Cardio - The Swimming Workout

by Pool Builders on 11-28-2010 in Articles

If you are looking to find an excellent exercise program that will give your entire body an amazing workout, yet still be gentle on your joints, you should try the swimming workout.

A lot of people don't realize that swimming is an "aerobic" or "cardio" type exercise. Cardio has a reputation for helping your body to burn fat without bulking up in muscle and is excellent for improving heart health.

You will utilize many different strokes and swimming styles in the swimming workout. This will help you to work different muscle groups in different ways, providing you with a well-rounded and beneficial workout. The particular swimming workout that we are going to highlight today features three specific strokes, however you can choose one or two you prefer if you don't want to do all three. Just make sure you change up your routine every now and again to improve your results.

As with other workouts, before you begin be sure to warm up your muscles as a means of preventing injury while you exercise. The following styles or strokes below should be done at a "jogging-like" speed for a total of 6 minutes, that's 2 minutes for each stroke, before you begin your workout.

Begin by doing the "butterfly" swimming stroke. Begin by doing 20 fast strokes as quickly as possible before doing 10 additional strokes at a relaxed pace. The next stroke is known as the "freestyle" stroke.

This will be the second style that you do. Freestyle for 30 quick strokes at your fastest speed before doing 10 more relaxed freestyle strokes. The next stroke is known as the "breaststroke" style.

Of all the strokes in this swimming workout, this one will demand the most of you physically. Breaststroke for 20 quick strokes at your quickest speed before doing 10 more at a relaxed pace.

These three basic strokes make up the cycle of your workout and you should do 8 of these cycles to complete your workout. However, it is important to start slowly and begin at a 4 cycle workout and work up to doing an 8 cycle workout as you progress in your routine. If you can, increase the workout by 1 cycle each time you workout until are able to easily do 8 full cycles.

Once 8 cycles becomes easy for you to complete, you can continue to progress in the workout by increasing the number of quick strokes completed in every cycle. Your ideal goal should be to swim at a fast pace for a period of 20 seconds, slow down again for 10 seconds and keep repeating the cycle. Once you are able to achieve this, your 8 cycle workout should only be about 4 minutes long.

This workout is based upon the 20 seconds on and 10 seconds off method which is known as the Tabata Protocol. This method is much less time consuming, yet much more effective, than a more conventional approach at doing cardio or aerobic type exercise such as swimming, biking and running.

Once you have increased your quick strokes and these 8 cycles get too easy, you can add more cycles onto your 8 cycle workout. You shouldn't do more than 5 additional cycles total to avoid over-training. You should shoot for a goal of 20 minutes of exercise maximum with this type of workout.

If you are only using this particular workout routine, it can be successfully done about 3 times each week. However, if you are also working to build muscle or are workout out at the gym, you should only do this workout 1-2 times a week.

One tip is to always pay attention to where you are in the pool and what is in front of you so you won't hit the wall. If you are swimming hard and are not paying attention you could easily bump your head into the pool's edge.

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