Swimming is a great full body workout because it uses all your muscle groups. But the benefits of spending time in the pool don't stop there. Swimming lowers your risk of certain life-threatening illnesses. Swimming workouts are also low-impact so they can help you avoid damage to your joints. Training to be a swimmer requires time in the pool doing drills that build your speed and endurance. But you'll also need to spend time on dry land building muscle.
Doing drills at various speeds in the pool will help you be able to swim faster and also build more power to swim longer distances. Start at a slow pace and swim six lengths of the pool or 300 meters. Keep in mind that a standard Olympic size pool is 50 meters long. Move to a medium pace while swimming another 300 meters. Swim at a fast pace for 200 meters. Return to a medium pace for 300 meters. Finish with 300 meters at a slow pace. Do this series of drills once a week.
Pushups with Leg Raise
If you want to be a strong swimmer, it's also important to take time to train your muscles on dry land. Pushups with a single leg raise will work your arms, hips, chest and shoulders. Begin on your hands and knees. Straighten both legs behind you to reach a plank position. Your feet should be flexed. Lower your body until your chest touches the floor. Keep your back straight and head in line with your spine. As you push up from the floor, lift up your left foot. Return to your starting position with both feet down. Repeat the pushup, lifting up your other leg. Repeat this move up to 12 times on each leg. Do two or three sets total.
Lunge with Overhead Press
Doing lunges with an overhead press will also engage a variety of muscles you'll need in the pool. Stand with a medicine ball in front of your chest. Slowly step forward with your right foot. Make sure your foot lands heel first. Lower your weight slowly over your right foot. As you move forward, push the medicine ball up over your head. Keep your stomach muscles tight. While still in the lunge position, lower the ball back to your chest. Push off with your right foot and return to a standing position. Repeat this with each leg eight to 12 times. Do two or three sets total.
Swimming workouts burn a lot of calories, so it's important to make sure you are fueling up on the right foods. A few simple math equations will help you figure out the right balance of carbohydrates, protein and fat to eat each day. Take your body weight times 2.3. This is how many carbohydrates you should try to consume. Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are all good sources of carbohydrates. Multiply your body weight times 0.55 to get how many grams of protein you should eat. Chicken, fish and eggs are all good sources of protein. Fat is also important. Multiply your body weight times 0.45 to find out how much fat you should be eating. Choose heart-healthy fats such as olive oil or nuts.
Elizabeth Peterson has been a reporter since 2005, working in television, radio and online. Specializing in health and environmental coverage, she has contributed to MSNBC and several local affiliates. Peterson earned a Bachelor of Arts in journalism.