Swimming is an excellent workout option for a wide variety of people. It is a full-body workout that can benefit anyone regardless of physical ability. Swimming is low impact, making it an accessible exercise for people who cannot perform other exercises due to injury or weakness. Simultaneously, it allows for significant improvements in strength and cardiovascular health.
Designing your Workout
The typical swimming workout consists of at least three parts: the warm-up, sets, and the warm-down. The warm-up helps swimmers raise their heart rates in preparation for the more intense part of the workout. The warm down is usually a slow to medium paced swim that brings the heart rate down to help preserve muscle and heart health.
Depending on the length and purpose of the workout, the sets may consist of one main set or a series of pre-sets leading up to one vigorous intense main set. Sets are made up of a variety of shorter swims on intervals that help the swimmer work on a specific skill.
Swimmers should design sets to help them work towards concrete and realistic goals. Common goals include swimming faster, swimming a longer distance, learning a new stroke, improving technique, or working toward a competition. These goals allow swimmers to design productive and fulfilling sets.
Setting an Interval
The interval is the amount of time allotted to the swimmer to complete a swim. Most lap pools have clocks at either end to help swimmers identify how long their swim has taken.
The interval length should take into account the skill of the swimmer, the goal of the set, and the swim’s purpose in the larger workout. For a 50-yard swim, a beginner might choose an interval of 1 minute 30 seconds, while a more advanced swimmer could do a faster interval of 40 seconds.
When to Get Help
For those who are otherwise in shape, swimming should be easy. Beginners who become out of breath or too tired to continue from simply staying afloat and maintaining a forward motion should consider outside help. This indicates that the swimmer needs to work on their technique.
Outside help can come in from formal swimming lessons or from self-help videos and articles online. While technique takes time to master, swimming with the right technique makes the sport considerably easier, safer, and more enjoyable.