Swimming is an effective full-body workout that burns calories and tones your muscles. Strength training on land -- out of the water -- makes your legs stronger, improving your speed and reducing your risk of injury while swimming. You don't need to join a gym or make your workouts longer to incorporate these exercises; perform them at home while you watch TV. Strength train three times each week for firm, toned legs.
Perform squats to strengthen your leg muscles -- and firm up your butt. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, arms hanging by your sides.
Stick your butt out behind you and slowly bend your knees as if you were about to sit in a chair. Stop when your thighs are parallel to the floor.
Hold this position for two or three seconds, then return to standing. Repeat 10 times. Make this exercise more difficult by squatting while standing on one foot only, or hold dumbbells in your hands for added resistance.
Strengthen leg muscles with lunges to improve your swimming kick. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and arms hanging by your sides.
Step forward as far as you can with your right foot. Slowly bend your knees, lowering your body toward the floor.
Stop when your right thigh is parallel to the floor-- before your left knee touches the floor. Hold for two or three seconds, then push off with your right foot and return to the starting position.
Repeat 10 times on each leg and work up to three sets in a row. Hold dumbbells in your hands while you lunge to make this exercise more challenging.
Lateral Straight Leg Raise
Strengthen the muscles along the outside of your thighs with lateral straight leg raises. This exercise will improve your breaststroke kick.
Lie on the floor on your left side, legs straight and resting on top of each other. Support your head with your left hand.
Lift your right leg up toward the ceiling as high as possible. Hold at the top for two or three seconds. Slowly lower back down. Repeat 10 times. Work up to three sets in a row on both sides. Attach ankle weights to make this exercise more challenging.
Clam Knee Raises
Tone the muscles that rotate your legs out away from your body with clam knee raises. Lie on your left side, supporting your head with your left hand.
Bend your knees to 90 degrees and rest them on top of each other.
Keeping your heels together, lift your right knee up toward the ceiling -- like opening a clamshell. Hold for two or three seconds, then lower back down. Repeat 10 times on each side and work up to three sets in a row.
Aubrey Bailey has been writing health-related articles since 2009. Her articles have appeared in ADVANCE for Physical Therapy & Rehab Medicine. She holds a Bachelor of Science in physical therapy and Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University at Buffalo, as well as a post-professional Doctor of Physical Therapy from Utica College. Dr. Bailey is also a certified hand therapist.