Tips to Improve Swimming Conditioning


One of the best things about swimming is that it gives you an intense, rigorous workout and it’s fun to do.  Swimming workouts are perhaps the most effective, safe, full-body workouts you can do. It’s great for your heart, increases your flexibility, builds long, lean muscles and strengthens your core. Whether you’re looking for a swimming workout for beginners or you’re a seasoned open water adventurer, we have some dryland workout tips and exercises for swimmers of all types.

Create Swimming Workouts that Make Sense

The best swimming workouts are much more than just swimming laps.  For the best results start with a swimming workout plan and stick to it.  

Warm Up: Warm ups for swimming being outside the pool. Do several arm rotations to the side, in front, and above your head. Do a variety of dynamic stretches, like squats, lunges, knee-to-chest grabs, and a few good old jumping jacks and push-ups always help. If you practice yoga, a sun salutation is a great stretching technique.  Finish your warm up in the pool with 2 or more laps at a slow pace.

Drills: Drills get your heart rate up and your body moving faster. This is the time to focus on your technique before you get tired. Do 2 – 4 laps with a kickboard and 2 – 4 freestyle laps doing a fingertip drag as you recover from each pull. Double the laps if you’re an accomplished swimmer.

Sets: Now it’s time to really get it going. Your swimming workouts should include three key components of swimming training – speed, technique, and endurance. Focus on one thing for each workout.

Cool Down: After your sets you should cool down with 2 – 4 laps (or more) at an easy pace. Once out of the water, additional stretching helps your body recover. Pay special attention to your shoulders, back and hips.

Is Weight Training for Swimmers Necessary?

Weight training should be a part of every workout regimen, including swimming. But weight lifting for swimmers doesn’t mean have to hit the gym three days a week or buy a bunch of weights for your home workouts. You can get the same type of weight lifting exercises with isometrics, which provide the same type of resistance by using your own body and gravity.

Weight training also doesn’t mean you get big and beefy. It depends on the amount of weight you lift and types of exercises you do. Weight lifting breaks down muscles, so lifting heavier weights can limit your speed and endurance, at least at the beginning of a weight training regimen. We recommend lifting lighter weights with more reps to build strength and endurance without bulking up.

Weight training for swimmers is more about strength training than anything else. Building your strength will make you a faster swimmer, and it also helps you avoid injuries. Swimmers are susceptible to shoulder injuries, such as inflammation, rotator cuff injuries, and should impingement syndrome. Swimmers are also prone to neck and low back pain. So, reduce the risk of injury and swim faster by including a strength training element to your swimming workout plan.

The Best Exercises for Swimmers

Exercises for swimmers don’t have to be done at the pool or the gym. Again, with isometrics you can exercise at home using your own body as the gym. Here are several exercises that will build your strength and endurance, increase your flexibility, and improve the quality of your swimming workouts in the pool.

Shoulder External Rotation

Isometric Shoulder Exercises

  • Bend your left elbow by your side to 90 degrees.
  • Reach your right arm over and place your right palm on the outside of your left forearm.
  • Press your palm against your forearm, squeezing both shoulders and upper back.
  • Repeat with your right arm.

Jump Squat

Isometric Leg Exercises

Add power to your lets with this plyometric variation on the traditional squat.

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Slowly bend your knees, keeping them above your toes.
  • Stop when you’re halfway down and hold it for 10 seconds. This is an isometric hold.
  • Go as low as you can with your arms out parallel to the floor.
  • Now, instead of raising slowly back up to standing position, leap into the air with your hands reaching up high. If you’re indoors, make sure you don’t hit the ceiling. Land on the balls of your feet for a soft landing.

Trunk Rotation

Isometric Ab Exercises

Powerful swim strokes require a strong core. Combine this exercise with a standard crunch.

  • Place your left palm on your right shoulder.
  • Keep your right arm relaxed by your side.
  • Keep your back straight and both hips square. Rotate your torso to the left as you push your left palm into your right shoulder.
  • Hold this for 10 seconds and repeat on the other side.
  • Do this complete exercise 10 times.

Isometric “Military” Press

Isometric Shoulder Exercises

  • Stand up straight and bend your left elbow by your side, fist up.
  • Place your right palm on top of your left fist. Your right arm should be parallel to the ground with your elbow bent about 90 degrees.
  • Press your right palm into your left fist and hold this for 10 seconds. Repeat on the other side.
  • Do this complete exercise 10 times.

Improve Swimming Conditioning with Activ5

The best swimming workouts are often done outside the pool. It’s about preparing your body to perform at maximum potential when you’re in the water. It doesn’t matter if you’re a competitive swimmer or just looking for a good cardio swimming workout, an isometric strength training program will get you to where you want to be faster, safer, and more efficiently than any other workout regimen. And to improve your isometric workouts, consider Activ5 which has over 100 gym-based isometric exercises that improve your strength, endurance, flexibility, and power. Activ5 makes workouts fun, tracks your progress on a sophisticated smartphone app, and functions as a game controller.

