Go for a Swim: A Good Workout in 30 Minutes

The swimming pool provides options for those of us with only 30 minutes to spare. There’s the “swim for distance” goal, interval training, and pace work for overall health endurance. So if you are pressed for time, give one of the following a try.

The ideal way to divide up a 30-minute workout is to do 10 minutes warm-up, 15 minutes main set, and 5 minutes to cool down. Swimming for distance is very straight-forward: swim nonstop as fast as you can for 30 minutes trying to produce the most distance. This type of workout is a great way to burn calories and challenge yourself. Don’t stop swimming, but also don’t forget to count your laps! Swimming for distance is a great way to access your swimming fitness level and endurance, and it is highly recommended for tri-athletes as a training tool. The most common stroke choice for this is the freestyle.

Interval training in the pool, much like on land, involves changing speed of each lap and utilizing all muscle groups by switching strokes. For example, the intensity of a length of the butterfly stroke is much more difficult than a lap of the breaststroke, so by alternating stroke choices the body will get a more complete resistance and cardiovascular workout. Also, the muscle groups worked by the various swimming strokes (butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, and freestyle) are all different and challenge the body in distinct ways. I would suggest a ladder workout, either ascending or descending in distance, that uses all four strokes:

Sample ascending:
25 yards butterfly
50 yards backstroke
100 yards freestyle
75 yards breaststroke
50 yards backstroke
25 yards butterfly

Sample descending:
500 yards freestyle
400 I.M.
300 yards backstroke
200 yards freestyle
100 yards breaststroke
50 yards butterfly

Keeping pace is another good 30 minute option. A great way to maximize time in the pool is the pace workout – doing as many distance repeats, usually 100 yards, as you can with a minimal amount of rest. The point of this exercise is to drill into the body and mind what it feels like to repeat a set distance at a set time. This type of workout will develop endurance and improves stamina. Distance swimmers prefer this type of workout as they can track their progress and endurance with a pace clock. The main challenge to this 30 minute option is to keep the body at the same speed regardless of muscle fatigue. Pace times can also be adjusted to a faster or slower time to combine interval training with pace work.

Here at the Clubs at Charles River Park we offer both Junior (12 years and under) and Master/Adult (18 years and over) coached swim class workouts. Beginning in February, an Adult beginner class will offer non-swimmers a place to learn how to swim and the summer Junior swim program will return to challenge younger lap swimmers. In the summer months, the Club also offers Master swim which is a coached 60-minute class, and a 60 minute aquatic triathlon training class. Please contact Kelly Wright for more information on these classes or call 617-726-2900.

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Kelly Wright is the Aquatics Supervisor at The Clubs at Charles River Park with more than 15 years of competitive and instructional swimming experience. Along with teaching swim lessons, she also coaches Junior and Master swimming and trains lifeguards. Kelly is an Authorized Provider for the American Red Cross and is certified to teach AED/CPR and First Aid classes as well as Emergency Oxygen Administration, Bloodborne Pathogen Training, Basic Water Rescue, Guard Start, and Water Safety.

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