These moves—from Dara Torres's New York Times best-selling book, Gold Medal Fitness—are just a few of the many core-intensive exercises and stretches that Dara incorporates into her everyday training to help her become stronger, swim faster, and recover more easily. But you don't have to be an Olympic-caliber athlete to make them work for you.
Stand with feet hip-width, knees bent slightly, hands crossed over chest. Squat down, pressing weight into feet. Make sure feet are pointing straight ahead and knees are over your toes; keep bum tucked. Return to standing.
Put both hands on the edge of a bench. Get into push-up position, with feet a little wider than shoulder-width. Tuck pelvis under and engage abs by pulling belly button in toward your spine. Lower and push yourself up as fast as you can.
Start on hands and knees with feet toward stability ball or wall. Lift right leg, point right toes toward ceiling; move your knee 4 inches away from ball. Rest top of foot against ball. Slowly bring left leg into lunge position with left foot flat on the floor, knee over ankle; lift torso. Kick top of right foot into ball to contract quads; as you kick, use left leg to push body back and torso upright, stretching quads.
Start in push-up position with hands shoulder-width apart. Keeping elbows tight in at sides, slowly lower chest toward ground; push back up. Do this very slowly, to feel stretch across chest. And keep body flat, like a plank, pulling belly button in toward spine (don't let belly sag).