Since we have been able to start getting into our pool now I have been trying a few things to do some resistance and cardiovascular training in the pool and thought I would write up what I have been doing.
For cardio I have been swimming lengths – the pool is only 32 feet long so they aren’t long lengths but I have been trying to do them in one breath. So far after two or three of these I am definitely feeling that I am working. I don’t have a set number of how many of these I am doing yet as I am still feeling them out and the number I do also depends on who is in the pool with me…but I try to do a few whenever I am in the pool.
For resistance training I am concentrating on upper body as I figure between the running and splashing around in the pool with the kids for hours on end my legs are getting enough work as it is right now. I am currently doing 2 different back and forth motions that each work a set of opposing muscles – presumably making the work out a bit more efficient that traditional weights (even though there will be limitations on how strong you will get doing these exercises).
Chest / Back combo –
I stand at the transition point where the shallow end starts to break toward the deep end in such a way that I can brace one leg in the shallow end with my knee bent and the other on the slope so that I can push back against movement the other direction (my back is to the deep end). I usually have my right leg in the shallow end with my knee bent and my foot flat on the floor of the pool – my left leg is on the slope to the deep end and is slightly bent and my toes (but not whole foot) are flat against the sloped surface.
I start with my arms fully submerged and spread eagle with my hands open but fingers held tightly together (so they form a paddle) – I then do a fly motion (similar to doing dumbbell flies) where I keep my arms straight and draw my hands to each other as quickly as I can manage (more resistance the faster you push – if you want less resistance you can vary the speed or open your fingers a bit). While doing this Newton’s laws dictate that your body will be pushed backwards toward the deep end of the pool – I counteract that push by bracing with my bent leg in the shallow end and tightening my core.
Once that motion is complete I reverse it and draw my arms (still straight and hands forming paddles) back to the spread eagle position I started in as quickly as I can. While doing this one you will be pushing yourself toward the shallow end of the pool but probably with less force than the motion from the previous action. I counteract this push by pushing down on my legs. I generally find I am tightening my core during this motion as well.
I try to do 20 complete forward and back motions per set – 3 sets.
Biceps / Triceps –
I start in a similar position for my legs as the chest / back activity but start with my arms straight at my side with my hands forming paddles and the palms of my hands facing forwards.
I do a standard bicep curl motion as quickly as I can while keeping the hands shaped as paddles. To complete a full range of motion for the biceps you will probably need to be in deep enough water to allow the hands to complete the movement without leaving the water (most likely you will need to be around shoulder depth in the water).
Once the motion is complete I reverse it and push my arms back down in a motion similar to a standard tricep pull down as quickly as I can. When I do this motion I make sure the hands are pushed a bit further back from the starting position so that I am sure I am pushing out the full range of motion for the triceps.
I try to do 20 of these reps per set and 3 sets total while I am in the pool.
I suspect I won’t gain strength with these exercises as fast as I would with traditional weights but they are relatively quick and easy to pull off a set or 2 while I am just playing around in the pool with kids. This means I am doing the exercises more frequently than I would most likely get with weights right now.
I have been doing these particular exercises for under a week and I am definitely noticing the toning of the muscles – time will tell if I will continue to see improvements in definition and strength but so far things are looking pretty positive.