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Stationary Swimming with the latest Swimming Pool Excercise Equipment -

It's like having a personal Olympic size Swimming Pool

If you are like me, the idea of riding a stationary bike, or walking on a treadmill, causes you to yawn. There is nothing exciting about locking yourself in a room while you pretend you are a hamster on a wheel and walk and walk and walk and get absolutely no where. You much prefer to strut down the street in your best possible "power-walk" form, breath the fresh air, and wave hi to everyone you pass. That's what get the adrenalin to pump and motivates you to get your sneakers on.

But let's face it, stationary training does have its place. "Life" tends to get in the way and causes us to improvise, whether it's due to an out of town trip, the thunderstorm of the year, or family obligations which drive you to exercise at odd hours. Now swimming happens to be a favorite exercise of mine, but unfortunately, my inground swimming pool is really not large enough to do a good series of laps, (it's hard to get a good rhythm when you can only do four strokes and then need to turn) so the only alternative I had was to use the swimming pool at YMCA. And, yes, it felt a little redundant to pay for a Y membership to swim when I already owned a pool, and yes, it was often very frustrating how much time I spent driving back and forth to the Y to get in some swimming.

So I definitely raised an eyebrow when I heard about stationary swimming.

Yes, I did say stationary swimming! While stationary bikes, ellipticals and treadmills are readily accessible at almost any gym or hotel and are also readily affordable for your home, I didn't realize that there was also a functional, portable, and affordable option for an effective 'stationary' swimming workout.

I began searching in earnest to find what was available. I already knew of about "swimming machines." These are small pools, approximately 8' x 15', that have a river-like current flowing through them, so you are in essence swimming against the current and won't move forward. Although these are exceptional machines, they are neither portable nor affordable, and they can actually cost as much as a full size backyard pool! Plus, I already had a pool, and certainly wasn't looking to buy another.

What I wanted was a simple "tether" holding me in place as I try to swim forward. It needed to be easy to install, easy to uninstall for that occasional out of town trip, easy to carry, and not create a snarl of cord that I could wrap myself up in. Essentially, I found 3 products which are worth reviewing, and I'll discuss those in detail.

1. Aquavee - This product actually claim to be two unique exercise products in one. In many ways, it is similar to other products on the market, but does offer a few extra features, so I chose it for my review. In its basic form, it is an elastic cord, where the center of the cord attaches to you on a waist belt, and the two ends attach to the tiles of your pool via suction cups. It acts as a simple tether holding you stationary as you try to swim forward. As a bonus, and labeled Aquavee Pilates Plus, you can also attach some additional cords to the back, and perform some simple resistance training exercises. (these, of course, require you be standing in the pool, not swimming). There are handles on the ends of these extra cords, and you can attach them to either your hands or feet.

This product certainly qualifies as simplistic and easy to install, but I have two basic issues. First, the cords in the back, which attach to the side of the pool, must be spread far enough apart or they will get in the way of your feet. This isn't a problem for most kicks, but can be for wider kicks such as a frog kick. Also, the product attaches to the side of the pool with suction cups. This isn't going to work in a vinyl pool as they don't have tiles, and I have never seen a suction cup with a very long life. Bottom line, good idea but a few of the technical details need some work.

Price ranges from approximately $90 - $120 depending on whether you get the basic or Pilates Plus version.


2. Riptide - This is a product which tethers you to the side of the pool with a long stretchy cord, but unlike most systems, it attaches to you by your toes. Outside the pool, it has a simple cord which can be attached to either a pool lane grommet or any fixed object like a pool ladder. This cord passes through a float and then down to a Y shaped cable, the ends of which attach to special water shoes. You simply attach the cables to the shoes, and slip the shoes on your feet, and you are ready to swim in place without any interference.

Although it's a bit unorthodox, and does initially look as if having cables on your feet would cause an incredible snarl, it does provide an unencumbered, full range of motion for both your arms and legs. It allows you to keep good body position and you can rotate from swimming on your stomach to swimming on your back without needing to adjust a waist belt. It is a tension cord, so the stronger and harder you kick, the more tension is created, which in turns makes it harder to kick. What a workout.

My only complaint with this product is the shoes. It is possible to buy shoes separately, but at approximately forty five dollars apiece, and a family of four with varying foot sizes, it becomes a bit pricier than the other products. And, it is necessary to get new shoes each year as my kids simply refuse to stop growing.

Price for the Riptide system is $75 and extra shoes are $45.


3. HomeSwimmer - This product tethers you to the side of the pool via a waist belt, but with a very new approach. Like other products, it has a waist belt with a hook on the back to which you attach a cord. This cord is anchored at the side of the pool and is what keeps you stationary as you try to swim forward. The novelty here comes with the manner to which it is anchored at the side of the pool. Clearly, if you had a cord which ran from your waist to the side of the pool, and the cord remained at the surface level of the water, it would obstruct your ability to kick. The HomeSwimmer cord is actually lifted out of the water as it is attached to the top of a pole, thus keeping the cord well out of your way. Installation is a simple matter of putting the pole together with its base, putting this into the pool, anchoring the pole to some outside object or with a stake in the grass, and attaching your cord to the top of the pole. It doesn't require any tools and takes all of three minutes from start to finish. And in addition to being easy to install, it can be used for both inground swimming pools and above ground swimming pools.

I appreciate the simplicity of this product, and the fact that everyone in the family is able to use it. I also think that its ability to use in both inground swimming pools and above ground swimming pools gives it an edge over the rest. So, the HomeSwimmer is what gets my vote.

Price for the HomeSwimmer is about $85.


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