For a workout sure to kick some abs, grab some swim fins and head for the pool. On top of the ready-made resistance you get with exercising in water, kicking with fins provides added resistance, helping you maximize the benefits of your water workout. Kicking with fins increases the amount of water you are moving with your legs, which results in increased resistance for the abdominal muscles used in a flutter kick.
Working out with fins in the pool is more than just toning your legs and abdominal muscles. Exercising in water, explains the American Council on Exercise, can be good cardiovascular exercise that helps reduce body fat and promotes flexibility, muscular strength and endurance. Water, which is denser than air, comes with that built-in resistance, which helps build strength and tone muscle.
If you want fins that will really work your abs, choose swim fins rather than dive fins. Swim fins have shorter blades than the cumbersome dive fins used in SCUBA, and swim fins, designed for competitive stroke development, are perfect for kicking drills that work on strengthening your muscles. In addition to their toning benefits, short-blade fins can help you whip up a speedy kick that works the abdominal muscles, gets your heart pumping and helps you burn calories.
Kicking With Fins
Fins are easier to put on in the water; the trick is to have your foot and the fin fully submerged. Keep your legs straight and toes pointed as you kick while keeping your knees and ankles loose. Think of the fins as extensions of your feet as you start with tiny kicks, letting your feet “wave” the fins up and down in a flutter kick. You’ll feel the resistance of the water as you kick but only if you keep your feet and fins completely under the water.
If you're ready to kick it, pull on the fins and get ready for some flutter kicks. You can tackle these drills while you are lying down or straight up. To do the drill lying down, you'll be kicking with a kickboard while you are lying prone in the water either on your front or back. To do the drills straight up, use a flotation belt or vest to help you stay upright in deep water and focus on your kick. For vertical kicking drills, head for deeper water -- deep enough so that your fins aren't sweeping the pool bottom.
Duration and Intensity
For the kickboard drills, sprint in sets of one or two lengths kicking as hard as you can for each set; alternate sets of small and large kicks and alternate kicking on your front and back. Do your vertical kicking drills in sets for about the amount of time it takes you to swim a length or two of the pool. To realize the health benefits, you'll need to work those abs at least two times a week, recommends the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, making sure to kick each set at a steady pace and at an intensity level that leaves you feeling that you can't kick anymore at the end of the set without slowing or resting.
Christy Ayala writes about recreation, sports, aquatics, healthy living, family and parenting, language development, organizational change, pets and animals. Ayala holds a master's degree in recreation administration from Aurora University’s George Williams College, a graduate certificate in organizational change from Hawaii Pacific University and a bachelor's degree in Spanish from the University of Missouri, St. Louis.