If you are looking for a good cardio workout that also helps boost arm strength, swimming is one of the best things out there. Soft on your muscles, you can swim even when injury stops you from performing many other sports. Here are a few great ways to work in a swimming workout that focuses on improving your upper body strength and your cardio.
Try to find a time when your pool is not so crowded so you can do laps at your own pace without being disrupted by kids or other people who want to go faster than you. I like to go in the morning, when my indoor pool hall sets out tea candles and creates a nice relaxing atmosphere.
1) The crawl – This is hands down the best stroke if you are interested in building your upper body strength and improving cardio. It is a perfect combination of training that emphasizes both targets., but if you are not an experienced swimmer, this can be a challenge. Work on doing at least 4 laps in your pool of crawl stroke and attempt to increase your crawl laps each week.
2) Butterfly – This stroke is often considered the most challenging, perhaps because it uses your entire body and is so easy to get wrong, but it is also great for targeting the upper body. That said, you might want to work with a swim coach if you have not gotten help learning your butterfly stroke lately. You don’t want to do more harm than good! If you are just getting started, try a lap or two of butterfly and increase when you begin to feel more comfortable.
3) Breaststroke – This is often the most comfortable stroke, you keep your head above water, you use both your arms and legs equally, and it is easier to take it slow. This is a fine place to start and will still get you a decent workout. Consider it the swimming equivalent of taking a nice brisk walk. It is great for helping to keep your arms in shape and making it easier for you to do the other strokes successfully.
4) Treading water – Another option, if you are a nervous swimmer, is to focus on treading water for a long period of time. Keep your upper body in motion the entire time, even if you feel you are being a bit excessive. If you want to improve your cardio and arm strength, you need to move those arms!