Remember to consult with your physician before beginning any exercise routine.

Developing a Tennis Workout Plan: Top Tennis Exercises


You can enjoy playing tennis from the time you can walk to the time you can’t. A lifelong tennis career is all about learning the proper technique, conditioning, and avoiding injuries. Developing a workout plan for tennis exercises is crucial to all of the above. You can get a tennis body that is strong, flexible, durable, and fit. We’ll show you some exercises for tennis players and ways you can avoid getting tennis shoulder or elbow.

Why Create Workouts for Tennis Players

Tennis is good exercise and a lot of fun.  Playing tennis well requires practice and coaching to learn proper form and technique for serving, ground strokes, and strategy. It also requires you to be in pretty good shape. A tennis exercise plan is crucial for any player, regardless of your skill level, fitness, or age.

Establish Goals: Figure out what your goals are. For instance, do you want to play on your school team or in a league? Do you want to have fun with friends and stay in shape? Do you want to play in an upcoming tournament? Establishing goals will guide your workout regimen.

Workout Vs. Training: Your plan should include both. You must develop your fundamental tennis skills and also do exercises that build overall tennis fitness.

Workout Requirements: Identify what you need to work on and select exercises that focus on your fitness needs and goals. You need strong legs, core, shoulders and arms. What do you need to work on most?

Tennis fitness training begins with a workout plan. Set it up, stick to it, and your tennis game will improve in a short time.

Best Workouts for Tennis Players

Playing a good game of tennis is about form and technique. Small adjustments make a big difference, like a quarter turn on your grip to change the position of your racquet head and changing feet position for ground strokes. Increasing your strength and speed will help you control the ball better, cover the court faster, and last longer during rallies. Here are some tennis conditioning exercises for your legs, core, and shoulders.

Tennis Squat

Get your tennis player legs with this isometric and plyometric variation on the squat.  

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Slowly bend your knees, keeping them above your toes.
  • Stop when you’re halfway down and hold it for 10 seconds. This is an isometric hold.
  • Go as low as you can with your arms out parallel to the floor. Slowly raise back up to standing position.
  • Repeat 10 times.

To increase your explosiveness, try adding a plyometric move. Instead of raising slowly back up to standing position, leap into the air with your hands stretched up high. If you’re indoors, make sure you don’t hit the ceiling.  Land on the balls of your feet for a soft landing.

Trunk Rotation

Isometric Exercise

Powerful forehands and backhands require a strong core. Combine this exercise with a standard crunch.  

  • Place your left palm on your right shoulder.
  • Keep your right arm relaxed by your side.
  • Keep your back straight and both hips square. Rotate your torso to the left as you push your left palm into your right shoulder.
  • Hold this for 10 seconds and repeat on the other side.
  • Do this complete exercise 10 times.

Isometric Shoulder Press

Isometric Shoulder Exercises

Strong shoulders are crucial to your tennis game, especially your serve. This is something you can do at home with no equipment.

  • Stand up straight and bend your left elbow by your side, fist up.
  • Place your right palm on top of your left fist. Your right arm should be parallel to the ground with your elbow bent about 90 degrees.
  • Press your right palm into your left fist and hold this for 10 seconds. Repeat on the other side.
  • Do this complete exercise 10 times.

 

Avoid Tennis Shoulder or Tennis Elbow Forever

There are lots of repetitive motions in tennis, which lead to inflammation, strains, and even tears in your elbows and shoulders. You can help avoid these kinds of injuries with a few simple exercises. We prefer isometric exercises because they are zero-impact and you can do them anytime with no equipment.

Shoulder External Rotation

Isometric Shoulder Exercises

  • Bend your left elbow by your side to 90 degrees.
  • Reach your right arm over and place your right palm on the outside of your left forearm.
  • Press your palm against your forearm, squeezing both shoulders and upper back.
  • Repeat with your right arm.

French Tricep Press

Shoulder Rehab Exercises

  • Bend and lift your left elbow to eye level.
  • Make a fist with your left hand.
  • Place your right palm over your left fist.
  • Press your left fist and right palm together, as you squeeze your shoulder muscles.
  • Repeat with your right arm.

Tennis elbow is a nagging injury that often never goes away. Always ice after playing, consider an anti-inflammatory (ibuprofen), and try these exercises.  

Fist Clench

  • Rest your forearm flat on a table.
  • Slowly squeeze a towel and hold for 10 seconds.
  • Release and repeat 10 times.

Towel Twist

  • Clench the towel with both hands and twist, as if you’re wringing out water.
  • Do it in the opposite direction.
  • Repeat 10 times for each hand.

Wrist Extensions

  • Sit down and rest your arm flat on your leg.  
  • Hold a light dumbbell (2lb or so) in your hand, palm up.  
  • Flex your wrist by curling it toward your body.
  • Repeat 10 times for each hand.

Wrist Flexion

  • Turn your arm over with your palm facing down.
  • Extend your wrist down and pull it back up.
  • Repeat 10 times.

