Getting the abs you want can be one of the biggest fitness challenges you’ll face. You need to find exercises that will help you tone your abs. Swimming is the perfect aerobic exercise for this because you’re actually using all of your body. The body parts that aren’t actively moving are still supporting your core against the water resistance. Exercises during swimming provide you support, resistance, opportunities to build strength and it is low impact.
Fitness experts recommend swimming and water workouts because they strengthen the core and the lower back. Core strength is critical to reducing back pain, balance, and posture.
The following six exercises are great for improving and toning your abs in your backyard pool, but always remember that if you feel fatigued to stop, get out of the pool, and rest.
You’ll need: A Kickboard
Kickboard kicks are often used in beginner swimming lessons. Hold a kickboard with your arms outstretched, and start kicking your feet. As you swim, try to imagine a string pulling your navel towards your spine, and further away from the bottom of the pool. Swim for the length of the pool if you can.
Pikes are good for working on your abs and your arms. Take a standing position at a depth where the water is up to your neck. Pull your knees up to your chest. Lean back, while extending and straightening your legs. Your body will be in a V shape, and your bottom should be pointing to the bottom of the pool. Hold the position for as long as you can. Keep yourself floating using your arms, by circling them in the water. Hold for as long as you can, then rest. Repeat 10 times.
Tic-Toc works on your obliques – the muscles on your sides – as well as your abs. Stand in the shallow depths of the pool, keeping your feet a should width apart. Lean over to one side until you have submerged your arm up to the elbow. Move back to the upright position, and make sure to squeeze your abs as you do. Repeat on the other side. Try to do 8 repetitions.
You’ll need: a floating device.
Flutter kicks work on your hips, core muscles, and your buttocks. Use a part of the pool where your feet can’t touch the bottom, and hold onto the edge of the pool, or a floating device. Keep your upper body floating, and leave your legs hanging towards the bottom of the pool. Scissor kick your feet quickly, keeping your legs straight, and your toes pointed downwards. Keep doing this for as long as you can. When you are able to, you might want to try this exercise without holding onto the pool, or a floating device.
You’ll need: a kickboard
Dolphin kicks can help improve your lung capacity and strengthen your core muscles. Start with your arms outstretched, and with your hands clasped together. Alternatively, you can hold onto a kickboard. Tighten your core muscles, and move your body in a wave type motion. Use this motion to propel yourself forwards. Push your chest down, keep your hips up, then push your hips down and keep your chest up. Try to travel the length of the pool if you can.
You’ll need: a pull buoy, or an ankle band
A pull buoy is a small buoy that helps you stay afloat, and can be found in many sporting goods stores.
Put the pull buoy between your thighs or ankles to help float your hips and legs to the surface. Then just do a crawl stroke. This means that you alternate your arms in a circular motion behind you and over your head, keep your feet together, without kicking, and let the buoy keep your legs afloat. This allows you to exercise your upper body. An ankle band does pretty much the same but it is a little more challenging.
Remember to keep your core tight, and don’t let your lower body sink. Swim for the length of the pool if you can.
Whenever you’re exercising in the water, make sure you pay attention to your body. Make note of how much you’ve done when you feel muscle fatigue. Keep to that limit until you’ve built up more fitness, strength, and stamina.
Swimming is not only a great workout, but it can be extremely refreshing during the hot summer months. Just remember that if you feel tired, or pain, get out of the pool and rest. As with any new exercise routine, talk to your physician before starting, just to make sure that they have no concerns.