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What You Need to Know About Swimming for Exercise

What You Need to Know About Swimming for Exercise

Swimmers know that this time of year, during the post-Olympic glow, is when the local lap lanes become a whole lot more crowded.

With a brand new swimsuit, goggles in hand, and stomach bursting with pride and motivation after watching the top swimmers in the world race over the course of a week, an intrepid wave of new and returning swimmers head to their local lap swims to take on the sport of swimming.

For some, watching the Olympics has gotten them excited to get back into the water, while for others, it’s their first foray into organized swimming.

You have a few different options for what to do:

  • Hit up the local lap swim. Almost every neighborhood pool has scheduled lap swims scattered over the course of the day. Late afternoon is typically one of the harder times to get pool time, as club teams, lessons, and other aquatic programs like synchro take advantage of the after-school hours to schedule programming. Swimming at your own pace is fun and safe in terms of the challenge. You can progress at your own pace, although the big limitation is that with no one to instruct you, there are some technical improvements to be missed out on.
  • Join a local club team. USA Swimming has nearly 3,000 club teams spread across the United States, so if you are a kid and you are looking to get competitive with the sport, you can start here by searching for a team in your area.
  • Sign up with a Masters team. There are heaps of benefits of swimming masters — they take everyone from newbies to former Olympians, meaning that whether you are dipping in for the first time or getting back into your age group hero days, there is a lane for you. You can learn more about whether there is a club near you here.

Building a Swim Workout

Assuming that you want to get a few sessions in on your own or you want to supplement the swimming workouts you are already getting, here is how to build your own swim workout.

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There are 4 parts to your typical swimming workout.

  1. The warm-up. If you have worked out in any capacity at any point in your life, you know the purpose behind this. Start with a low intensity to loosen up the arms and legs. How much you want to do varies with the workout at hand, but devote 20% of your total workout time. Throw in a bunch of kick work — it will really help increase your core temperature.
  2. Drill/Pre-set. Here is where we set the stage for the main set that is to come. Feeling loosey goosey, we escalate the intensity and attention to technique. Alternating efforts of moderate-intensity swimming with drill work is one of my favorite ways to go about this. For the drill work, pick those that reflect what you need to improve on the most in your stroke.
  3. The Main-set. The bread and butter! This is where the bulk of the hard work is done. What you end up doing here is unique to you and your goals in the water. For straight aerobic work, you could swim a series of 100’s with about 10 seconds rest in between, or unleash some high-end speed with a set of sprint 25’s and 50’s with a little bit more rest.
  4. The warm-down. Now that you have worked your butt off, it is time to kickstart the recovery process with a structured cool down. Depending on the intensity of your workout, the warm-down should last about 10-15% of your total workout (so 5-10 minutes for an hour workout). Remember to keep your technique intact and swim out the lactate and neuromuscular fatigue so that you can come back and take another healthy swing at tomorrow’s workout.

Breaking Down the Lingo of Competitive Swimming

If you’ve ever looked at the whiteboard at a swim practice, you might be forgiven for thinking you were staring at a Fourier equation. Heavy on abbreviations, short hand, and code that is recognizable only to that particular group of swimmers, it can be a lot to take in.

Here is a sample set and the explanation of how they are laid out:

8×50 freestyle swimming @1:00

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  • 8 = number of repetitions
  • 50 = distance covered per rep
  • @1:00 = the interval per rep

Here are some of the common terms you will see scrawled up on the whiteboard in addition to the sets:

Bilateral breathing: This means that swimmers breathe to both sides during freestyle. To breathe bilaterally, you would take a breath after every 3 strokes, for instance.

EZ: Shorthand for “easy.”

Negative split: Come back faster on the second half of the rep. If you swim :31 seconds for the first 50 of a 100, the goal would be to swim :30 seconds or faster on the second 50.

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Even Pace/Split: The goal here is to swim the first half and the second half of the repetition at the same speed.

