Five Swimming Drills to Build Muscle, Drop Weight, and Give Your Joints a Break

by Lindsay Williams, Aquatics Director

1. Kick Drills

Hold a kickboard in front of your body at arm’s length. Tighten your core muscles while you kick across the length of a pool. Try these alternate kicks to target different muscle groups:

  • Flutter Kick: Legs are extended straight back, in line with your body, as you kick them up and down.
  • Frog Kick: Bend your knees and bring your feet together, drawing your legs up toward your body (like a frog’s). Next, straighten your legs as far as you can, and then quickly bring them back up again.
  • Butterfly Kick: Bring your legs together completely from your thighs to your feet. Point your toes. Use your hips to kick your legs, keeping them together, acting as a fin to push through the water.

Swimmers should complete 150 meters of kicking.

2. Breaststroke and Butterfly Drill

Full body strokes like the butterfly and breaststroke engage your core muscles and improve endurance and speed.

Swimmers should complete 10 25-meter swims with 15-second rest intervals between each.

3. Water Running

This exercise provides the high-intensity cardio aspect of running without the punishing impact of striking on a hard surface. Essentially, you run through the water just as you would outdoors. The water should be just below your neck, your back should be straight, your arms should be bent at the elbow, and your hands balled into fists as you pump them through the water. Run as hard as you can.

Do 3 rounds of 5-minute running intervals.

4. Leg and Core Toners

Stand with your back against the side of the pool, and your arms extended backward holding the edge of the pool on each side. Then, pull your legs up toward the surface, keeping them together until they’re extended straight out in front of you. Next, move your legs outward to a V-position and then back together. Keep them together, and move back down to the starting position. Keep your movements controlled, engaging your abs and glutes to complete each motion.

Continue pulling them up, out, in and down for 3 sets of 20 reps.

5. Water Crunches

Float in the water on your back perpendicular to the side of the pool. Put your legs, from the knees up, on the deck of the pool, while the remainder of your body is flat in the water. Use your abdominal muscles to pull your upper body up out of the water as far as you can. Use your muscles again to lower your body back into the water.

Do 3 sets of 20 reps.

When Should My Child Start Swim Lessons?

Learning to swim should be a priority for every family. It’s an important life skill that can play a key role in helping to prevent drowning—a top cause of death among children. Children, and their parents, need to learn how to swim to help keep time in the water safe and fun!

Recent studies suggest that water survival skills training and swim lessons can help reduce drowning risk for children between ages 1-4. Classes that include both parents and their children also are a good way to introduce good water safety habits and start building swim readiness skills. Children develop at different rates, and not all are ready to begin swim lessons at exactly the same age. When making your decision, keep your child’s emotional maturity, physical and developmental abilities and limitations, and comfort level in the water in mind. If your child seems ready, it’s a good idea to start lessons now.

By their 4th birthday, most children are ready for swim lessons. At this age, they usually can learn basic water survival skills such as floating, treading water, and getting to an exit point. By age 5 or 6, most children in swim lessons can learn the front crawl.

Remember, swim lessons don’t make kids “drown-proof.” Always keep in mind that swim lessons are just one of several important layers of protection needed to help prevent drowning. Another layer includes constant, focused supervision when your child is in or near a pool or any body of water. It is also essential to block access to pools during non-swim time.

If you’re ready to start your child (or yourself!) in lessons or to continue with lessons, our next session starts on February 4th! We offer all levels at several different times throughout the day. We also have parent/child classes, adult lessons and swim team. If you’re interested in a specific time, please email us at aquatics@bellinghamathleticclub.com. If you’d like to sign up, please call or stop by the front desk!

Finally, February is referral month at BAC. If you refer a friend to our program and they sign up for a session, you will receive a $5 credit towards lessons. Talk to our aquatics director or the front desk for more information.