Swimming is one of the best activities you can do when you are injured or suffer from joint pain. It is also fantastic for building lung capacity and learning how to control your breath. If you find swimming monotonous because all you are doing is laps at a steady pace, you can make it more challenging and interesting by adding in hand paddles and fins.
Hand paddles increase the amount of resistance you face with each stroke, and builds strength and endurance in the arms. They can also bring out the flaws in your strokes, helping you improve your technique.
Fins help strengthen your ankles and legs by forcing your legs to work harder. The day after I do hard sprints with them, my legs are usually aching as if I did heavy squats the day before.
But that is not all you can do to make swimming more challenging and interesting. You do not have to do steady state laps in the pool, but can perform HIIT, and at a more advanced level using hand paddles and fins. For example, one of my pool workouts is as follows:
1. Warmup : 100m freestyle, 100m breaststroke
2. HIIT training (with hand paddles and fins):
- 50m freestyle sprint (breathing every 6-8 strokes)
-100m freestyle recovery
(repeat cycle 3-5 times)
3. Cooldown : 500m breaststroke
It may look simple, but you may be surprised at how tiring it can get by the third cycle!
For endurance training, I might do something like this:
1. Warmup : 100m backstroke, 100m breaststroke
2. Endurance training (with hand paddles and fins):
- 2-3km freestyle
(and if it gets boring, 50m sprint every 450m)