The Best Swimming Workouts
The best swimming workouts depend on your fitness level and goals. Since swimming is an all-body workout experience, you'll gain benefits from being in the water and trying a few strokes. If you're just starting out, a good beginner incorporates all strokes while relying on the basics. If you're an advanced swimmer, technical drills that break down your stroke help keep your form and maintain an efficient stroke. And if you're using the water for an overall fitness regimen without focusing on cardiovascular fitness, then drills with a beach ball can help you get beach ready.
Start with a warm-up of four laps of freestyle followed by two laps of freestyle and kick. Follow with a single lap of each of the strokes: freestyle, breaststroke, backstroke and butterfly. Focus less on your technique and more on getting to the end of the lap. Rest for 30 seconds at the end of each lap. Finish with a cool down of four laps of freestyle and two laps of your preferred kick. Try this for three weeks, three times a week. Once you feel comfortable, increase the distance of each individual stroke to two laps, and then three.
Advanced swimmers look for a cardiovascular workout and good technique drills. Break your sets by incorporating drill workouts. Start with 12 laps of freestyle followed by eight laps of freestyle kick. Then do a stroke drill on breaststroke, focusing on your glide -- see how far you can glide with each stroke -- and breathing every other stroke for eight laps. Next, swim 15 laps of freestyle pull, using a pull buoy and pull paddles to work your back and arm muscles. Then focus on your butterfly kick, using a kickboard for eight laps. Next, swim two laps, 10 separate times, using a stroke count and time drill. -- Swim two laps, counting each lap and adding the time. Work toward counting the same for each set, or reduce it. Cool down with 10 laps of freestyle.
Core training uses your back, abs and many other muscles in your body to keep your body healthy and fit. Water provides resistance for a constant workout and allows for a full range of motion. Start with a roll. Grab your beach ball and lie on your back with the ball clasped in front of your body. Try to roll over, driving your shoulder down and your hip up. Complete 10 rolls. If you find this too difficult, try rocking from side to side.
Next, head to the deep water and scull with your hands. Extend your legs straight down. Bring one leg to your waist, toes pointed. Hold for 10 seconds, then scissor kick and switch legs, again holding for 10 seconds. Complete 10 repetitions before resting. This can provide a challenging core workout.
Carolyn Williams began writing and editing professionally over 20 years ago. Her work appears on various websites. An avid traveler, swimmer and golf enthusiast, Williams has a Bachelor of Arts in English from Mills College and a Master of Business Administration from St. Mary's College of California.