If you’re planning to get fit in the water this year, you’re in luck! We've pulled together a four week swim workout plan to help you set and achieve your goals, whilst having fun and learning valuable new skills during your new year swim journey!
Why start swimming in 2016
Swimming is a sport that you can do all year round and feel great doing! With the added bonus of being a low impact, whole body workout, swimming is a great way to get fit in 2016.
Before you start work out, you first need to figure out what you want to achieve, whether that is feeling confident in the water or swimming the length of the channel - set your goal as a starting point!
Commitment is the key to achieving your goals, and you want to be able to commit to a program that is realistic for a short period of time, that has achievable goals. For example, committing to swimming for 1 hr a week for 4 weeks will make a big change to your fitness levels and is achievable to fit in with a busy lifestyle. Remember, the key to sticking to your goal is consistency and repetition.
Ensure your program also allows for flexibility. Our lives change week to week but the one absolute key point is knowing that you will make time to go to the pool at some point each week to look after your body.
Four Week Swim Plan
Week 1: Building up your stamina
During week 1, start with a very basic workout focusing purely on swimming a smooth long stroke and building up your stamina.
Swimming in sets of two is a great starting point - try swimming 2 lengths with a 30 second break, and repeat.
You can mix up the strokes if you wish, the first week of the plan is not about pushing to a high intensity but sustaining the ability to breathe a smooth rhythmical breath for every lap that is swum.
Week 2: Legs
In week 2, try bringing a focus area such as the legs. Begin your workout with a nice and easy warm up with any stroke at a slow pace for around 2 / 3 lengths.
Once warmed up, it's time to focus on the legs. Move onto kicking only with a kickboard to isolate the legs, aiming to complete 4 lengths using the board and resting for 30 seconds in between each length.
Once you have completed four lengths using the kickboard, go back to swimming a full stroke for 3 laps then rest. Repeat this 2 times.
Top tip: For the greatest body workout, try to kick with your legs under the water and make minimal splashes as you swim! Remember this is not about getting out of the pool and feeling exhausted, but working your body and being able to breathe at the same time.
Week 3: Arms
This week now the focus becomes on arms. Again start with a gentle warm up, starting off where we left from in week 2, swimming 3 laps then rest then repeat 3 times.
Once warm, grab a pull buoy and swim one length just using your arms. Ensure that your stroke is smooth, the more splashes you make the harder and less efficient it becomes.
Once you have done this for 4 laps stopping at each end, begin 4 laps of the full stroke with no pull buoy. If at all you are finding that you lose your breathing rhythm or start to feel tight in your chest, stop and rest to get your breath back.
Week 4: Bringing Everything Together
During the final week of your programme, it's all about bringing everything together and pushing your body a little further.
Begin with a warm up for up to 10 minutes. The challenge here can be how many lengths can you swim in this amount of time, not as fast as you can as remember it is a warm up.
Then grab a kickboard - for this exercise you are going to kick for one length slowly, 30 second rest, followed by a second length as fast as you can pushing your body to its limit. Repeat this circuit 3 times.
Now, try an additional 2 lengths nice and slowly, trying not to make any splashes (it's much harder than it sounds). Follow these lengths by grabbing a pull buoy and swimming 2 lengths just using your arms to build up your strength - Rep