Stroke: A majority of swim sets are performed in freestyle (or front crawl). When “stroke” is listed in the set, this means to do any of the other three strokes (butterfly, backstroke, or breaststroke).

Distance Per Stroke (DPS): The goal here is to maximize length with each stroke without over-gliding.

Kick (sometimes just “K”): This is when you use a kickboard (or in a streamline on your back for backstrokers) and perform kick with a board.

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Pull (or “P”): Know that pull buoy that coach had you grab from the equipment bin? Throw it between your legs (between your thighs — not your ankles) and let your arms and shoulders do all the work.

Getting Faster

Swimming is a highly technical sport. The importance of technique is hard to overstate. When we watch swimmers like Ledecky and Phelps, it’s not just their conditioning that allows them to overtake the rest of the world — it’s their ability to swim faster with less exertion than the competition.

Keep this in mind as you are improving and getting a better feel for the water. If you are serious about wanting to get faster in the pool, you need to pay equal attention to swimming better and faster.

Featured photo credit: Flickr via flickr.com

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Published on May 25, 2020

10 Best Gym Equipments You Need in 2020

10 Best Gym Equipments You Need in 2020

Gone are those days when a healthy lifestyle and a perfect figure could be achieved only by starving oneself. In these modern times, we have a more proactive and a healthier alternative to the “dying and dieting” perspective. Today, it’s better to start investing in the best gym equipment for your home.

Initially, working out and physical training was an activity limited only to the four walls of a gym. However, now the concept of “home gym” is being adopted by a lot of people. At-home exercise equipment provides us with a more convenient and personalized space for working out in the company of various home gym machines.

The following article will guide you on how to design your very own perfect, compact home gym by highlighting some of the very best gym equipment in 2020 to invest in.

Things to Consider When Buying Equipment

There are a lot of factors to consider before you jump into buying everything you need for your home gym. Below, you’ll find some of the things you need to think about.

Space

Deciding on the best gym equipment is not an easy task. According to several home gym reviews, the most crucial step in designing at home gym is choosing a space that is appropriate and that will allow you to practice your daily regime with ease.

Having a clear idea about the space will help you choose the type of home workout equipment you can have. Home exercise equipment like free weights requires a maximum of 50 square feet of space, 30 square feet space is needed for treadmills, and the famous multi-gym station must-have 50-200 square feet.

Goals

Having clarity about what you want to achieve through your home gym equipment is essential. Some people are looking for a regimen that focuses more on weightlifting, while others prefer to practice more cardio exercises in the convenience of their home. Identifying your needs and following up on that will keep you motivated and allow you to make the most of your equipment. 

Features

Now that you have a few home gym ideas, you can easily decide which features will make any at-home gym equipment the best and most suitable for your space. The wide range of exercise machines available can be categorized into three types:

Bodyweight Resistant Regimen and Equipment

Bodyweight resistance is the most simple and effective exercise regimen. These exercises are designed to make use of our own weight as resistance, and it leads to producing more muscle strength.

Ankle weights, resistance bands, and tubing are some of the famous bodyweight resistant equipment for home gyms. They are characterized as compact and affordable.

Weight Lifting Regimen and Equipment

Weight training is known to enhance the shape of your body by giving it a more sculpted look as it helps in developing leaner muscles. Stack and plate-loaded machines are ideal for weight training as they are safe and easy to use. Additionally, cable and pulley machines are considered to be most effective for weight training and are famous for their versatility.

Cardio Regimen and Equipment

Cardio exercises are extremely beneficial to our overall health and improve the functioning of our lungs, heart, and circulatory system. Treadmills, stationary bicycles, rowing machines, and elliptical trainers are some of the must-have home gym equipment that is perfect if you want to have intensive cardio workout sessions at home.

