Swimming can be an excellent way to burn fat and increase your cardiovascular fitness.   Swimming is an incredibly effective total body workout.  When swimming, all the major muscle groups in your body are firing in succession to propel your body forward through the water.

This alone helps to increase your caloric burn, both while you’re swimming and after you’ve finished your swimming workout due to the increased metabolic demand.  If you are looking to burn fat quickly, maximizing your time by taking advantage of the total body workout in swimming may be the answer you have been searching for.

In addition to the total body effect of swimming, there are several other benefits, such as the low impact nature, cross training and injury prevention, and the resistance provided by the water.

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Due to the nature of water and its buoyant effect on the body, water exercise is often the choice of those who are overweight or have joint problems like arthritis.

Swimming provides the distinct opportunity for those who are overweight or have arthritis to still exercise at higher intensities without the joint stress that is typically associated with high intensity workouts because the water elicits a “weightless” effect on the body.

Swimming and other water exercise can also provide a unique opportunity to cross train.  Cross training is a practice utilized to minimize injury while working out.  It involves alternating training modalities on different days (such as alternating between days of running, elliptical training, and swimming) to prevent overtraining and overuse injuries.

Cross Training can also keep your workouts interesting!  Swimming allows the exerciser to continue to work the entire body and gain cardiorespiratory fitness, while using a different mode to obtain results.

The pool water also will provide resistance while swimming, meaning not only is your heart getting a good cardiovascular workout, but your muscles are also getting worked out.   This helps to decrease your time in the gym and give you more benefits in less time!

This swimming workout has been developed to help you gain maximal results in minimal time.  This workout is based on high intensity interval training (HIIT) principles.

HIIT workouts such as this one are designed to have periods of high intensity work, paired with recovery intervals that allow you enough rest to fully engage in the work interval again.  To get maximal benefits, only give yourself enough rest time between intervals to complete your next work interval.

hiit-swimming-workout_2

This HIIT workout uses an active recovery as “rest” in between work intervals.  For example, instead of taking a break from your work interval by completely resting, you will swim an “easy” lap, moving slowly enough to allow your body to recover and your heart rate to lower.

Finally, this workout can be completed using any of the major strokes (freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, or butterfly).  You can use all of the strokes or pick your favorite one when completing your workout.

An important idea to note is your technique while swimming.  If you are new to swimming, the freestyle (sometimes called crawl stroke) is the best option to start with.  To perform the crawl, you will be on your stomach in the water, your feet making a fluttering motion.

While your feet are fluttering, your arms will move forward in front of your body and pull the water, one at a time.  As your right arm moves forward, your left arm will be pulling the water passed your body.  You want to imagine dragging your right thumb against the sideline of your body (doing so, your elbow will flex to  make a triangle shape as it exits the top of the water).

Then your fingertips should enter the water with arm full extended, with your thumb pointing down.  Then pull the water towards your body, making an “S” shape with your hand.  Repeat on the other side.  This will help you to pull the water more efficiently.

HIIT Workout #1

Warm up for 5-10 minutes—Move slowly and pick up your pace slightly every 2 laps

Interval 1: Repeat 6 times

1.  Sprint 1 lap (25 yards)
2.  Recover 1 lap

Interval 2: Repeat 4 times

1.  Sprint 2 laps (50 yards)
2.  Recover 1 lap

Interval 3: Repeat 2 times

1.  Sprint 4 laps (100 yards)
2.  Recover 2 laps

Recovery: 3 minutes slow pace

Repeat Intervals 1, 2, and 3 with recovery one to two additional times

Cool Down—5 minutes slower pace, slowing more each lap

HIIT Workout #2

Warm up for 5-10 minutes—Move slowly and pick up your pace slightly every lap

Interval 1: Repeat 6 times

1.  Sprint 2 laps (50 yards)
2.  Recover 1 lap

Interval 2: Repeat 4 times

1.  Sprint 1 lap with kicking only (25 yards)
2.  Recover 1 lap
3.  Sprint 1 lap pulling only (25 yards)
4. Recover 1 lap

Interval 3: Repeat 6 times

1.  Sprint 2 laps (50 yards)
2.  Recover 1 lap

Recovery: 3 minutes slow pace

Repeat Intervals 1, 2, and 3 with 3 minute recovery one to two additional times

Cool Down—5 minutes slower pace, slowing more each lap

I hope you enjoy this HIIT swimming workout!  I think you’ll find that completing this workout, even once per week, will help melt any excess fat you have!  Remember to keep the intensity high to maximize your results!

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