How Tos,  Training and Technique

Six fun and unusual cross-training activities

Training for open water swimming unfortunately often involves endless lengths of an indoor pool. If all that chlorine is getting you down, try something fun and unusual and take your training out of the pool. Cross-training will improve your fitness and strength and help prevent injury by utilising under-used muscle groups to prevent imbalances. Try one of these six cross-training activities from stunt swimmer Angela Keen to bust the boredom of the pool.  

Rock climbing and bouldering are great upper body workouts that correspond to a front crawl stroke. Find a local climbing wall and ask for a taster session.

Trampolining is so much fun you won’t feel like you’re doing hundreds of stomach crunches, but flying up in the air has about the same effect. Abdominal strength is valuable for swimmers to maximise efficiency, so find a drop-in trampoline class and do some back bounces.

Kayaking is a sociable all-year-round outdoor activity. Your local club will be able to teach you the basics. A long steady paddle is perfect cross-training for long distance swimming.

High diving is the ultimate test of managing fear. By doing something incredibly scary, it can put other lesser fears into perspective or help you realise that if you can do something as hard as jumping off a high board, you can do anything. Diving is also a lot of fun and can give you an instant sense of achievement.

Kickboxing is a fantastic activity to develop quick reactions – perfect if you are looking to do a short, fast swim event. If you don’t fancy the prospect of getting hit, don’t worry, a class can simply involve high intensity cardio training followed by practice on the punch bags. Repetitive two-minute bouts of anaerobic training perfectly prepare you for swim sprints

Train like a circus performer by slacklining, which is like tightrope walking. Trying to balance on an unstable surface forces your body to engage the small synergist muscles, turning you into an all-round more efficient swimmer.

Find out more about Angela Keen at zero-superhero.com and twitter @zero2superhero