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The Fun Swim Workout for a Full-Body Burn

Susanna Hayward

Sticking to your regular exercise routine on vacation can be tough, but it also gives you an opportunity to do workouts that you might not normally do, like hiking in a nearby park, trying a local fitness studio, or doing this tough but fun swim workout.

We tapped Ellis Peters, swim coach at Equinox in New York City who teaches Aqua Boot Camp interval classes, to create a full-body workout that can be done even in small pools. The key is to focus on core control throughout the workout, keeping your abs in so you work harder. (Need some pointers before you dive in? Read these 25 Tips from Top Swim Coaches.)

How it works: Warm up by running in place with high knees, a straight back, and abs engaged as you pull your arms in with cupped hands, then push out. Do as fast as you can for 10 seconds, then slow down for 30 seconds. Perform all the moves once through, finishing with another round of running in place. Repeat the entire circuit 2 more times.


Straddle the noodle with legs extended straight, squeezing in, feet flexed. Keep core engaged, shoulders over hips to maintain an "L" shape with body. 
Breast stroke to one side of the pool, then reverse direction, maintaining the same position.


Hold noodle straight out in front, arms just wider than shoulder-width. Rise to tip toes and lean forward into a 45-degree angle.
Keeping core engaged and back straight, slowly lower noodle down until just before touching thighs. Resist the buoyancy as you move slowly upward, inch by inch. Repeat 10 times, then switch leg positions.


A Start with feet on the ground and body in an "X" position.
B Jump up, bringing knees to chest and arms in with palms facing in, abs engaged. Jump back to start, pressing out against the water.


With back against a wall, sit down as if in a chair, knees bent at a 90-degree angle. Hold kickboard halfway in the water and press out.
Resist the water as you pull back in.


A Hold onto the side of the pool, arms extended straight out, legs extended in line with body, eyes looking straight down into the water.
B Kick legs as hard as possible for 10 seconds, then push off the wall and drift back 3-4 feet.
C Keeping arms straight and ears in the water, kick back towards the wall, using the current you just created as resistance.

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