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Cool off this summer while you burn off fat


It's now officially summer and that means it's the perfect time to get off of that treadmill or stair stepper and take your cardio outdoor.

Great ways to get in some different forms of cardio this summer include bike riding, hiking, running HIIT, and of course, swimming. If you have access to a pool, a good HIIT swim workout is to time how long it takes you to swim one lap. Once you have the average time it takes you to complete one lap, do HIIT swimming by completing a lap and resting for half the time it take you to complete one lap. For example, if it takes you 10 seconds to complete one lap, rest 5 seconds. Continue in this fashion for about 15-20 minutes.

If you have access to a pool with a decent length of shallow area, you can also do water sprints, which is a great form of Power HIIT due to the resistance of the water.

Again, just like with the swimming, time how long it takes you to make it across the pool. Take half of that time and use it as your rest intervals. So if it takes you 10 seconds to complete one length, you will rest 5 seconds. Continue in this fashion for 15-20 minutes.

Another way to use the pool for cardio is take plyometrics to the pool.

Yes, plometrics can be a great alternative for cardio. Plyometrics is a type of training that involves first a "loading phase", followed immediately by an "explosive contraction phase". A good example of a plyometric exercise is the drop jump or box jump. To do this, you start by standing on top of a box or bench that is about knee height with your feet hanging over the edge. You drop down to the floor and land with soft knees, squatting down to absorb the impact. This is the "loading phase". Once you land you immediately explode out of the bottom of the squat position, jumping up as high as you can. This is the "explosive contraction phase". This type of training maximizes the muscle's ability to gain explosive power. This is the power that allows sprinters to run so fast and jumpers to jump so high. Plyometrics are able to produce such significant increases in explosive muscle power due to the fact that during the "loading phase" the muscles store elastic energy that is then released during the "explosive contraction phase", allowing you to jump higher than you normally could. It is this elastic energy in the muscles that allows kangaroos to jump so far. are basically bounding exercises that you do by jumping and landing and immediately jumping again. A lot of people think that plyometrics are just ballistic exercises, like jump squats. But the important part is doing the negative part of the exercise first. That's why you should start on a box or other high surface and drop down and then immediately jump.

Research has shown that doing plyometrics in the pool develops the same strength and power as doing them on dry land, but it can help reduce the strain on the joints.

One exercise you can do in the shallow end of a pool (2-3 feet) is stand at the edge of the pool, drop down into the water and as soon as you land on the bottom of the pool, reverse the motion and jump up as high as you can. Repeat this for 5 times and then rest about 30 seconds. Do about 6 sets of 6 reps in this fashion.

You can follow these pool drop jumps with an exercise known as bounding.

In about 3 feet of water or even deeper, jump forward as high and as far as you can off of one leg. Land on the opposite leg and immediately jump off of that leg as high and as far as you can landing on the opposite leg. Keep going in this fashion for up to one minute and rest 30 seconds between sets. Do this for about 10 minutes.

While this workout will burn up a few calories during the workout, the real key to its fat-loss effects are the number of calories you burn after the workout is over.

This type of training raises your metabolic rate after the workout is over for several hours. Some evidence suggest that it can keep your metabolic rate elevated for 24-48 hours.

Of course, the best plan is to combine all four into one workout.

Start with about 10 minutes of swimming HIIT style. Take a 2 or 3-minute breather and then move to pool drop jumps. Take another 2 or 3-minute breather and do 10 minutes of bounding HIIT style. Then take a final 2 or 3-minute breather and do 10 minutes of water sprints HIIT style. Or do these all as four separate workouts throughout the day.

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