The secret to defined abs?

August 13, 2012 8:19:28 PM PDT
The Olympic stadium and village in London are now quiet and empty, as thousands of the world's best athletes are returning to their homes all over the globe.

The end of the games may be the perfect beginning to your new fitness routine. The secret to success might be found in the pool.

We've all been there -- no matter how many grueling exercises you do, crunches never seems to be enough.

"It worked OK for a while, but the reality was it really wasn't keeping me lean," swimmer Rob Botard said.

"If you are running, you're mostly working your legs. If you are weight lifting you are focusing on one body part," swimmer Rita Jonas said.

So Jonas and Botard decided to take the plunge.

"It's a full body activity from the wrist to the ankles," swim coach T.J. Fry said.

Fry says the average person can burn up to 1,000 calories an hour in the pool. Compare that to walking, which burns only about 300 calories an hour.

"Because it's full body, there is a huge calorie burn when you do a swim workout like that, and people don't always equate the two because the water is cool, you don't feel like you are sweating, it's not that same beat down workout that a run in this heat would be."

Fry says the reason you see those sculpted abs on swimmers is because everything is driven from the core.

"They are going to be using their abs to maintain the rotation, to maintain a straight line or a stable body form but they're also going to use their back a lot and that is the v-shape that you see with a lot of those swimmers," Fry said.

Here are the key areas to concentrate on while in the pool. First, your hips.

"People will talk about how you rotate from the hips or you do the rotation, a lot of it is core driven and that is essentially your kick," Fry said.

Next, your upper body: Swimming will develop your shoulders and back.

"As the arm is entering the water you are using a lot of shoulders to extend the body rotates and that's when you start engaging that core your lats," Fry said.

Remember, though, one trip to the pool won't do any good.

"You need to probably be three times a week and build yourself up to about an hour to 45 minutes of swimming, which goes by pretty quick when you are in the water," Fry said.

Jonas spends three to four days a week in the pool. And in three years, the results have been dramatic.

"I did not expect to have the results that I had I just wanted to get a little bit healthier and meet some personal goals and I far exceeded those goals," she said.

Botard agrees. He says swimming has taken him from 'average guy' to the fit form he's always dreamed of.

"People have all kinds of challenges, people have all kinds of goals but swimming has kind of brought it all together for me," he said.


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