4 No-Equipment Exercises For People Who Hate Cardio
April 15, 20235 min read
First Things First…
As we near five months in quarantine, some pools and outdoor recreation spots are beginning to open. However, it’s clear that COVID-19 is not ending anytime soon, making it hard for anyone to get a good workout. As a swimmer and someone who hates all other forms of cardio (running, biking, etc.), quarantine has made it hard for me to get my cardio in, as well as train outside the pool.
Whether your pools and gyms simply aren’t open yet, or you don’t feel safe getting your workouts in, here are some exercises you can do from home to improve your performance both in and out of the pool!
Even when your pools do reopen and your workouts become mostly in the water again, it is always good to incorporate dryland
training as part of your exercise regime if you haven’t already. Focusing on your lower body power, core, joint stability, and hip rotation will help you shave off time in meets, or simply gain more endurance and power in your stroke.
1. Squat Jumps
Most people either love or hate squats, and it’s completely understandable. While they’re not too hard to do on their own, adding in other elements like weights or a push-up in-between can make them impossible to do. However, squat jumps are a great exercise for swimmers because it mimics the motion of exploding off the block.
When you squat, try to picture yourself pushing off a wall, or exploding off your starts, and
jumping into the air. If it helps, you can even put your arms in an arrow as you jump.
Make sure that you always have proper form, as it is easy to hurt your back or knees when done incorrectly. To make sure you aren’t leaning too far forwards, test out your form by putting a chair or similar level object behind your butt, and squatting until your butt grazes the object. Make sure that you are always taking your time going in and out of the jump, and landing evenly on your two feet.
If you have back or knee issues and cannot jump, try squatting down and extending through your tiptoes. This takes away the impact of landing on your feet, but still ensures you go through the motion of powering through your legs.
2. V-Sit Kicks
This is an exercise that targets your core and stability. Benefits of having a strong core become obvious when you’re swimming, as backstroke and freestyle depend on a strong core to rotate without compensating with your back muscles. Having a strong core also helps keeps your hips high when kicking, which makes you more efficient.
First, start out by lying on your back on a comfortable surface, like a yoga mat.
Then, bring your legs as close to six inches off the ground as you can, in order to mimic your kicking motion in the pool. Begin small flutter kicks on your back, acting just like you would in the water.
However, if you cannot flutter kick without having pain in your back or compensating by arching your back, modify the exercise by raising your legs up until they are at a level where you can kick through your core.
For the extra challenge and final part of the exercise, slowly bring your arms back from their resting position into a streamline, as tight as you can. If this is too hard, try modifying by placing them in your lap, in order to keep them from helping you balance.
I personally find kicks super hard, so I love to modify them and do them different ways depending on how my strength is feeling that day.
3. Kneeling Supermans
This is an exercise that targets your balance and your ability to maintain it! Because this exercise isolates individual sides of your body, it makes you how aware of how one side of your body is stronger than the other.
Start out on your hands and knees, and begin to slowly extend your right arm, while also extending your left leg. Hold for a few seconds before resetting and going again with your left arm and right leg.
If you want more of a challenge doing this, try having weights or an object in your hand to make it harder to balance.
If you want to modify and make this easier to do, you don’t have to straighten out all the way. Try going out halfway and seeing how long you can hold, and slowly trying to extend longer and longer.
4. Lunges With Twists
Another one of my least favorite but most effective workouts, the lunge!
Lunges are great at working your quads on their own, but with the help of the twist, it helps work the same twisting muscles that you would use when swimming. This also helps you isolate one side of your body to focus on, with balance!
At the end of each lunge, turn towards the leg that you are twisting on. If you are lunging on your right leg, twist your upper body towards the right, and vice versa. Make sure that only your upper half is rotating, and that your feet are firmly planted on the ground to ensure you are working the right muscles.
If you find these too hard, try just doing the twists by themselves with no lunges to get used to the twisting motion, or try putting your front foot on a bit of an elevated surface to decrease the amount your body has to go down.
I created this super short circuit that I’ve been doing lately. This uses all the exercises and I really enjoy doing these for once! Obviously, these are just my preferences, so feel free to modify to your liking!
Start: 0.75 mile run
15 sets of lunges with twists
20 squat jumps
50 v sit kicks
15 sets of kneeling supermans
Repeat the exercises 3X through, with rest after every single round.
Finish: 0.75 walk/jog
I hope you guys enjoyed my very basic and simple workout. Just a final reminder: don’t forget to have fun while working out! Take a pet or family member along with you, walk along a cool new trail until you find somewhere to do your exercise, or even just blast your favorite tunes!
Working out can become such a chore and become something you feel like you have to do. My goal in writing articles like these is to engage the mind and body together, and genuinely feel better both mentally and physically after every workout.