Hand paddles add muscle-toning resistance to your stroke.
Swimming for at least 20 minutes several times a week is not only a great cardiovascular exercise, but the built-in resistance of water is great for toning the muscles in your arms, shoulders, core and legs. Kicking with a kickboard lets you focus your toning efforts on your lower body, and you can use a pull buoy to tone the muscles of your shoulders and arms. You can also enhance the effect of the water's natural resistance by adding fins, hand paddles, swim gloves, weights or drag to your swimming workout.1.
Kick with a kickboard for part of your warm-up and cooldown and add a few sets of kicking drills to your workout to further tone and strengthen the muscles in your legs. For best results, kick from your hips, keeping your knees straight but not locked, your ankles flexible and your toes pointed.2.
Maximize the toning benefits of the water's resistance by wearing fins while you do flutter or dolphin kicks with a kickboard or while swimming sets of freestyle, backstroke and butterfly. Not only do fins add resistance to your kicking efforts, but they can also help swimmers develop a more effective kick, as fins force your feet into proper kicking position.3.
Focus your toning efforts on the muscles in your upper body by pulling some sets with a pull buoy held between your thighs. A pull buoy, also called a float, is usually made of foam. Swimming with a pull buoy allows you to concentrate on using your arms to power your stroke without worrying about your kick.4.
Don a pair of hand paddles or swim gloves for added resistance during your pull sets or use them while swimming the whole stroke. Hand paddles and swim gloves offer resistance for added toning of your back, shoulder and arm muscles.5.
Add weights - specially designed for use in water - to your wrists and ankles to increase the intensity of your workout. This added resistance can help you burn more calories while toning and building muscle.6.
Wear a drag suit or drag belt for added resistance during your swimming workout for overall toning benefits. Swimming with a drag belt -- towing a buoyant, weighted ball or a parachute behind you -- can also help you improve your overall stroke since it "tugs" you back if your catch or pull is inefficient.
- Pull buoy
- Hand paddles
- Swim gloves
- Swim fins
- Wrist and ankle weights
- Drag belt