Affordability

Cardio and weight training equipment are pricey and expensive as they are designed to be multipurpose and include a wide range of features. Body resistance equipment, like dumbbells, kettlebells, a jump rope, or a stability ball, is budget-friendly if you’re not looking to spend a lot of money. 

Versatility

Adding kettlebells, dumbbells, resistant bands, and weight vests that have proven themselves to be modern, multipurpose, and versatile home gym essentials to your home gym is a good idea. Combined with the best gym equipment, these tools will slowly work miracles on your body.

10 Best Home Gym Equipments You Need

Any of the equipment below would be a great addition to a home gym. Identify your workout goals, the space available to you, and how much you’re willing to spend. Then, take a look at the choices below to identify what will work best for you.

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Editors’ Top Picks

1. Bowflex Home Gym Series

    The quest for the best gym equipment is not an easy one, but luckily we have an answer for you. The Bowflex Home Gym Series is the most reliable equipment to have in order to practice extensive weight training.

    It has a power rod of 210 lb. resistance and can be increased to 310-410 lbs. This compact home gym equipment allows you to perform 60 exercises to energize your entire body. For your safety, the handgrips are designed to be strong and give you more control during extraneous workouts.

    Pros:

    • Compact and space-saving
    • Power resistance can be increased up to 410 pounds

    Cons:

    • The rowing function has no support

    Check out this equipment here! 

    2. Marcy Smith Cage Workout Machine

      The famous Marcy Smith exercise equipment for a home gym will satisfy you with instant results through its ultra-modern features. The multi-functional arm press feature lets you do exercises that will enhance the strength of your biceps and triceps.

      For long-lasting use and improved performance, the aircraft cable of this device has a strength of 2000 lbs. The heavy-duty steel frame comes with 6 weight plate pegs that allow you to store the weights on the machine and give you easy access. This single, all in one device will cater to all of your workout needs.

      Pros:

      • Can be used to perform a wide range of exercises
      • Strengthens different muscle groups

      Cons:

      • Assembling the cable system is a bit complex

      Check out this equipment here! 

      Best Value of All

      3. Weider Ultimate Body Works

        For those who are looking for a budget-friendly home gym equipment, Weider Ultimate Body Works is famous for its ability to enhance your body strength and shape within a short period of time without breaking the bank.

        You can work on building strength in your chest and shoulder area by easily doing bench pressing through its high pulley system. Additionally, you can focus on developing your core area and abs by performing v-crunches. The high pulley system of this cheap home gym will also work well in toning your back.

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        Pros:

        • Compact, affordable, and space-saving
        • Comes with a 90-day parts and labor warranty

        Cons:

        • The seat doesn’t slide up and down

        Check out this equipment here! 

        4. TRX All In One Home Gym Bundle

          If you want to start a body resistant regimen and are looking for the perfect small home gym equipment, then the TRX All In One Home Gym Bundle can solve your problem. As the name indicates, it includes all the necessary items needed for a smooth body resistant regimen.

          You will get a suspension trainer, indoor/outdoor anchor, 4 various exercise bands, and more, all in one package. For those who don’t have much space but still want a great workout, this is the equipment for you.

          Pros:

          • Portable gym you can take anywhere
          • Multipurpose and ideal for limited spaces

          Cons:

          • No DVD or exercise guide book included

          Check out this equipment here!

          5. BodyBoss Home Gym Workout Equipment

            The BodyBoss Home Gym Workout Equipment is designed to be extremely convenient. This portable and highly compact home gym equipment has all the features that you would find in a high-class gym. You can practice exercises that will improve and further develop both your lower body and upper body. Moreover, it can also be used to perform cardio exercises for a fast fat burn.

            Pros:

            • Lightweight and compact
            • Can be used to perform 300+ exercises

            Cons:

            • No instructions are included on how to do the exercises

            Check out this equipment here! 

