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Swimsuits for Exercise

author image Andrea Cespedes
Andrea Cespedes is a professionally trained chef who has focused studies in nutrition. With more than 20 years of experience in the fitness industry, she coaches cycling and running and teaches Pilates and yoga. She is an American Council on Exercise-certified personal trainer, RYT-200 and has degrees from Princeton and Columbia University.
Swimsuits for Exercise
Suits should enhance, not detract, from your workout. Photo Credit Photos.com/Photos.com/Getty Images

When you head to the water for a workout, you need a suit that works as hard as you do. Suits that create excess drag, rub you the wrong way, fail to support or slip off when you're sprinting 50 meters can mean workout disaster. The type of swimsuit you choose depends mostly on what type of water exercise you do and whether you're spending more time in the water or on dry land.

Lap Swimming

Women who swim laps are best off with a one-piece. The suit is streamlined and won't create excess drag that slows you down. A racer-back suit provides the greatest range of motion for your shoulders, and you can be sure the straps won't fall down midlap. Men should stick to streamlined suits for lap swimming as well -- baggy trunks create drag. Streamlined suits come in varying lengths; the one you choose is really a matter of preference. Briefs, boxer-style and board-length are all options.

Competitive Suits

Men and women have the option of wearing full-on body suits that cover your legs and torso to create a streamlined shape in the water. These "championship" suits are usually reserved for major competitions. They are made from compressive performance fabric, which creates maximizes your efficiency in the water.

On the Beach and Water Aerobics

If you're more likely to hit a game of beach volleyball or go for a run on packed sand, swimsuit drag isn't a concern. A two-piece suit consisting of a crop top or full tank and boy shorts or briefs works well for women, as do most supportive one-pieces. Board shorts or baggy swim trunks are fine choices when men exercise on land. For women who prefer water aerobics, a scoop-back one-piece or bikini that features wide straps and bra cups will support jumping and twisting movements.

Fit and Physique

Your primary concern may be function, but you still want to look good in your suit. Women with short torsos should try a halter-top bikini with hipster bottoms to provide the illusion of length, while long-torso women do best with high-cut legs to give the appearance of longer legs. Pear-shaped women minimize heavier hips and thighs with dark bottoms, while women with a larger midsection may prefer to stick to one-piece models in a dark color. Fit is also important when it comes to swimsuit performance during exercise. If the straps of your suit dig into your shoulders, you probably need a larger size. A suit in which the fabric buckles at your torso is likely too large. Men's suits should hug the waist, but not cut into the flesh. Fitted trunks are snug but not overly tight on the legs.

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