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Get More Out Of Your Swim

Exercising in water gives you a great full-body workout - without having to sweat and battle sore muscles the following day. Follow this water fitness routine to tone and strengthen your whole body. These exercises are a fun alternative to regular gym workouts. The water-resistance ensures that they effectively tone muscles yet they are low-impact and safe for those with strained joints. Working out in water also improves blood circulation and reduces water retention.

There are no weights or bands needed for most of the exercises, and this routine is multi-level, meaning people of various fitness levels can do it. For a cardio workout, expert advises, Perform the aqua ski non-stop for 20 minutes or you can increase the intensity by moving from one set of an exercise to another without stopping, then repeating the whole sequence three times. Alternatively, simply perform four sets of each exercise.

The Exercises

Pendulum (Swinging legs from side to side)

Works: Inner (adductor) and outer (abductor) thigh muscles.

How To Do It: Stand with feet hop-width apart, stomach pulled tight. Lift palms, facedown, to waist height. Kick left leg outward to the side, and swing arms to the left at the same time. Keep hips and knees facing forward at all times. Bring working leg down, then repeat with right leg, swinging arms to the right. This makes one repetition; do 20 reps.

Tip: For beginners, lean back against the side of the pool with arms resting on the pool's edge for better balance. For more challenge, attach ankle weights.

Triceps Extension/Biceps Curl

Works: The front (biceps) and back (triceps) muscles of the arms.

How To Do It: Start with feet hip-width apart, arms by your sides. Bend elbows, palms facing outwards bringing both palms toward the shoulders.. Next, turn the wrists to face the palms down and straighten arms till they extend behind you. Keep arms in the water when performing this exercise and complete the full range of motion. Do 20 repetitions.

Tip: To increase resistance, use webbed gloves.

Front Kicks

Works: Tones the legs by working on the front of the thighs (quadriceps) and back (hamstrings).

How To Do It: Begin with feet hip-width apart. Raise the right knee toward your chest, bend elbows and bring hands in front of ribs. Extend the leg into a front kick while extending arms. Lower the right leg to bring feet together, remembering to keep the working leg straight. Repeat with left leg. This makes one repetition; do 20 reps.

Tip: To make this exercise more challenging, swing your right leg straight to the back, instead of bringing feet together after the front kick. Then hop to bring left knee into a yuck. Complete full sequence.


Works: Strengthens the stomach muscles (obllques and rectus abdominus).

How To Do It: Begin with feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent, arms straight out in front of you. Hop and twist the upper body to the right and the lower body to the left. Arms move in the opposite direction of the lower body. Hop to return to neutral position. Repeat in the opposite direction. This makes one repetition; do 20 reps.

Tip: If you're a beginner, stand an arm's length away from the side of the pool and press hands on the wall for support.

Knees In And Roll

Works: Strengthens the stomach muscles (obliques and rectus abdominus).

How To Do It: Begin with arms outstretched on the pool's edge or on a noodle. Keep body upright in water. Exhale and bring legs up by contracting abdominal muscles so that they're about a 90 degree-angle to your upper body. Pull knees in toward chest. Gently roll both knees diagonally to the right then left, all the while pulling abdominal muscles in and up and keeping back against the wall. Extend legs and repeat in opposite direction. This completes one repetition; do 20 reps.

Aqua Ski

Works: Front of legs (quadriceps) and back (hamstrings), hip flexors and shoulders.

How To Do It: Stand in neutral position, with feet hip-width apart, stomach pulled tight. Step forward with the right foot, keeping knee slightly bent as left leg pushes to the back, left arm swings out straight. Hop again to bring left leg forward and right leg back. Alternate legs until you reach the other end of pool. Turn around and repeat.

Tips To Boost Your Water Workout

Different Strokes

If you usually do the breaststroke, learn the front crawl or backstroke. Doing new moves makes your body work harder, toning muscles that may not have been used in a while.

Do Intervals

Interval training is a great way to blast calories. Every fourth length, swim as fast and hard as you can, then recover with the next three laps. This will get your heart rate up and burn fat.

Cardio Boost

To burn calories, you need to get your heart pumping. Try this easy water jog to do just that. Start in a neutral position. Step forward with the right foot, left arm forward, and bring left leg up behind the body (note: knees should be below hip). Keep your tummy muscles tight as you try to maintain your balance and stand upright. Travel up and down pool for 20 minutes.

Kick Water

Another way to burn more calories and tone your lower body while you do your regular laps is to kick water. Kick your legs out strongly under water instead of just letting them float.


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