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Try this time-saving workout that can help with scuba and lifeguard training

Once you start learning about military fitness, you’ll find that there are classic combination workouts that are used throughout the military training world. If you’ve ever had to squeeze multiple exercises into a short space of time because of your busy schedule, you may have stumbled upon what many refer to as “swimming PT.”

If you’ve attended lifeguard training, scuba diving school, or other aquatic special operations programs, you may have had an extended pool session with some of the following events. Below I’ve listed some of the classic ways you can work on your swimming endurance, technique and calisthenics condition.

Swim PT: If you only have 30 minutes, try this workout

Repeat as many times as you can in 30 minutes:

  • Swimming: 100 meters each stroke
  • Push-ups: 20
  • Flapping Kicks: 20
  • Excerpts: 10 (muscle high on poolside)

Swim and Kick PT: When you need to work on your pedaling

Repeat five times (30 minutes total):

  • Swim three minutes fast (any move)
  • Rest with three minutes of pedaling (mixture of no hands, only hands and a mixture of both types of pedalling)

Swimming underwater mask

With a freestyle swimming partner overhead, swim underwater for as long as you can comfortably. If you need to breathe, leave the mask down and swap places with your swim partner.

Now when you swim on the surface, your buddy must remove the mask and start swimming underwater. You can only advance the mask by swimming underwater. Continue this combination of underwater, surface swim, and mask cleansing until you’ve either accumulated a total of 500 yards or set a 30-minute time limit. If that’s too far, set a time limit that suits your ability.

Swim fast with flippers

If you only have 30 minutes and want to get the most out of your swim without resting, try this combo that lets you still move while catching your breath.

Repeat for a total of 30 minutes:

  • Swim: 75 meters fast (any move)
  • Swim: 25 meter turtleback (flutter kicks on back only, face out of water, breathing to catch your breath)

See if you can cover a total of 1,500 to 2,000 meters in 30 minutes.

I personally find that mixing a wide variety of calisthenics with each stroke is a challenge for both swimming and calisthenics. You can get more done in less time and lose much of the monotony of swimming and constantly staring at a black line in the pool for your workout.

If you’re considering a military diver or lifeguard course, you’ll need to get creative with your swim workouts to prepare for those long hours in the pool by combining swim and dive skills and workouts on the pool deck.

— Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness writer who is a certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) by the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Visit his Fitness eBook Store if you want to start an exercise program to create a healthy lifestyle. Send your fitness questions to [email protected]

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