Swimming is also a safe, low-impact workout: According to Joel Stager, Ph.D., director of the Counsilman Center for the Science of Swimming at Indiana University at Bloomington, because water neutralizes gravity, you can swim almost every day without worrying about injuries.
If you want to use your backyard pool to get a workout, here are some great workouts designed for all levels.
Beginner Swimming Pool Exercises
If you’re just starting your fitness routine, some of the exercises you can do in your pool are:
- Simple swimming. Most people are surprised at how effective swimming leisurely laps in the pool is for burning fat and toning muscles. A relaxed swim burns approximately 500 calories an hour. If you’re just starting out, plan to swim a few laps, take a break, and then swim more. Your goal is to build up to doing as many as you can without taking a break.
- The bicycle. Rest your elbows on the side of the pool and use your legs to “pedal” an imaginary bicycle. This will not only burn fat, but also help strengthen your core, shoulders, and legs.
- The dolphin. Work out your core, legs, and back by grabbing edge of the pool with your left hand and putting your right hand, fingers pointing down, just underneath the water line. Then, with your legs held together, let them float up and begin kicking like a dolphin.
Bonus Beginner Workout: The ball. Work out your core and burn belly fat by standing with your right leg bent and your left leg pushed back. Hold a ball with both hands positioned in front of your belly. Hold for 30 seconds, and then switch legs. Do this five times on each side.
Moderate Swimming Pool Exercises
Ready to take things up a notch? Add these workouts to your pool fitness routine:
- Moderate swimming. If you can easily swim a few laps, you can not only add in more laps at a faster pace, but you can also mix in some other strokes to work out different parts of your body. For example, the backstroke works your back and shoulder muscles, while the breaststroke works your inner thigh muscles and hips.
- Sprint. Lean on the edge of the pool with your elbows and, with your legs straight and held together, lift them up until they reach the top of the water and then lower them. The resistance from the water makes this an effective exercise and will help strengthen your core while burning fat.
- Tuck jump. Stand in the water and jump, bringing your knees up to your chest. Doing this in multiple sets will help trim your legs and strengthen your core. To make it more difficult, don’t allow your feet to touch the bottom of the pool, but tread water in-between jumps.
Bonus Moderate Workout: Bicycle with a twist. If doing the bicycle at the edge of the pool is too easy for you, make it more difficult by using a noodle to sit on while “cycling” across the pool. Your abs will have to work hard to keep you balanced, and your legs will work even harder to power you across the pool.
Advanced Swimming Pool Exercises
Ready for a challenge? Burn even more calories with these intense moves:
- Pro swimming. Mix up your strokes and swim as fast as you can across the pool. You’ll burn about 700 calories an hour and boost your metabolism with this high-intensity cardio workout so that you continue burning fat well after you’ve left the pool.
- Add weights. Bringing weights into the pool to work your arms is a great way to build lean muscle mass. The water adds extra resistance to the moves, which increases the burn. Use special weights designed for the pool when doing moves like the butterfly and bar lift.
- The noodle plank. Do planks in the pool by using a noodle to hold onto while you push your legs out into plank positon. The water resistance will make it more difficult, and you’ll need to use your abs and core to hold the positon.
Bonus Advanced Workout: Plie jump. This is a great way to get your bottom and legs in shape out of the water, but add in the water resistance and it’s a sure winner. Start by standing with your heels together and knees bent outwards and jump as high as you can. To increase the intensity of the workout, don’t allow any rest time between jumps. Remember, the further down you go after each jump, the harder your quads will have to work to push you out of it.
Swimming pool workouts are a great way to burn fat, trim your body, and have fun in the process. After all, would you rather work out in the middle of a crowded gym or in the privacy of your own backyard retreat in your very own swimming pool?