Fitness & workouts

Turn your swim into a workout

Love swimming and want to get fitter? With a few easy steps, you can turn your pool sessions into a workout

Swimming is excellent for fitness, as it uses a lot of muscles that are idle in everyday life. Once you have the hang of it, you may want to up the ante. We’ve found six training tricks to help you become a real water babe.

1. Use as many strokes as possible – breaststroke, front crawl, backstroke – to work different muscle groups.

2. Count your strokes, as this encourages you to make longer strokes with your arms, in turn helping you become faster in the water. If you count an average of 25 strokes per length, try aiming for 23.

3. Getting your breathing right is vital to help expand your lungs and make you more efficient. Try the front crawl and aim to breathe every five strokes for two lengths, then every four strokes and finally every three.

4. Use hand paddles or a pull buoy to help work shoulder and arm muscles. Alternate with a kickboard (float) for legs-only lengths.

5. Keep moving to burn more calories. Tread water or try aqua jogging with a floatation belt between laps, to keep your heart rate up while you take a break from lap swimming.

6. Use swimming as a warm up or cool down to your regular workouts. It can get your heart rate up before a class, or move blood through your muscles to help them recover after a workout.