Stories from Water Activities

No Pool, No Problem: You Can Do These Dry Land ‘Swimming’ Exercises Anywhere

Tehrene Firman

Tehrene FirmanJuly 12, 2020

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Photo: Stocksy/Rob and Julia Campbell

When it comes to low-impact workouts, there’s really nothing easier on your body than swimming. I mean, you’re literally floating in the water with no pressure on your body. Even though you won’t feel sweat dripping when you’re doing exercises in the pool, because #water, you get a full-body workout that strengthens every major muscle group in your body.

“Swimming is the toughest cardio workout on the planet. Every muscle in your body is keeping your body moving with the resistance of the water,” says Holly Roser, a personal trainer and owner of Holly Roser Fitness. “You’ll build your cardiovascular system (aka you’ll be able to hold more air in lungs), burn calories, and increase strength, all in one workout.”

Obviously the benefits of swimming are impressive. But not everyone has a pool available to them—especially during the global pandemic, where public swims have become a thing of the past. That’s where dry land swimming exercises come in: moves that mimic swimming out of the pool and get you stronger for swimming workouts when you’re able to enjoy being in the water once again. Here are the exercises Roser recommends.

Dry land swimming exercises you can do anywhere

1. Dive bomber push-ups

Why Roser loves it: “This dry land swimming exercise will help strengthen your core, shoulders, chest, and lats for the butterfly stroke.”

How to do it:

  1. Start with your feet and hands shoulder-width apart and go into downward dog.
  2. Bend your arms into a push-up position and bring your chest toward the ground.
  3. Keeping your elbows out, pause for one second and reverse your body back to downward dog, keeping your legs straight the entire time.
  4. Repeat for 2 sets of 10 reps.

2. Hollow rock

Why Roser loves it: “This ultimate core move will help propel your body faster into the water.”

How to do it:

  1. Lie on your back with your lower back rounded, arms overhead, and feet together.
  2. Lift your feet a few inches off the ground, making sure to avoid letting your back arch.
  3. Rock back and fourth for 2 sets of 15 seconds.

3. Flutter kicks on a bench

Why Roser loves it: “Flutter kicks on the bench replicate freestyle stroke kicks. This is the best move to keep your hamstrings and glutes strong to propel your body through the water quickly.”

How to do it:

  1. With your hips hinging off a bench and hands holding the sides, lift your right leg as high as you can.
  2. Switch to the other leg, lightly tapping the ground as you switch feet.
  3. Repeat for 2 sets of 20 reps.

4. Superman

Why Roser loves it: “This move is great for strengthening your abs and lower back, as well as strengthening your shoulders.”

How to do it:

  1. Lie on your stomach on the floor.
  2. For three seconds, slowly lift both arms in front of you while also bringing your feet off of the floor.
  3. Slowly lower your arms and feet back down.
  4. Repeat 10 times.

This is what it’s like to take a spin class underwater:

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