Swimming Workout Plan
Developing a swimming workout plan is one of the best steps you can take to get fit. Like any aerobic form of exercise, taking laps in the pool will develop your cardiovascular system and greatly increase muscular endurance in your extremities. Additionally, swimming workouts are extremely effective for calorie burning, in that they require a ton of caloric energy to sustain. So whether you're training for a triathlon or just trying to tighten up for beach season, use this guide for swimming workouts to help you get started.
Determine what type of swimming workout is best for you. No matter what stroke or swimming style you're going to employ, distance and intensity are the two key factors in determining your workout plan. For calorie burning, taking a high intensity interval training approach to your swimming workout is typically best. With this style, you swim as fast as possible for either one lap or thirty to sixty second intervals, and follow it up with a more laid back stroke for roughly double that time. As a starting point, find the number of repetitions that your body can handle. From there, you'll be able to work your way up. Athletes who are swimming for endurance, meanwhile, will find it most beneficial to do some long-distance swimming at medium intensity. When starting, do as many continuous laps as you can, and try to improve on that number each successive time you swim.
Employ different strokes to work different muscles. Most every swimming stroke is heavy on leg, shoulder, and core work. But by switching between strokes occasionally, you can have some control of the muscles you're working. For the shoulders exclusively, the freestyle stroke is best. The backstroke, meanwhile, better includes your upper back—or trapezius—muscles. If it's your chest that needs to be trained, then there's no stroke better than the breaststroke.
Use universal swimming workout techniques to maximize your gains. One popular technique to increasing the endurance aspect of swimming is called “fist swimming”. As you might guess from its name, you use a freestyle stroke, but instead of propelling yourself with open hands, you use closed fists. It requires more force to be continuously exerted than open handed swimming. Similarly, experienced swimmers often incorporate one-armed strokes in their workout. Usually done with either the freestyle or backstroke, the concept is pretty simple. Instead of alternating arms for each stroke, you use only one arm each lap. This will increase resistance for that arm and force your core muscles to work harder to stabilize you in the water. With these techniques and some dedication, you'll find that a swim workout is truly great for both muscular and aerobic endurance.