kicking.
-Stand at the start of your lane, ns on your feet, arms by your sides. Kick against the wall, keeping your arms by your sides and begin a front crawl kicking action. Kick powerfully, keeping legs long and feet oppy, kicking from the hip, never the knee. The fins allow you to glide more easily through the water and go faster, which will naturally keep your head out of the water. Kick a bit harder if it doesn’t!
-As you swim, turn your head to the side to breathe as you normally would in freestyle swimming. Breathe whenever you feel the need to. Complete two 25m lengths, followed by two easy lengths.