Swim Exercises to Stay in Shape Without a Pool


Not surprisingly, athletes across the globe are reeling as COVID-19 has become more and more prevalent. Fitness facilities are closed, pools have shut down and most races over the next few months have been cancelled. For those of us who have been training for several months for a spring race have likely found ourselves disappointed, frustrated and honestly, a bit lost. In these times, it's important to keep things in perspective—we still have our health, and we'll be ready to race when the time comes. 

Foam rolling, static stretches and other mobility work comes to mind when stuck at home with little to do, but how can you stay in shape—swimming shape that is—without access to a pool or body of water? 

Nothing can accurately replicate actually swimming laps, but these simple exercises require only basic gear and are easy ways to boost strength, explosiveness and stability once the pool inevitably opens up again. 

Please refer to credible sources like Center for Disease Control and Prevention's website for all COVID-19 updates, wash your hands and practice social distancing. 

Plank Hold

30 seconds

Get parallel to the ground and rest on your elbows and forearms (feet and hands should be about shoulder-width apart). Stay as flat and long as possible by keeping your glutes and core engaged. Hold for 30 seconds (and work your way up to a minute).

Plank Row

10 reps each side/set

This is similar to the plank hold in that you're keeping your back flat with your glues and core engaged, but instead of resting on your elbows and forearms, keep your arms straight—like you're about to do a push-up—with dumbbells in each hand. Lean to one side and lift the opposite dumbbell up to your side without twisting. This is easier said than done, so beginners can start with their legs bent on their knees. 10 reps each side. 


10 reps/set

Start hanging (with either a front or reverse grip) and slowly pull yourself up until your chin passes the bar. Don't just drop down—be as controlled as you can as you complete the rep. Shoot for 10 pull ups per set, and don't be afraid to use a band or a partner you're quarantined with for assistance. 


10 reps/set 

Get into the plank row position and situate your hands just outside shoulder-distance apart. Slowly bend your elbows and lower yourself down until they make a right angle before "pushing" the ground away from you to return to start. If you have a medicine ball, try putting the medicine ball below one of your hands, complete a push up, and roll the ball to the other hand to complete a push up. 

Flutter Kicks

30 seconds

Lay flat on your back with your arms at your side (you can also put your hands under your glutes to elevate a bit more) and lift your feet off the ground between four to six inches. Keep your legs straight, point your toes and make rapid alternating kicks (like in the water) for 30 seconds. 

Lateral Lunge

10 reps each side/set

Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart, and step out with your right foot keeping your toes pointed forward. Keep the left leg straight as you squat over your right leg, pause and push through your right leg to return to standing. Repeat 10 times on the right before lunging to the left.  

Squat Jump 

10 reps/set

Standing slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, perform a classic squat (remember to keep your knees behind your toes) and hold for a breath before exploding vertically out of this position (it helps to throw your arms up overhead as you jump). Land gently, and return to the squat position to repeat. 

Hip Bridge

10 reps/set

Lay flat on your back with arms at your side. Bend your knees, place your feet flat on the floor and lift your hips until your body (from your knees to your shoulders) is in a straight line. Hold for three breaths and lower down to start.

Russian Twist

10 reps (back and forth)/set

Sit on the ground with your knees bent at a 90-degree angle. Lean slightly back to lift your feet off the floor, look straight ahead and twist your torso by interlacing your fingers and moving your hands back and forth from left to right. Hold a dumbbell or medicine ball for additional weight. 

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