Stay in Shape During the Off-Season

Even though it’s not pool season, lifeguards should stay healthy and stay in shape during the off-season! Keep your swimming skills up, and keep your body healthy throughout the off-season. This way you’ll be ready to jump right back into action when lifeguarding season rolls back around.


Having a scheduled exercise program that you slowly intensify is the safest way to begin any type of physical training. Here are some simple land-based strength training exercises that are awesome for swimmers and increasing performance in the water:

  • Squats: Squats help build and strengthen your leg muscles, strengthen your core, and improve balance. Squats target multiple leg muscles (hamstrings, quads, glutes, calves), giving you a stronger kick in the pool. Therefore, they help increase your swimming speed!
  • Lunges: For swimmers, strong legs are essential! Lunges help improve leg strength. While squats train both legs at the same time, lunges train each leg individually. By targeting each leg separately, lunges help increase your coordination and balance.
  • Push-ups: Push-ups strengthen your core and your upper body! Strengthening your upper body helps you efficiently propel yourself forward in the water. Additionally, a strong core helps you remain stabilized as you’re propelling. A strong upper body and a strong core go hand in hand for swimmers, so push-ups are the way to go!
  • Machine Exercises: All you really need is yourself and your determination to exercise, but machines can be super helpful! If you have access to a gym or exercise machines, they can greatly help your journey to staying in shape. Here are some of the most beneficial machines to help get your swim performance up to speed:
    • Leg Press
    • Row Machine
    • Leg Extension Machine
    • Calf Raise Machine
    • Leg Curl Machine
    • Back Extension Machine

Swim Drills

It’s easy to slack off on your swimming skills during the colder months. However, to succeed in the pool, you’ll want to remain physically prepared. This is why it’s a good idea to keep yourself accustomed to swimming even during the off season. Hop into your local indoor pool and get your swim on with some swim drills!

Here are some swim drill ideas you can practice with friends to get in top lifeguard shape. Remember to always have a lifeguard on duty while practicing your drills.

  • Kickback: In this drill, one person pretends to be an unconscious victim, and the other is the rescuer. With the victim on the rescue tube, the rescuer must tow the victim across the length of the pool and back as quickly and as safely as possible. Successfully complete this drill in 20-60 seconds depending on the width of the pool.
  • Extrication: In this drill, there are two rescuers and one victim. The primary rescuer starts on the side of the pool with the victim, while the secondary rescuer waits on the deck with the backboard. The objective is to have the victim on the deck using the backboard technique as quickly and safely as possible. Successfully complete this drill in about 20 seconds.

Your health should always be a top priority! However, it’s especially important for lifeguards to stay in shape. Why? Because you save lives! Stay in shape during the off-season so that you can be the best hero possible. Try a few (or all!) of these activities to stay in shape during the off season. Build your strength on land, and practice swim drills so you’ll be ready to perform in the pool when summer rolls back around!

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