How to Do the Yoga-with-Weights Swimmer Exercise

The Swimmer is a right brain–left brain, cross-shifting exercise. Because you work opposite arms and legs, you develop coordination and balance skills. This yoga-with-weights exercise works your arms, legs, lats (the muscles in your upper back), and buttocks. The trunk of your body also gets a workout.

Strap on both ankle weights and grab one hand weight for this exercise. When you’re ready, follow these steps:

  1. Get on all fours with your wrists directly below your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips.

    After you get in this position, grab the hand weight with your left hand and keep it on the ground, directly under your shoulder. Spread the fingers of your right hand for support. Focus your gaze on the fingers of your supporting hand.

    You can roll up a mat or pillow and put it under your supporting hand if you get tired too easily during this exercise. Elevating your hand distributes your weight more evenly across your entire body.

  2. Extend your right leg straight back, and plant the ball and toes of your right foot on the ground.

    This is the starting position.

  3. As you inhale to a count of four, raise your left arm and right leg simultaneously to the height of your shoulders and hips.

    Keep your eyes on the fingers of your supporting hand so you don’t strain your neck.

  4. As you exhale to a count of four, lower your left arm and right leg to the starting position.

    Be patient as you lower your arm and leg — don’t drop them to the floor.

The more times you do this exercise, the easier it will become to lift the weights.

Alternating arms and legs, do this exercise six to eight times, pause to rest, and then do another six to eight repetitions with each arm and leg.

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