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Friday Q&A: Pool Exercises!


This week, we’ve been talking a lot about beating the heat and spending time in the pool working out. We’d be remiss if we didn’t give you some advice about the best pool exercises to help you achieve your fitness goals! Without further ado, today’s Friday Q&A is the pool exercises edition!

Question from oc:

What is the most effective swimming exercise for the stomach and abs? i run every other day and like to swim on the days im not running, so im looking for pool exercises that focus on the stomach/abs

Swimming is surprisingly effective for strength training and toning! Even walking in the pool can improve your core muscles, because the water basically functions as a giant resistance machine. If you want something more concentrated than walking, though, try these:

  • Leg Extensions: Standing at the side of the pool, hold on to the edge, raise your left leg out to the side, and rotate your leg as many times as you can. This works your obliques and hips. When your leg is fatigued, lower it back to the bottom of the pool and repeat with the right leg. As you improve, you’ll eventually be able to do this exercise without holding on. When that’s too easy, try raising your hands into the air while you’re doing this, and eventually, do it with your eyes closed to increase difficulty.
  • Leg Lift: With your back against the side of the pool, hook your elbows over the edge of the pool and raise your legs to a sitting position. Keep the legs and back straight while you lift. Hold the position for 10 seconds, breathing the entire time. Then bend your knees and lower your feet to the bottom of the pool. As your fitness improves, add repetitions and increase the duration to up the challenge level.
  • Leap and Scoop: Stand in the water with your feet spread wide apart and the top of the water at your ribcage. Cup your hands together, and place them deep in the water. With your legs spread, leap out of the water as high as you can. At the same time, pull your hands up, scooping the water as you go. You can repeat this exercise, pushing the water downward, to the right and left in order to work your obliques.

Question from lalalove:

What type of swimming burns the most calories? I need to know any type of pool exercise that burns a lot of calories!

To burn calories, this is the order of efficacy among the swim strokes (burning the most calories at the top, to the least at the bottom):

  • Butterfly stroke
  • Freestyle
  • Backstroke
  • Breast stroke

To maximize your calorie burn, you can do interval training. Do:

  • 25 yards at 90 percent of your maximum effort
  • 25 yard cool down at 50 percent of your maximum effort

Repeat these intervals for 10 minutes, and you’ll burn more efficiently and improve your fitness faster than if you just swim all-out until you get tired. You can do any stroke during these intervals – the point is simply to vary the intensity of your workout.

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