            6. Fitness Reality 810XLT Super Max Power

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              Another essential home gym equipment, the Fitness Reality 810XLT Super Max Power has a high and low row pulley system which helps in forming stronger muscles in the upper and lower back. The strong leg hold-down is adjustable and can be managed easily according to one’s needs. The lower rear crossbar has extra space, which can be used for placing benches and footrest. It can support 265 weight plate capacity and includes one 39” lat bar.

              Pros:

              • It has a strong frame
              • The pulley system is effective for upper and lower back

              Cons:

              • Assemby takes a bit long

              Check out this equipment here! 

              7. ICON Fitness Gold’s Gym XRS

                Space-saving, easy to use, and dependable are the qualities that make ICON Fitness Gold’s Gym XRS stand out. The high pulley is designed to enhance lats while the low pulley will tone your leg muscles. The multi-grip bar will give you more control and stability while exercising. Additionally, you will get a free exercise chart designed by a professional trainer.

                Pros:

                • Easy to assemble with detailed instructions
                • Helpful workout chart

                Cons:

                • It doesn’t come with weights

                Check out this equipment here! 

                8. Total Gym 1400 Deluxe Home Fitness Exercise

                  The Total Gym 1400 Deluxe Home Fitness Exercise equipment will cater to your workout needs in a matter of 10-20 minutes by strengthening and toning all your major muscle groups simultaneously. You can perform 60 and more exercises according to the cardio and weight training regimen using this equipment.

                  Pros:

                  • Attachments included give you options to exercise at home
                  • Rocks steady and glides smoothly

                  Cons:

                  • Top-mounted flip chart is hard to read

                  Check out this equipment here! 

                  9. OYO Personal Gym – Full Body Portable Gym Equipment

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                    This total home gym is constructed in such a way that it will give you instant positive results. The SpiraFlex will allow you to do intensive workouts for fat loss. Moreover, like any weight training device that builds up muscles and increases core strength, OYO Personal Gym will give you these same benefits.

                    Pros:

                    • Perfect for both men and women
                    • Ideal for people who are recovering from an injury

                    Cons:

                    • Resistance cannot be increased

                    Check out this equipment here! 

                    10. Fusion Motion Portable Gym

                      The Fusion Motion Portable Gym is perfect for an effective body resistance regimen. Manufactured with steel bars, it can handle heavy weights and extensive workouts for long durations. The detailed instruction booklet will assist you in performing more than 200 exercises to get the most out of it.

                      Pros:

                      • The ab roller and door anchor are good additions
                      • Comes with a guide of exercises and set workouts

                      Cons:

                      • The rollers have a little friction

                      Check out this equipment here!

                      Some Common Questions

                      When creating their home gyms, many people run into questions. Here are some of the more frequently asked questions to help you overcome challenges in the early days of working with your home gym.

                      Where Should I Set up a Home Gym?

                      Setting up an effective at home gym is generally an easy process. First, choose a room that you feel is spacious enough. Basements are ideal as they are usually soundproof. Then, add a couple of touches to your selected room through good lighting and a ventilation system.

                      What Are the Benefits of a Home Gym?

                      To begin with, a home gym is comfortable to use as it is in a safe, comfortable space, and you can access it any time. Additionally, it is a one -time investment and saves you from the monthly cost of gyms.

                      How Often Should I Work out?

                      For beginners, working out two or three times per week is a good start. For people who are used to extensive workouts, going to four to five times per week is ideal.

                      Is Gym Equipment Safe?

                      Home gym equipment is designed keeping in mind the standards that will ensure your safety. However, it is recommended to read and learn about the equipment before use so that you can proceed with caution and care. It is also important to read instructions carefully before setting everything up.

                      Final Thoughts

                      Creating a safe workout space at home is a great idea if you want to stay consistent with a healthy lifestyle. Hopefully, with the best home gym equipment in 2020 we recommended, you will be able to turn your home into a perfect workout area according to your needs.

                      More Tips on Creating Your Home Gym

                      Featured photo credit: ŞULE MAKAROĞLU via unsplash.com

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