5 Tips to Make Swimming the Best Workout You Ever Had
If you’re one of many people around the world who only go as far into the water as their height lets them, then the time has come to learn how to swim. Why? Because it’s fun, it’s one of the best things you can do in the water aside from surfing, and it has the potential to become the best and most rigorous workout you ever had. And besides, swimming boasts numerous health benefits, so why not make it your mission to up your game this season?
On the other hand, if you’re an avid swimmer, then you know just how rigorous a swim session in the pool or the ocean can get if you apply the right technique and go the distance. Regardless, there are always new ways you can make your sessions even more challenging to help you become trim and healthy. Here are the five tips that will make you fall in love with swimming and make it the best workout ever.
Stretch and warm up like a pro
First things first, every amazing workout starts with a proper warm-up, and the same goes for swimming. In fact, warming up properly becomes especially important when you’re about to jump into a body of water, because skipping dynamic stretching and mobility work guarantees a nasty cramp in the middle of your swim. Now, you should know that the best thing to do in that scenario is to loosen up and let the water carry you until the cramp subsides, but why not prevent the whole thing if you can?
So, just do what the pro runners and endurance athletes do: warm up progressively on dry land. Include numerous functional movement patterns such as burpees, mountain climbers, jumping jacks, plyometrics, squatting, and pressing movements such as push-ups to prep your upper body for the workout as well.
Make sure your flexible and mobile
Warming up is one thing, but loosening up is a whole different challenge all swimmers must overcome if they are to a) prevent cramps, b) ensure sustained force exertion, and c) nail their swimming technique. It doesn’t matter that you can’t touch the floor with your palms without bending your lower back, what does matter is that you make your joints and limbs mobile enough to go through the full range of motion while swimming.
Doing this will help you stay healthy all around, prevent injury, learn to swim faster, and just have a blast while doing it. Start with neck circles, and proceed down your body, making sure you stretch and mobilize every joint. A word of caution, though: take it easy with static stretching. The point of pre-workout flexibility and mobility is to prep the muscles and connective tissue for the workout, so use mobility drills with short stretches, and leave the long static stretching for your post-swim routine.
Pick the right swimwear
Just put on any piece of swimwear and head in, right? Well, not quite. There is a reason why modern brands innovate and come up with new swimwear materials and styles every year – in order to make swimming comfortable and to ensure minimal friction and drag.
Picking out the right pair of swimsuit bottoms will make all the difference when it comes to the quality of your swim session, as it’ll make sure you can swim at full speed without any risk all the while enjoying the support you need. However, that doesn’t mean that you should choose specialized swimwear that pro athletes use – it just means that you should be mindful of the type of swimwear you choose if you want to make your workouts more efficient and effective.
Nail down your technique
It should go without saying that your technique can make or break your workout. Not only is it important that you master your preferred techniques, but it’s also important that you teach your family members how to swim properly as well in order to prevent injuries and incidents.
If your technique is suboptimal, you will waste your energy, fatigue quickly, and lose your motivation to make swimming your go-to workout in the future. Practice your preferred style in a controlled environment, and don’t shy away from hiring an instructor for a couple of lessons – it’s just like hiring a personal trainer, and they will make all the difference.
Change up your style
And finally, be sure to change up your style from time to time. Much like switching up your routine in the gym, you need to challenge your body with new and unfamiliar movement patterns in order to create a new stimulus you can adapt to with regular exercise. Switching from a front crawl to a butterfly or a backstroke is a great way to take your water workouts to the next level and challenge your body like never before.
Swimming is, without a doubt, one of the most aerobically-taxing workouts you can do, but only if you do it right. Use these tips to perfect your swimming routine, and fall in love with this type of exercise.