No doubt that swimming is a great all-over toner, allowing you to gain muscle while decreasing fat. When it comes down to toning specific problem areas fast, specific swimming moves do the job better than others. After all, for every part of your arms, legs or core you’re concentrating on — “there’s a stroke for that.”
Dreaded “Bat Wings”
After a certain age, a woman’s upper arms can start to jiggle when she waves, due to poor muscle tone. To work those triceps, use the freestyle stroke, also known as the Australian crawl. After that, move on to the backstroke and the butterfly. These laps can be a bit more challenging to sustain at first, but will continue to shape your upper arms as you gain strength.
Thighs are right up there when it comes to self-consciousness during bathing suit season. To target both the backs and the front of your thighs, make sure to work the backstroke and butterfly into your routine. If the arm movements of a proper backstroke are a bit challenging, don’t despair — to firm up your lower half, it’s the kick you want to focus on. Feel free to keep your arms stationary over your head as you lay on your back, and focus on the fluttering your legs to propel you backward.
No matter what stroke you’re using, use force in your turns and push-offs when you reach the end of the lane. Thigh muscles are worked extra hard during those maneuvers.
Just about every stroke relies on your core to propel you through the water. To really kick things up a notch, be conscious of clenching your abs as you swim. Do this by imagining a string pulling your belly button toward your spine.
To super-blast those abs, work to perfect your butterfly. The stroke requires you to continuously lift your torso up and down in the water, which means it’s your middle that’s doing the heavy lifting. Your waist and stomach will soon be whittled if you make sure to work the butterfly into your lap routine.
As with other body areas, swimming will probably tone your bottom no matter what. To isolate the glutes, however, use a kickboard to immobilize your arms, so that your legs are forced to do all of the work. The frog-kick that you use in the breaststroke is a great toner for your backside, as is the flutter kick.
Treading water is also ideal for butt-firming, allowing you to customize your leg movements even further. Keep your arms on the surface of the water for stability, keeping them as still as possible so that your legs are doing most of the work. Use marching, bicycling and kicking movements to continuously engage the different muscles of your hamstrings and glutes.