The Swimming Routine For Everyone

High-intensity interval training is by far the healthiest and best way to workout for most people. What are the options for this type of workout? Of course, you can run, bike and hit the weight room but there still continues to be the best workout possible and that's swimming. Swimming is cardio, strength, HIIT, and flexibility all wrapped up in one workout. Plus, even more importantly, swimming is restorative, meaning you can swim day after day and now suffer from overuse injuries. Are you yawning at the thought of simple swim laps. Here are 8 swimming workouts to try. 

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  • Warm up: Swim four laps of the pool. Each lap, count your strokes and rate your effort on a scale of one to five. The goal is to keep stroke counts the same each lap while maintaining an effort at three or below.
  • You are going to perform five rounds of four laps, each time focusing on a different skill. Start each round by swimming four to six strokes away from the wall without breathing, then swim back to the wall without breathing. This improves your focus. Do four sets of that exercise, then move on to the skill work.
  • Round one: Swim four 25-meter laps, starting each one without breathing for the first five strokes (try to maintain the same focus once you begin breathing). For these laps, focus on hanging your head and letting the water support it completely. You should find yourself looking more at the bottom of the pool than in front of you and your head should feel weightless.
  • Round two: Swim four 25-meter laps, starting each one without breathing for the first five strokes (try to maintain the same focus once you begin breathing). For these laps, focus on how your hands are entering the water. You want to try to cut a slot in the surface with your hand and then slide your forearm through the same slot your hand created (imagine sliding a letter into a mail slot at the post office). You will probably feel like your arm is entering the water much steeper and closer to your head than usual. Try not to make a sound or splash with your arm as it goes into the water.
  • Round three: Swim four 25-meter laps, starting each one without breathing for the first five strokes (try to maintain the same focus once you begin breathing). For these laps, focus on swimming taller. After you slide your arm through the slot in the water, reach as far forward as possible with it. Reach directly in front of your shoulder (don't cross your arm towards the center), slightly downhill (the hand should be below your bodyline in the water) and try to eliminate bubbles.
  • Round four: Swim four 25-meter laps, starting each one without breathing for the first five strokes (try to maintain the same focus once you begin breathing). For these laps, you aren't allowed to kick. Let your legs follow behind you with as little effort as possible. Your upper body is doing all the work.
  • Round five: You can either pick your favorite from the first four rounds and repeat it, or do each of the first four skill sessions for one of the 25-meter laps.
  • Finisher: Repeat the warm-up but this time focus on one of the skills you just learned and see how your effort levels and stroke counts compare.
  • Jump into the pool and swim 100 meters using any stroke you'd like. Get out of the water and perform 10 burpees. Get back into the water and do a flutter or freestyle kick (keep arms out in front of you and only use feet to propel you forward) for 50 meters. Place your hands on the ledge of the pool and pull your body up and out of the pool, then lower yourself back down into the pool slowly five times. Do four sets of this entire series of moves (starting with the 100-meter swim).
  • Swim a 100-meter individual medley (25 meters of butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, and freestyle) and then immediately go into a 50-meter butterfly as hard as you can.
  • Place your hands on the ledge of the pool with your back facing the wall. Lift yourself up and out of the pool, then lower yourself back down into the water slowly six times.
  • Swim another 100-meter individual medley, then immediately go into a 50-meter backstroke as hard as you can.
  • Get out of the pool and lie on your back with your legs straight. Engage your core and lift legs up until they are vertical. Push your legs up and lift hips off ground. Lower legs back down to ground slowly. Do six reps.
  • Get back into the pool, perform a third 100-meter individual medley, this one immediately followed by a 50-meter backstroke as hard as you can.
  • Get out of the pool for six quick push-ups.
  • Get back into the pool for your fourth and final 100-meter individual medley, finishing with a 50-meter freestyle swim as hard as you can.
  • Head to the pool deck and hold a plank for as long as possible. Rest, repeat holding a plank for as long as possible, then cool down with an easy 100-meter swim.
  • Warm up on the pool deck with 60 jumping jacks, 10 spiderman step-ups (start in a plank position with elbows out to sides and lift one knee up to reach your elbow, then the other), and 20 air squats. Do three sets.
  • Stand in the shallow end of the pool and do high knees for 10 meters. Do three sets.
  • Perform dolphin dives the entire length of the pool in the shallow end. Dolphin dives are where you dive down, touch the bottom of the pool, bring your feet to meet your hands on the bottom of the pool, and explode up with your feet, pushing your body up and out of the water. Do three sets.
  • Hold on to a kickboard and kick yourself for 200 meters.
  • Perform five rounds of 100 meter freestyle, resting for 15 seconds in between them. Time yourself and try to keep your time the same for all five sets. Rest for one minute.
  • Perform seven rounds of 50 meter freestyle, resting for 10 seconds in between them. Try to keep your time the same for all seven sets. Rest for 90 seconds.
  • Perform eight rounds of 50 meter broken IM (50 meters of butterfly, 50 meters of backstroke, 50 meters of breaststroke, 50 meters of freestyle, then repeat for a total of eight 50-meter swims), resting for 20 seconds in between them. Try to keep your time the same for all eight sets. Rest for one minute.
  • Perform seven rounds of 50 meter freestyle sprints, trying to make each sprint faster than the one before and resting 10 seconds between them.
  • Cool down with an easy 300-meter freestyle or backstroke.