When the hottest days of summer hit, you're probably all about running towards the nearest body of water, and getting there fast. While you might sneak in a few laps at the pool while you're at it, it's all too easy to let your regular workout regimen fade into the background. But just because you're spending more time in the water than on solid ground, doesn't mean you have to choose between fitness and summertime fun. In fact, your favorite watersports burn serious calories. And Jenni Lynn Patterson, an aquatics instructor at New York Health & Racquet Club, who specializes in classes that use H.I.I.T, Tabata, and Pilates exercises in the water, fully agrees. Even a simple freestyle or breaststroke swim can torch as much as 692 calories per hour, and you can expect similar rewards with this 60-Minute Interval Swimming Workout.
To up the calorie burn even more, Patterson developed a routine that adds full-body strength exercises to the mix—resistance training in it's purest form thanks to the natural pull you get from the water—incorporates classic bodyweight exercises such as squats and lunges to seriously rev your heart rate. So, next time you find yourself wading in the ocean (the lake or river count, too), give these five simple drills a shot.
Pick a physical marker—ideally a visible sand bar, raft, or buoy—in the water and swim at your fastest pace there and back. The distance is up to you; you'll just want to be winded at the end of the sprint, so don't hold back. You can pick your favorite stroke, but if you're going for the backstroke, be mindful of the current that could take you past your designated marker, cautions Patterson. (Here's another Better-than-the-Treadmill Cardio Blast to try!)
Sets: 2-3 with 2-4 minutes rest in between
Stand in water up to your chest. Jump and tuck knees into your chest, contracting abs. For an added challenge, keep legs straight and instead, pop feet up in front of you into a pike position. "Your hands will help you with this variation," says Patterson. "Push them down forcefully to help lift your body."
Begin in chest-deep water. With elbows slightly bent and hands barely wider than your shoulders, palms facing down, move your hands in a circular or figure eight motion just under the surface of the water. As you exert downward pressure with your hands use your sore to lift feet (with legs straight). Move your body into a V-shape, hinged at the hips with your head and feet above the surface of the water. (Wanna work your core on shore? Try these 10 Oblique Exercises for a Flat Stomach, Fast.)
Begin in waist-deep water, which is an ideal depth to create an extra challenge for your legs, says Patterson. Squat down, bringing shoulders below the surface of the water. Drive through heels to jump up and out before landing back into squat position.
Push-Up and Plank
This move will get your hands dirty, but it's well worth it for the total-body burn. Move closer to the shore toward really shallow water. Begin in palm plank position and hold for 30 seconds. Then, perform 12 push-ups, lowering chest to the shore (make sure not to dip your face in the water) and pushing back up to starting position. (Once you master the shoreside push-up, try your hand at these 13 Simple Ways To Amp Up Your Push-Up.) "Make this into a circuit with your friends for extra fun," says Patterson.