Swim For Fitness
If you want to develop endurance and power or are looking for a progressive conditioning program, you may want to swim for fitness. Swimming is a non-impact sport that coordinates the muscles of the legs, core and upper body in every stroke that is taken. Start slowly if you’re a beginner. Try and swim for at least 10 minutes and build up to 30 minutes three to five times a week.
- Beginners should start workouts with the two most basic stokes—back stroke and side stroke. After you have mastered these, you can move on to more advanced strokes. Maybe you’ll want to try the butterfly stoke after you’ve become a swimming maestro. The use of different stokes will strengthen your body in different ways, so this is a goal you’ll want to pursue if you’re swimming for fitness. If possible, get your stoke technique analyzed by a specialist.
- Aim for more multiple, but shorter swimming workouts. To keep yourself from compromising your swimming form via fatigue, beginners should avoid long, drawn out swimming sessions. Shorter, intense workouts spread numerously throughout the week will help you better your form and stamina.
- Focus on building endurance, not speed. Focusing on speed will not allow you to increase the amount that you swim. However, if increasing speed is of interest to you, still focus on building good technique by working on endurance first.
- Keep you strokes as long and relaxed as possible. This will help you keep an even pace and conserve energy. Try and get as much distance from a single stroke while moderating your kicks and keeping them small—kicking vigorously actually wastes a lot of energy.
- Develop good breathing technique to develop swimming efficiency. Keep your breathing cycle as strong and continuous as possible. Exhale completely before taking another breath. If you don't you'll take in less oxygen and fatigue more quickly, it doesn't matter how well of a swimmer you are. Avoid lifting your head and shoulders when inhaling so you don't throw off your swimming alignment.
- Use training devices. Pull boys, hand paddles, tubes and kickboards can help build strength or better swimming technique. Pull buoys and hand paddles help strengthen and isolate your upper body muscles, while tubes and kickboards can be used to isolate and increase lower body strength.