Swimming is a fantastic way to get fit! It is a physical activity that works every muscle group in the body, improving both strength and endurance. Swimming is also a low impact activity. If you have weak knees or ankles, you will find swimming much better than other workouts like running.
Other benefits of swimming include:
To help you get started, this article will share some fantastic swimming workouts for beginners!
Some General Tips Before Starting
Before you “dive in” here are some general tips for beginners.
Short Freestyle Distance Intervals
This basic workout involves swimming freestyle for short distances with breaks. Start out by swimming 25 yards at a time, with a rest period of 30 seconds between each lap. Beginners should swim at a slow to medium pace initially.
You may benefit from using breaths instead of counting seconds. Perform a lap, then count to 20 breaths before starting the next lap. This will also encourage you to really use your entire lung capacity while taking your interval break.
Depending on your initial level of fitness, swim between 10 to 15 minutes when first performing freestyle intervals. Once you are comfortable swimming 25 yards, extend the length of your interval to 50 or 75 yards and extend the time you spend swimming. Record your personal best distances and speeds!
Using a KickBoard
If you are not confident enough to swim 25 yard intervals, there are a number of workouts you can perform with a kickboard and flippers. These workouts will help you practice kicking, putting your face under water and breathing correctly.
Perform your stretches to start, then swim 25 yards on your side. Hold onto the kick-board with a straight arm and rest your head on that arm. The other arm should be straight down your side. Have a rest, then perform another 25 yards on your other side.
Then, perform 50 yards holding onto the kick board with both hands and looking into the water. Turn your head to breath, using both sides. This exercise will get you used to kicking and breathing alternately.
Once you have started to perform intervals well, you can begin to swim longer distances. Endurance swimming will help improve your muscle tone and stamina.
Start by performing a few warm up stretches. Jump into the pool and swim 250 yards at a slow pace. Take your time and concentrate on your form. Take a 20 seconds (or 20 breaths) break. Then swim for another 150 yards and take another 20-second break. Finally, swim for another 50 yards.
If these distances are too long or too short, alter them to a comfortable distance. Eventually work your way up to 500 yards or longer. Always keep a steady pace and think about your technique — it is not about speed, it’s about how long you can swim.
BREASTSTROKE and Freestyle Medley
By combining these two strokes, you can give yourself a more thorough, full-body workout. Freestyle will really push your shoulders, while breaststroke will emphasize your chest muscles.
- 1Start with 50 yards of freestyle at a slow pace to prepare your body.
- 2Perform 4 x 25 yard intervals of freestyle, counting the number of stroke it takes you to perform each interval. Aim to have the same amount of strokes per interval. Afterwards, have a break of 30 seconds if you need it.
- 3Perform 4 x 50 yard intervals of breast stroke with 30 second breaks
- 4Perform 4 x 25 yard intervals of freestyle, counting the number of strokes
- 5Perform 50 yards of breast stroke at a slow pace
It is a hefty beginners workout that will address many muscle groups.
Work on Your Speed!
Once you have achieved a basic level of fitness in the pool, you might be interested in seeing how fast you can go! You can perform this workout using any type of swimming stroke.
- 1Perform your stretches and swim 50 yards at a slow pace
- 2Swim 2 sets of 25 yards at a medium-fast pace to get your body ready
- 3Swim 6 x 25 yards at fast pace. In between each 25 yards, take a full 60-120 seconds to recuperate. Count your strokes per lap and check your times!
- 4Swim 4 x 25 yards to cool down
Working on Your Form
Maintaining correct form while swimming is crucial. Proper form will ensure you are using the right parts of your body while swimming and maintaining maximum efficiency. This workout is for freestyle and uses a pull buoy — a floatation device that swimmers place between their legs to give them additional buoyancy. The pull buoy allows you to swim without kicking your legs and helps you to concentrate on your arms.
- 1Perform your stretches and swim 2 x 25 yards to warm up
- 2Using the pull buoy, swim 2 x 25 yards only using your right arm for momentum. Keep your left arm straight in front of your body. Concentrate on your shoulder rotation, pitch of your arm and the shape of your hand.
- 3Using the pull buoy, swim 2 x 25 yards using both arms. Concentrate on the position of your body in the water.
- 4Using the pull buoy, swim 2 x 25 yards only using your right arm for momentum
- 5Using a kickboard, swim 2 x 25 yards kicking only
- 6Swim 2 x 25 yards as a cool down
Swimming is a fantastic way to stay fit. Regularity is the key — if you have 4 to 5 workouts per week you will be amazed by the changes that happen to your body!