Thursday, July 25, 2013

A Great Low-Impact Routine In Water That Takes Only One Minute

If you want a very short, highly efficient fitness technique, or you're injured and you want a great "no impact" routine, try this. Call it "strenuous treading water." You don't even have to dunk your head.

Go out in a pool or a lake a little over your head (so your feet don't touch the bottom). Place your hands behind your back like you are hand-cuffed, and tread water with your legs, keeping your head above the water. Don't roll over on your back, because that's cheating.

Try it for 20 seconds first. You can use the clocks and timers that indoor and outdoor pools usually display. Try to work your way up to one minute or more. It will make you a stronger swimmer, a stronger treader of water, and fitter overall, and it only takes about a minute.

It's basically bicycling underwater. I've found longer, deeper strokes with your legs are more efficient, and the more you do it, the better you get at the stroke technique. The best thing about it is that unlike track sprinting, this routine creates zero impact or your joints. Yet I feel a similar lactic acid build-up in the quads and hamstrings as I do when sprinting on grass or a bike, without the anti-knee consequences, for example.

You can also do a Tabata version of this exercise: 20 seconds treading water; 10 seconds rest, eight repetitions. Work your way up gradually to eight total reps.

I think the Navy Seals do something like this, but I imagine they handcuff the feet as well. When your friends ask you what you did for a workout you can yawn and say, "Something the Seals do in a pool."

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