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It can be hard to keep your motivation when the summer months come around with their searing heat. But instead of sweating at the gym, why not switch things up and make a nice, cool pool your gym for a day? Pools are great because they work out muscle groups you might not be hitting with your regular routine — it’s just a better full-body exercise. But we’re not here to tell you to splash around and hope for the best. We’ve gathered a handful of different water-friendly workouts to fit into your summertime schedule.
No helmet is needed for this bicycle-inspired calorie burner! Rest your arms behind you, supporting yourself with the side of the pool or a foam noodle. Now move your legs like you’re pumping the pedals of a stationary bicycle. Keep it going for three to five minutes. This one is great for your core and legs.
Kickin’ on the Edge
Get ready for your quads, abs and hamstrings to feel the burn. Grab the edge of the pool with both hands and flatten yourself out with your face down in the water. Stick your legs straight out and start kicking hard for about 20-30 seconds, breathing to the side every five seconds or so. Repeat four or five times and then take a much deserved rest.
You’ve tried it on land — now it’s time to bring jogging to the wonderful world of water! Take a proper running stance (align your ears, shoulders and hips) so that you work your core instead of your shoulders or legs. Now jog the length of the shallow end of the pool (or anywhere your head can stay above water) and back again. To really strengthen your stabilizing muscles, run in a zigzag from one end to the other, and then try running back through the currents.
Buoyant Ball Challenge
The name of the game here is keeping yourself upright. Adopt a lunge position and hold a small beach ball in front of your stomach underwater. Be sure to keep your shoulders down and back. Use your balance and core to hold the position for 30 seconds, and then switch the leg you’re lunging on. Repeat for this side and hold for another 30 seconds.
The Ladder “Pool-Up”
Executing a pullup on dry land is a pretty impressive feat. But here in the water, your body is a lot easier to lift up. (Thank you, rules of gravity!) Simply use the railing or ladder on the side of the pool to lift yourself up and partly out of the water. Then lower and repeat as many times as you feel comfortable with. Chin-up position will work your biceps, and pullup position will strengthen your back, lats and shoulders.
Wide Water Claps
For an exercise that focuses on your chest and back, look no further. Below the surface of the water, stand with your knees bent, feet shoulder-width apart and arms stretched out in front of you. Flip your hands so both palms face outward, and move your arms through the water to the sides and then behind you so your chest is pushed forward. Without rounding your back, flip your hands back around so palms face each other and move arms back together in a clapping motion. Repeat 10-15 times.
Don’t be afraid to venture into the deep end of the pool for this one — you want to make sure your shoulders are just barely submerged. Keeping your back straight, push off the bottom of the pool and tuck your knees up into your stomach. Keep your arms straight out to your sides for balance and make an upward jumping motion when popping and tucking. Do this 10-20 times and you’ll feel the burn in your legs and core.
So the next time you take a dip in the pool, remember that you can use that space for so much more than Marco Polo! Do you have a regular routine when it comes to swimming? What does your summertime exercise scene look like? Let us know in the comments!