I have a tendency to forget that swimming exists. Maybe it’s because it’s not as easy to do as running unless you have a pretty awesome house where you can just step out your door into a pool.
You would think that for someone who spent 8 years of their life swimming 2-4 hours a day, every day and traveling from pool to pool all along the east coast every weekend, I would remember what an amazing workout it is.
Prior to my ankle injury, I hadn’t been in a pool to workout in over 5 years. After I broke my ankle, it was the only form of cardio (just pulling, no kicking) that I could do. But once again, as soon as I could run again the pool was just a distant memory.
Until this week.
Last Wednesday morning I woke up to go for a run and my legs were killing me. They were so tight that I could barely extend them far enough for a full stride. I thought about going to yoga, but it’s not really my cup of tea, so instead I decided I needed a date with the pool.
The minute I jumped in and the cold water flooded over me, I remembered just how much I love to swim. Here are some reasons swimming is good for you:
1) It’s perfect for people with knee problems (or other injuries like, say, bum ankles)
2) It builds longer, leaner muscles compared to the more short and compact ones you get from weight-training.
3) It’s perfect for cross-training, as it can give your joints a break from the pavement pounding.
4) It increases flexibility
5) Strengthens your core, as well as the rest of your body.
6) It’s fun to channel your inner child and pretend to be a dolphin.
Here is the swim workout I did. It only took about 30 minutes, but left me feeling so much better.
SWIM WORKOUT #1
1*200 yd freestyle warm up
4*50 yd sprints with 15 seconds rest in between. 1st 25 freestyle, 2nd 25 butterfly
100 yard butterfly kick on back (really works the abs)
4*50 yd sprint with 15 second rest in between 1st 25 freestyle, 2nd 25 backstroke
100 yard back kick
Repeat the 4*50s and 100 kicks again
200 yd “Lung Buster” – First 50 breathe every 3 strokes, 2nd 50 breathe every 5 strokes, 3rd 50 breathe every 7 strokes, last 50 breathe every 9 strokes first 25, then swim the last 25 butterfly breathe every 2 strokes.
Warm down 150
TOTAL: 1,650yds (swimmer’s mile)
Obviously adjust to your own personal skill level. I was a swim instructor and swim coach for 3 years as well, so if you have any questions ask away and I’ll try to help!