10 exercises to get you used to water before learning how to swim
Adjusting water is one of the most important thing before learning how to swim.
Have you always wanted to learn how to swim, but you couldn’t understand why it takes so much time? Have you also tried to learn swimming, but after swallowing air and water, and suffering from lower back pains and strain in the neck, you simply got despaired?
If so, the following video clip and the magical words “gradual adjustment” are meant just for you.
You probably already know that swimming is one of the healthiest sports, however, it is recommended to adjust the swimming style individually for each person so that the work with getting used to the water will be gradual and correct. Just like with the building process of a house – the foundation is crucial in swimming. It doesn’t matter if we are learning backstroke, crawl, breast stroke, or even butterfly – it is important to know how to breathe right, to strengthen the specific muscles that will later help us to make complicated movements, to expand the capacity of the lungs, and to protect the neck.
Does this sound complicated? It really isn’t! For all of the points mentioned above, and some more, we have prepared 10 exercises that are recommended to go through before learning how to swim, and most importantly in order to strengthen the muscles without hurting the neck and the back joints that are so important.
Swimming tips for beginners before learning how to swim- Swimming Drill 1- Breathing by the wall and while walking
The first step is to hold the wall with one or two hands. , we inhale through the mouth for 2 seconds. Insert the head into the water and then exhale for 2 seconds.
While putting the head into the water we bend the knees and we will keep a slightly rounded back to create a smaller hip movement while the body is going up and down.
The next step is to make the same exercise but this time while walking with or without using the hands. It is recommended to do both exercises 5-10 minutes before the training session.
The purpose of the exercise is to make the lungs used to taking air in, and breathe it out, slowly. Please note that in this exercise you need to make a separation between the nose and the mouth, so that you won’t push the air out through both. This in order to keep the nose free of water.
The movement of the hip, while bending the knees, will warm up the hips and the lower back.
During the walking the breathing work continues, but this time you will experience a serious resistance from the water on the chest. This expands the capacity of the lungs while you are warming the joints of the body before you start the
Swimming tips for beginners before learning how to swim- Swimming Drill 2 -From laying to standing, with or without the wall
We hold on to the wall using both of our hands, we wait about 3-5 seconds while floating and slowly, slowly, we will bring the knees up to the stomach and the hands to the back while slowly exhaling. Finally we move the legs toward the floor of the pool. Only after the feet touch the floor we will lift the head above the water.
When we feel comfortable with this exercise we will do the same thing without the support of the wall. We lay in the water with our hands stretched out in front of us. After 5 seconds we start to blow air bubbles from our nose. While making the air bubbles we will bring the knees up to the stomach and we will bring the hands back. Only when the legs touch the floor we will lift the head above the water. If it is not done according to this order it could create a stress on the lower back while standing.
The purpose of this exercise is to know how to stand right, without stress on the lower back and neck, while using the muscles of the hands and arms, protecting the joints and expanding the capacity of the lungs.
This way we also prepare ourselves for the exercises when we will be swimming without breathing and when we will simply have to stand up when we need to breathe.
Swimming tips for beginners before learning how to swim- Swimming Drill 3- Hand circles while walking and swimming, non-progressive leg movement
We walk with our arms inside the water, and we will make circle movements with the arms similar to the breaststroke. Only this time the circles are bigger and deeper. (About 20 centimeter below the surface) During each circle you will touch the stomach as the arms are moving back up, and at the end of the circle you come back to an arrow and wait 3 seconds while walking. After this we will repeat the circle movement in the same way.
We will go through the same exercise also while swimming with gentle leg movements and without exhaling. Right before we are out of air, we will slowly come back to standing up, just like we did in exercise number 2.
The purpose of this exercise is to strengthen the muscles of the arms and the shoulders while making a symmetric movement without causing the lower back any stress.
This movement is relatively easy to make, and we use it in order to expand the capacity of the lungs and to prepare the body for swimming. It is very important to stretch out the arrow movement forward at a depth of 20 centimeters, or more, below the surface. This is in order not to cause the lower back and neck any stress, and also in order to try to reach a swimming distance of 12.5 meters without breathing.
Swimming tips for beginners before learning how to swim- Swimming Drill 4- Standing with fins
We swim with fins on the feet while the arms are stretched out parallel to the shoulders. We will kick with the legs while crawling slowly. Right before we are out of air we will start to exhale from the nose and make little bubbles. We will point with one hand to the opposite shoulder till the body starts to turn without any stress on the lower back, and the heels fall by themselves to the floor of the pool. Only when we come to a standing position on the floor, we will lift the head out of the water and breathe in.
The purpose of this exercise is to help us go through the swimming exercises without breathing till we learn how to breathe correctly and efficiently. The leg work with fins will slightly expand the muscles, and when done right it improves the elasticity of the legs. Most important, it helps to protect the lower back while standing. If we try to stand like in the previous exercises when bringing the knees to the stomach, the fins will interrupt us and we won’t be able to stand well. This would also cause the neck and lower back stress.
Swimming tips for beginners before learning how to swim- Swimming Drill 5- Hands circling using fins+ lifting the head and breathing
We swim making an arrow movement with the arms, and with fins on we crawl with the legs for 3 seconds. After 3 seconds we make a big circle with the arms and we lift the head to breathe. When the head is inside the water we exhale making bubbles, and we lift the head out of the water. We inhale slowly and we try to use the neck as little as possible when lifting the head up. If we experience neck or back pains we will go through this exercise with a snorkel in order to relieve the back and neck from the stress.
