Lifeguard exercises provide a great way for people to get in shape for the physical tests in the lifeguard certification requirements. These tests can be physically demanding, particularly if you don’t swim very often. But after setting up a training schedule, you’ll be surprised at how quickly your body can build both strength and endurance.
First and foremost try to vary your workout routines from day to day, not only to work different muscle groups but also to avoid injuring yourself by overworking the same muscle groups. Take a day off to rest when you feel you need it and don’t push your body past its limits!
Running is good for your cardiovascular fitness and if you are near a beach, running on the sand is an especially great workout. Running endurance will be particularly important if you work on a waterfront and must cover some distance over land before reaching the water during a rescue. However, only regular swimming practice will enable you to build the stamina required to swim quickly or to swim for a longer period of time. Swimming simply involves lots of muscle groups that aren’t heavily activated during runs.
To work on building these swim muscles, try using a kickboard for a few laps in the pool to focus on building your leg strength and then use a pull buoy or leg float to put all of the effort on your arms. Also remember to work on improving your speed by doing swimming sprints. Time yourself and see how often you can break your own records.
If you find that you are getting frustrated with swimming, focus first on your stroke technique before pushing yourself any farther. If you are doing the freestyle or breaststroke wrong, you could be making it much harder on your body to swim. Take a swim class or have an experienced friend watch you swim to give you feedback. Sometimes you won’t realize that you’re doing something wrong so it’s important to get help from others when working on your stroke technique. Having proper form makes swimming a lot easier.
In addition to swimming workouts, be sure to include some strength training in your exercise routines. Upper body strength is essential for rescuing victims from the water but core and lower body strength are also of great importance to a lifeguard. Try some of the following lifeguard exercises:
- Pull-ups and dips are excellent for building that much-needed upper body strength.
- Planks and push-ups are great for working many muscle groups in the arms, back, chest, and abs.
- Try sit-ups for the abdominals.
- Use stair climbing to build lower body strength.
Don’t ever begin a strength training session without warming up first because this will increase the risk of muscle strain. Aim for 15 minutes of warm-up exercises to increase your heart rate and raise your body temperature. Jog, take a brisk walk, or do anything else that gets you moving before beginning your lifeguard exercises.