Swim Your Way to Toned Legs

January 27, 2014

Most swimmers will agree that the sweet spots for muscle tone from swimming are the chest and shoulders. However, it is possible to use your swimming work out to shape up your entire body. Don’t forget that a good pair of legs gets you to the pool in the first place.

Also, if you are looking for great legs but have had knee injuries or other problems, swimming is the great LOW IMPACT work out that can still give you great TONE and definition. Here are some tips for how to get a leg work out during your swim.

leg day dog

Focus on Specific Strokes:

Swimming really is a great way to get a full body work out. Unlike running and cycling, swimming engages your whole body. The key to getting great legs is to keep your legs constantly moving. Just this step alone can up your tone.

dolphin kick
Image via swim.isport.com

Two strokes that really get a great leg work out are the backstroke and the dolphin kick. Both of these strokes still use the whole body,but also have a HIGH INTENSITY for the legs. When doing the backstroke it is best to use the FLUTTER KICK to get the most bang for your buck. The backstroke and dolphin kick are two great leg work outs because they use the whole leg for the kick.
For the flutter kick: remember that the movement should come from your thighs and not your knees. Make sure that your knees don’t go too deep. Also point your toes.
For the dolphin kick: It requires your WHOLE BODY to effectively do a dolphin kick. Hands out in front of you, with legs together is the easiest way to do it. The whip movement is going from nose to toes!

Use a Kickboard:

kickboard swimming
Simplyswim.com photo via Flickr

Swimming with a KICKBOARD can help for both beginners and experts.  Grabbing a kickboard immediately focuses your work out on your legs instead of your whole body. This means you can put more energy into your legs and give your arms a rest.
It works for beginners because they do not need to worry about complex strokes to get a good swim work out. The kickboard keeps your arms afloat without any fancy movements. Swimming naturally requires the use of your legs. Even the basic kick will help reduce your fat content in your thighs and start making room for your muscles to show once you start doing more advanced muscle toning kicks.
For the advanced swimmer you can do most of your strokes with the kickboard. You move it around or hold it and then focus on making sure your legs are doing the right thing.
The only thing you need to worry about is using the kickboard can sometimes limit your overall movement. It is best to intersperse using the kickboard with other strokes to get the best full body and full leg work outs.

Add Swim Fins:

 swimming fins finis zoomers
Zoomers Fit Fins, Finisinc.com

Another way to amp up your leg work out while swimming is to use SWIM FINS. These things add on extra resistance of the water to your legs. More resistance means more strength to make each kick. Also, you can start out with smaller swim fins and move up to the long swim fins.  The more you use fins in your kick to more you will build your endurance as well. Just be careful if you have any ankle or achilles problems because wearing swim fins can exacerbate that.

It is Possible to Swim Your Way to Toned Legs

fins hurddle record
Photo via Guinnessworldrecords.com

Combine all three for the best outcome. Do the backstroke flutter kick or the dolphin kick with a kickboard and fins and you will get the best leg work out you can while in the water.
Any questions or concerns? I know I am bit concerned about how silly I am about to look at the pool while I do a dolphin kick or use swim fins!
Share any sweet leg work out secrets with me to help me avoid further embarrassment. Or send some words of encouragement in the comments below.
Ally Henley
Ally Henley


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