One look at Olympic swimmer Dara Torres’s lean and fit body and it’s no wonder that swimming gets props for being an ideal full-body workout. But if your income or home isn’t akin to that of an Olympic medalist – large enough to have your own lap pool – then you can use the next best thing: a stationary pool tether. The pool tether holds you in place as you swim, allowing you to mimic the workout of swimming laps in any pool, despite the size. And swimming regularly may earn you gold for best buff body on your block.
Install the stationary tether in your pool. The installation process will depend on the tether system model that you purchase. Types of tethers include simple models that tie to a swim ladder and are kept afloat with a buoy, or those that use suction cups to adhere the rope to the side of the pool. More involved models consist of poles that are attached to the side of the pool and contain a rope for the tether. Follow the manufacturer's instructions to ensure proper installation.
Attach the tether to your body. The way in which it fastens depends on the model. Most tethers will wrap around your waist or ankle with a specifically designed belt. Fasten the belt to you according to the manufacturer's directions.
Start swimming your preferred stroke. All strokes can be practiced with a stationary tether, including freestyle, breaststroke and backstroke. Start slowly and focus on your form; it can take some time to get used to swimming with the tether. Focus on keeping your body straight while swimming, as there is a tendency to drift off to one side.
Swim drills as you would in a lap pool. Warm up for at least five minutes by swimming at a slow pace, and then gradually accelerate your speed. Include a cool-down period for five to 10 minutes at the end of your workout where you are again swimming at a slower speed.
Plan workouts that contain time intervals, since you are unable to swim laps. For example, after your warm-up, swim freestyle for five minutes at an exertion rate of 4 on a scale of 1 to 10. Switch to breaststroke for five minutes with an exertion rate of 5 or 6, followed by two minutes of backstroke with a medium exertion rate and then possibly three minutes kicking with a kickboard. Continue the pattern until you reach your targeted time frame for the workout.
Stretch for 10 to 15 minutes after your swimming workout. Swimming engages all of the muscle groups in your body; stretching each individual group can help to improve your flexibility and minimize stiff muscles.
- Incorporate traditional swimming props, such as pull buoys and kickboards, to mix up your swimming workouts.
- Consult with a health-care provider before beginning a swimming program for the first time, especially if you are new to swimming or if you have not worked out for a while.
Beth Rifkin has been writing health- and fitness-related articles since 2005. Her bylines include "Tennis Life," "Ms. Fitness," "Triathlon Magazine," "Inside Tennis" and others. She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Temple University.