Let’s face it: Very few experiences compare to an hour swimming in a pool by yourself – it’s exercise and meditation rolled into one. But just a plain swim might get boring after a point. It’s wise to widen your repertoire with some pool exercises. If you are someone who loves hitting the pool at every opportunity, you may want to look at including these six underwater workouts that will burn your calories and make the most of your swimming time.


Bicycle pedalling

A powerhouse abs workout, this requires you to pedal a bike underwater – you don’t actually require a bike, just the movement of pedalling should offer great results thanks to the natural resistance in the water. This is extra work for your core, shoulders, and legs to keep you from floating away. You can add a bit of variety by facing the pool’s edge and pedalling backwards as well.


Double leg raises

Seems like child’s play but your legs will feel the burn after this one. Lean back on the edge, lower your legs straight down and then raise them up as high as you can. Use the edge as a rest for your elbows for maximum effect. Absolute beginners can sit on the edge of the pool with legs in the water and perform the same movement while seated.


Underwater jacks

Regular jumping jacks but under water. Seems easy? Think again as you have to fight the resistance of the water, and also maintain your balance. Your body will rend to fall forward or back, thanks to the natural buoyancy. Jump with your legs out as you normally would on ground, but don’t let your feet touch the bottom when coming back together – this is the real hard part. Pros can try the suspended jumping jack which involves not letting the feet touch the bottom!


Back kicks

Holding on to the edge of the pool or any surface that offers some resting place, kick your legs behind you in rapid movement. Do one leg after the other or you could try pushing both legs behind and up at the same time – if you manage the latter, you will make quite an impact on your glutes, hammies and more. Remember the goal is to not kick the water from above – Focus on kicking faster, not higher – but keep your legs under water. This discipline is what makes this an effective workout.


Lateral Raises

Hold a pair of light-weight dumbbells and lift them to the top of the water and bring them down in one fluid motion. This provides a good burn in your deltoids. Preserve your form and maintain the whole range of motion within the water to take full advantage of that extra resistance. To make this more intense, try to keep your legs off the pool floor while pulling your arms up.


Pendulum Kicks

Even kids can do this one, as it’s super simple. Swing one leg after the other in a tick-tock manner, while pushing against the water in both directions. If you need more intensity, tie some weights on your feet. This time the goal is to have a good lateral raise for your leg – and not doing the exercise as fast as possible. After a session of this, you will feel a great burn in your outer thigh muscles.

So there you have it. Easy, effective and fat-burning workouts for your pool days. Now you don’t have to dread an hour-long swim due to boredom. Just try any of these or mix them up for some variety. It’s a great way to get someone who hates working out in the gym some crucial weight training.

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