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Swim In Place Methods for your Backyard Pool

Looking for ways to use your backyard pool for more cardio and conditioning workouts? Swim-in-Place systems by www.ONESwim.com can offer a great option for endless swimming exercises. But have an open mind as you start down this journey. Swimming in place can be deceivingly simple and also a waste of time if you don’t have a plan in place. First, you need to plan for interval intensity training. Just like biking and running, it is important to switch ‘gears’ when you swim instead of just swimming at constantly slow pace (like running/biking up and down hills). Nonstop even pace swimming can be a good workout when you first get started and haven’t developed the appropriate swim muscles yet. But with daily time on a swim in place device such as our Basic Stationary Swim Trainer, you will quickly gain less and less value from swimming at a constant and low effort pace.

If you are a competitive swimmer, we recommend you consider our Backyard Pool Kits in which we have workouts, lots of videos and support details for helping you get the most out of your short pool instead of a stationary swimming device in which you will be tethered in place. However, if you are not looking to compete as a swimmer and just looking for a way to workout and stay in shape by using your pool, we have several options that can help you meet your goals. Let’s start by reviewing different ways we can help you swim in place:

  1. Basic Stationary Swim Trainer: This product provides the most essential elements of swim in place methods. It will simulate an endless pool by tethering you to any stationary object on the side of a backyard pool. The design is simple; a) a loop to attach to any pool or post, b) a 25 foot tether with an adjustment buckle to adjust the length so you are positioned where you want in your pool, c) stretch cord that mostly acts as a shock absorber, d) waist belt.
  2. Half Long Cords: These stretch cords will stretch fully to 35 feet or so with a 7 foot adjustable tether. This provides the swimmer with the option of swimming in place or swimming the full length of most backyard pool. This provides you with an endless combination of options between swimming in place and ‘lap swimming’. When swimming laps, the Half Long cords will create resistance in one direction of the private pool and assistance on the recovery direction. If you have a pool that is longer than 37 (maybe 40) feet, we also have the Long Cords which is a kit of 2 half cords to make up a total of 25 yards in length.
  3. Lane Line Stationary Swim Trainer: If you are interested in tethered swim in place exercises in a competitive pool with lane lines, then our Lane Line Stationary swim trainer may meet your needs. This system can be used with a stretch cord on each side of your hip (each connected to a lane line, or the 2 stretch cords can be connected directed together between 2 lines with a tether in the center connected to the swim belt. This provides 2 different methods of swimming tethered to a lane line with different impacts on the body position.

To assist with your workouts and simplify the learning curve involved in stationary swim in place exercises offer a range of kits with much of the equipment you need.

Start with a Snorkel:

There is no value to messing up your form and body position (in order to breath) if you are not training to be a competitive swimmer or triathlete. Even the pros use snorkels on a regular basis, so get a front-mounted snorkel to allow you to focus on just kicking or just puling, etc…

General Resistance for Swim In Place Training:

While we offer a wide range of resistance options for kick only and pull only, 2 methods can add to the resistance and interval intensity no matter what type of exercise you are doing. Our weight belts can be adjusted by ½ lb increments to dial in any weight that best suits your needs. Simple weight levels of 3-8 pounds can be ideal to make the exertion levels more ideal for interval intensity.

Another way to add variability to the intensity of your workouts is with our Ankle/Wrist Weights such as our Basic Kits with ½ lb per limb. This kit gives you the option of using ½ lb (or more) on each ankle (for swim or kick sets) or on each wrist (for pull or swim sets).

Kick Only:

One of the greatest returns on effort from stationary swimming is to only kick (with a snorkel ideally). This is a great workout for the heart and cardio system. To get started, just kick with bare feet. Then as you a gain strength and power, start to vary your sets throughout the weeks with gear that target different muscle groups and technique.

The most diverse option for kicking is to use Power Bags. The Power Bags are ideas for kicking, pulling and swimming. For kicking it is most ideal to use them on the calves for the majority of the time you use them in your swim in place workouts. For short high intensity sessions, you can then fold the Power Bags over your feet and then back up to the calves for excellent high intensity interval training sessions.

Weight Bags by ONEswim on the ankles specifically target the recovery muscles of the legs. These can be combined with Power bags or with short blade training fins. Combinations of power bags and fins, or weight bags and either product will really make a high intensity workout.

Other ways to constantly target your kick and cardio program is with the Kick Trainer and the FlexRight. These products will fine tune your kick program to the very pinnacle of your potential.

Upper Body Training:

In order to build on your upper body, you will eventually need to increase your level of resistance. A tether stretch cord set up will allow some limited resistance but you will want to add to this resistance level as you mature in your swim conditioning. The first thing we suggest is using a snorkel so you can focus on your body position and a high elbow catch stroke (see our Training section for help on this technique). But another great way to help focus on the quality of your interval intensity training technique for your upper body is to use our Dual Ankle Buoy. This will keep your legs near the surface but take your legs out of the propulsion and allow you to focus on the intensity of your pull muscles.

In addition to the use of high intensity interval techniques for your pull sessions, we also recommend using the process of descending and/or ascending paddle size and resistance levels.

The goal here is to start with large paddles, then digress to medium paddles such as resistance gloves or Power Bags on the arms, then bare handed, and finishing with displacement paddles during the same workout. This process (or the reverse order) will provide a way to quickly make your endless swimming sessions have more intensity and more value in a shorter period of time. Set a marker on the floor of your backyard pool that is directly below your eyes when you are swimming at max effort on a swim in place tether. Now, as you change the level of resistance you need to increase your effort to keep your eyes directly above that same spot as you descend through paddles and resistance levels.

We have a range of ‘power paddles’ and recommend the use of either our Touch Paddles or our IM Paddles as your most powerful place to start. The Touch paddles will provide a balanced power to the hand and the IM paddles will help focus on the Lats and Teres minor muscle groups more.

Other ways to add maximum power is with our Resistance gloves or our Power Bags over your arms. Both of these options are ideal in the middle of your descending program. Then swim awhile with just your bare hand and finish up your upper body work with Displacement Paddles such as our Brute. This paddle displacement your hand so you have to only swim with your forearm connecting with the water. This improves your technique and your power engagement.

All-Out Swimming:

Clearly, we believe you need to focus exclusively on your cardio conditioning by ‘kick-only’ and your upper body by ‘pull only’. But of course swimming with both kick and pull is a great way to wrap up any swim session. Don’t forget to use interval intensity training with any of these methods. Mix up the equipment so you target different muscle groups and set goals and plans so you can track your progress. Good luck and have fun!