Free Swim Workouts
Free swim workouts condition your body for the real deal - competitions, energy drink endorsements and whatever else you need to become the next Michael Phelps. But don't get too lofty - those workouts will take a real toll on your body unless you take it easy to begin with.
- Slip into something comfortable. Don't like your trunks? Wear a pair of Speedo shorts. Just make sure you don't look like a total 1980s disaster in thong shorts or something stupid like that.
- Take a quick, warm shower before swimming. Expert swimmers always keep their muscles warmed up between workouts by dousing themselves in a warm shower. Just ask the guys on the Olympic swim team.
- Do a few floor exercises before hopping in the pool. Stretch out your tendons before subjecting them to hours of back and forth swimming. Do the butterfly with your legs, some windmills with your arms and some shoulder shrugs for your neck.
- Start with an easy free swim. Don't go for the gold on your first run. Warm up in the water (no matter how cold it is) with an easy stroke, like front crawl or back crawl.
- Count your strokes. Your warm up for the free swim workout should consist of 100 to 200 strokes of your favorite stroke.
- Practice kicks only. Challenge your legs for strength by swimming with only your legs. You might need a noodle or kick board to stay afloat with your upper body.
- Practice arm strokes only. You can use a pull buoy to work on just your arm movements. Obviously you can't swim across without your legs somehow!
- Avoid doing a lot of belly strokes. Part of the point of doing a free swim workout is to work on your sides, not your belly. So do some sidestrokes and breathing, not just belly strokes with butterfly and breaststroke.
- Do some board hand-offs. Practice your free swim workout front stroke with a board and keep the board in only one hand at a time. As your other arm strokes up and hits the board, trade off with your hands so you keep good form with your arms.
- Do a cool down. Practice something easy to end your free swim workout, like breathing from side to side. Do some more 100 to 200 stroke exercises. Try not to exert yourself too much during this time, because you want to calm your muscles down. Take a nice, warm shower when you're finished.