You can achieve two goals in one by toning up your body for summer by practicing vital swim moves. Mastering these moves will give you the skills to safely enjoy your time by the pool, lake or ocean side as the days warm up. Furthermore, the demanding movements will quickly tighten up your body by shaping the muscles in your arms, legs, back and abdomen. Here are four moves to learn and perfect during your trips to the gym pool.
When kids go to swimming class, instructors teach the breaststroke first to set the foundation for the other moves. The great thing about the breaststroke is that you can start off slowly, and then work your way up to incredibly fast swim speeds. You will need to combine a quick frog kick with an outward push of the arms. Since you keep a large portion of your upper body out of the water with each stroke, you will quickly notice the demands put on your back, shoulder and core muscles.
When executed correctly, the freestyle stroke, or front crawl, is definitely the fastest way to move through the water. Since your body stays level throughout the movement cycle, water resistance doesn’t impede your forward progress like with the breaststroke or butterfly. This move combines alternating sweeping arm movements with the dolphin kick. The relatively flat position used for this move puts the arms and legs to work the most.
The back crawl, or backstroke, is the only move you will perform while lying belly up on the water. You will alternate pushing through the water with one arm and resting with the other. Your feet and legs will help propel you to the end of the lane using a flutter kick movement. You can also use the dolphin kick if you find that works your leg muscles more. The backstroke utilizes the muscles throughout your body, including the core, for stabilization and movement.
The butterfly stroke combines coordinated arm strokes and powerful dolphin kicks. Unlike the other three moves, you cannot complete a lap across the pool without perfecting the coordinated movements. You will not make it very far at all until you learn to kick and push at the right moments. To better synchronize your body, focus on breathing during recovery at the top of the stroke. When you make it down the lane using the butterfly stroke, you will definitely feel the burn of progress throughout your body.
Although you may spend a lot of time just perfecting your coordination with each stroke, the time you spend just moving around in the water burns calories and builds muscle. Once you get into the rhythm of each swim move, you may notice that your fitness progress quickly accelerates with each session. You will likely find your strength, flexibility and endurance noticeably increasing. You can increase difficulty by extending the length of time you spend swimming versus resting.