Eager to hit the pool? These exercises are good preparation

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Heading down to your local community pool for a relaxing swim is an activity that many look forward to. Here are a few exercises you can try to help prepare your body for swimming.

• Anterior and posterior arm lifts: Lie on a bench holding light hand weights (2-5 pounds). Keeping your abdominals contracted and your chest slightly lifted, slowly raise the weights forward until they are horizontal with your body. Then return to the starting position and press the weights backwards. Keep your arms only slightly bent during the entire range of motion so the motion comes from the shoulder joint, not the elbow. Repeat 8-20 times.

• Rear leg lifts: Lie on your stomach with your legs straight and your head in a comfortable position. Slowly lift both legs off the floor, focus on lengthening and reaching the legs rather than how high you can lift. Keep your abdominals tight and contract your buttock muscle. Pause and then return to the starting position. Repeat 8-20 reps.

• Opposite arm and leg lift: Lie on your stomach and place your hands on the floor in front of you. Keeping your abdominals tight, slowly lift one leg and your opposite arm off the floor. Once you’ve got the technique, increase your speed and flutter your arms and legs quickly. Repeat for 30-90 seconds.

• Trunk stretch: Lie on your back over a few pillows positioned at the height of your shoulder blades. Position your arms overhead and allow your body to stretch over the pillows.

Sherri McMillan, M.Sc., is the owner of Northwest Personal Training in downtown Vancouver. She can be reached at www.nwPersonalTraining.com or www.ShapeupwithSherri.com.