If we don’t have a snorkel, we can go through this exercise without lifting the head by simply standing when we are out of air.
The purpose of this exercise is to combine exhaling and inhaling while swimming, and performing an aerobic effort with a movement that is relatively easily to coordinate. Breaststroke with legs crawling, and without lifting the head, is one of the best exercises to strengthen the chest, neck and all of the torso muscles with.
Swimming tips for beginners before learning how to swim- Swimming Drill 6- Classic backstroke with crawling legs
We lay on the back, the hands are to the side of the body, and we kick with the legs while crawling. We will keep the kicks under the surface with a slight bend to the knees. Slowly, slowly, we will lift the hands, close to the body, till they reach the level of the arm pits, all the while inhaling through the nose. When the arms reach to the level of the shoulders, we will start to push water with the hands till the hands touch the thighs. During this part we will exhale through the nose.
Throughout the entire movement we will keep a loose neck and look to the sky.
If there is a feeling of stress on the back it is recommended to go through this movement with fins to help the body float. With fins we will try to kick slowly and gently.
The purpose of this exercise is to move the hands and the legs without causing the neck and the back any stress. This symmetric movement can also help those who find it difficult to swim with the head in the water to strengthen the muscles involved. It will also be conductive to get the breathing going, for strengthening the stomach muscles, and most importantly, to prepare us for the back and front crawling styles.
Swimming tips for beginners before learning how to swim- Swimming Drill 7- Loose backstroke with timed breath
We float on the back and we swim backstroke, meaning that the hands move to the back, the palms are very loose, and the swimming is slow. We try not to use the legs at all, and simply let them come along with the body as part of the movement. If we feel that we start to sink, it is possible to go through this exercise with fins.
In this exercise we try to time the breath. When the arm goes out of the water we inhale, and when the arm goes into the water we will exhale.
The purpose of this exercise –
Is to swim easy backstroke.
This swimming creates a wide opening and stretch of the chest and shoulders, which is just the opposite of what happens when you sit in front of a computer.
Also, each movement’s exhale fills the body with air and improves its floating ability. Another thing to keep in mind is that the backstroke is the only style that doesn’t involve any neck movement, and it can fit very well for people who suffer from back and neck pains.
Swimming tips for beginners before learning how to swim- Swimming Drill 8- Arms in arrow legs crawling
We will make an arrow shape with our arms. One palm will overlap the other to close the arrow. If our shoulder blades are not flexible enough, we will lay the arrow about 20 centimeters or more below the surface, and we will kick with the legs. If we experience stress in the neck we can go through this exercise with a snorkel. This way we will bypass the problem of a strained neck since the movement will not cause the neck to bend when we lift the head to breathe.
Sometimes we don’t progress and this can be because of a lack of flexibility and elasticity in the legs. In this case, every few seconds, we will make circles with the arms or hand movements while crawling. This way we help our body to make a slight progress forward. If we feel stress in the back, we will try to work with fins at a slow pace, and if we still feel the strain with the fins, it is recommended to skip this exercise and to work with the legs, only while swimming with hands.
The purpose of this exercise is to practice the leg movements of freestyle and backstroke, This helps in order to progress forward while swimming. It will also strengthen all of the torso muscles, and it allows us to move forward for longer distances without exhausting the muscles through oxidation. This exercise is also very important for triathletes and runners in order to protect the joints and avoid injuries while running or biking.
Swimming tips for beginners before learning how to swim- Swimming Drill 9- Loose shoulders, back and front, with fins
We kick with the legs gently, using fins, and we carefully roll the body from side to side. While rolling the body we don’t breathe, and we don’t move the head at all. The head will be directed towards the floor of the pool, and we will keep the line of the swimming straight. When we are out of air we stand up gently, as we studied previously. It is also possible to go through this exercise with snorkel which will let us practice for longer without breaks. It is also recommended to occasionally make this exercise on the back, just as long as we don’t experience any strain on the neck.
The purpose of this exercise is to release the shoulders and the neck. This is an excellent exercise for frozen shoulder, cervical disc prolapse or simply for stress – who doesn’t suffer from stress these days?
After the training session, this exercise is also excellent for treating tense shoulders. It can be done after training inside or outside of the water.
The beauty of this exercise is that all you have to do is roll in the water, and the water will gently massage the shoulders to, without risk of injuries, release them from stress after the training session
Swimming tips for beginners before learning how to swim- Swimming Drill 10- Flip from Freestyle to backstroke, and vice versa
We will swim a few strokes in freestyle, and instead of breathing and continuing the in crawl, we will flip over to the back and we continue with a few strokes on the back, releasing the body, and catching our breath.
While flipping from the front to the back, and then back again to the front, it is very important to keep the neck and the back loose, and to avoid straining the lower back.
The purpose of this exercise is to allow us to swim freestyle for a long time with breaks for recovery. When we are still perfecting our crawl and the breathing causes us to swallow water – flipping over to the back allows us to inhale, balance the breathing, reduce the heart rate, and then move back to freestyle and continue the swimming.
This exercise works as a preparation for the freestyle. It is also excellent for working on the stomach muscles while rolling the body 180 degrees from the front to the back, and from the back to the front.
When swimming is right for your body it’s the WEST way to swim