Improve Your Game With Tennis Exercises

Tennis exercises are designed to improve your strength, stamina, and flexibility, while at the same time help you avoid injury. You should also focus on your ankles, knees and hips because of the high-impact nature of sprinting and jumping on a hard-court surface. Isometric exercise is a safe way to get in a full body workout.  Consider Activ5 which has over 100 gym-based isometric exercises that can improve your strength, flexibility, balance, and power. Activ5 makes workouts fun, tracks your progress on a sophisticated smartphone app, and functions as a game controller.

Remember to consult with your physician before beginning any exercise routine.

Best Ways to Improve Your Soccer Skills


If you play soccer at any level, you need to master three primary skills – dribbling, trapping, and striking. Of course, juggling the ball can draw a crowd, but would you rather show off on the sidelines or dribble past an opponent on your way to scoring a goal? We will show you some of the best soccer drills to improve the soccer skills you need to succeed on the soccer field.  

Practice Soccer Drills Every Day

Soccer is a sport you can practice on your own with minimal soccer practice equipment. A soccer ball and some basic household items is all you really need to set up soccer training drills that you can do every day. Try these two drills to improve your dribbling and trapping skills.

Triangle Drill: Keeping the ball close and in control is key to dribbling well. This drill teaches you ball control in a tight space.

  • Place three sports cones or plastic bottles in a triangle about 2 feet apart.
  • Dribble the ball between and around the cones.
  • Use all the surfaces of your feet, including the bottom of your foot.

Inside / Outside Cone Drill: This drill improves your basic soccer skills for both trapping and dribbling.

  • Place 8 – 10 cones or plastic bottles 2 yards apart in a straight line.
  • With the inside of your right foot kick the ball to the left.
  • Then use the outside of your left foot to keep the ball going in the same direction.
  • Then, kick the ball to the right with the inside of your left foot and keep it going using the outside of your right foot. Get it?

Weave in and out of the cones. This move can be a little tricky, but once you master it, you’re dribbling will be top notch and you’ll be able to trap the ball with the inside or outside of each foot.

Use Top Soccer Training Exercises

Soccer skills training is important to improve your basic skills. It’s also important to stay in top physical condition. These two basic soccer drills will have you winded but feeling more fit every time you do them.

25’s: This drill improves your aerobic fitness, acceleration/deceleration ability, as well as your speed while dribbling.

  • Place 5 cones 5 yards apart for 20 yards.
  • Sprint from cone 1 to cone 2 and back.
  • Sprint to cone 3 and back and so forth until you’ve sprinted back and forth to all 4 cones.
  • Rest for one minute and repeat. Do this 10 times.
  • Now, do the same drill but do it while dribbling the ball.
  • Do this 5 times with your right foot and 5 times with your left foot.

Plank Climber: A strong core is key to running faster, striking harder, and longer endurance. This simple exercise works your entire core safely and effectively. No ball needed.

  • Start in plank position.
  • Slowly bring your right knee up to your chest and back down.
  • Repeat with your left foot.
  • Keep it slow and keep your back flat and straight.
  • Do this for one minute, rest for 30 seconds, and repeat 5 times.

Use a Mix of High- & Low-Impact Techniques

Strength training is key to explosiveness, agility, speed, and endurance. A combination of plyometrics and isometrics can elevate your strength training and improve your technical and tactical soccer skills.

The Speed Skater (plyometrics): This exercise mimics the movements of a speed skater and increases your ability to move side to side.

  • Start with your feet shoulder width apart.
  • Raise your right knee up toward your left shoulder.
  • Lower your left knee and push hard to the right.
  • Land on your right foot and lower yourself down to the right.
  • Push back to the left foot.

Kind of feels like you’re speed skating, right? Try and hold the lowered position on each side for a few seconds before pushing off to the other side. You can do this as an agility ladder soccer drill by launching yourself down the soccer ladder if you have this soccer practice equipment.

Squat and Hold (isometrics):  One of the “mother” exercises, the squat works your entire body in one exercise. This version includes isometric holds, making it even more effective (and hard!).

  • Stand tall with your feet shoulder width apart.
  • Slowly lower your body by pushing your hips back and bending your knees.
  • About halfway down, stop and extend your arms out parallel to the floor.
  • Hold it here for 10 seconds, then continue lowering yourself as low as you can go.
  • Raise back up to standing position and repeat 10 times.

Remember to keep your stomach muscles flexed to increase the intensity of this squat in your core.

Soccer Drills: Practice Makes Perfect

Practice can be tedious, but daily soccer drills will make you better.  And as with any sport, you can spend a fortune on soccer skills training equipment. Resist the urge. Maybe get some soccer cones, but you can make your own soccer training center out of things you have at home.

To help you get stronger faster, we recommend the Activ5 portable training device and coaching app. Activ5 has over 100 gym-based exercises that can improve your endurance, balance, and power. Activ5 makes workouts fun, tracks your progress on a sophisticated smartphone app, and functions as a game controller. Even the Pittsburgh Steelers are using it!

Remember to consult with your physician before beginning any exercise routine.