Once you’ve got to grips with the idea of doing exercises in the pool other than simply swimming, it’s surprisingly easy to fit in short routines which will make a difference to specific areas of your body. You could combine these with your usual swimming session, or incorporate them into a full work-out if you prefer.
The stomach and abdominal muscles are an area of concern for lots of people. Maybe you want to look good in your swimsuit on the beach, lose a bit of weight after over-indulging at all those summer barbecues, or tone up after having a baby. Here are a few short and simple exercises you can do to focus on your tummy muscles and keep your waistline toned.
Treading water is a fantastic work-out for all the muscle groups of the body, but is particularly good for your abs. Make sure you keep them tight as you tread water for one minute, rest, and repeat.
Basic: Stand against the side of the pool at a point where you can comfortably put your feet flat on the bottom. Hold on to the side for support and balance. Bring your knees up to your chest and hold before returning to standing position. Next bring your knees up again to your right side and hold, and repeat on your left side. Alternate between the three positions, returning to standing in between each time. Once you’re comfortable doing this you can increase the number of repetitions you do: begin with 5-10, and aim to build up to 20.
Advanced: Move to the deep end of the pool, and position yourself with your back to the wall, holding the edge for support. This time, bring both your legs up until they are parallel with the surface of the water, hold for 10 seconds and then bend your knees in and lower your legs again. Repeat, again working to increase your repetitions as you become more used to the exercise.
Hold on to the side of the pool and extend your legs out straight behind you. Keep your knees and ankle together, hold your stomach muscles tight and move your hips by bending your knees and kicking up and down like a mermaid. You can do this on your front or back, or if you want to do a moving dolphin kick for even more of a challenge, try holding a float out in front of you as you kick your way around the pool.
This exercise works like a sit-up, and will give your abdominal muscles a great work-out. While you’re in the pool, face the wall and hold on to the edge. Lean back and manoeuvre yourself so that your legs are on the side of the pool, your knees are at 90 degree angles and your bottom is against the pool wall. Cross your arms over your chest and ‘sit up’, bringing your chest as close to your knees as possible. Make sure you are controlled when you lower yourself back into the water. Try to do 15 of these, have a short rest and repeat.