Swimming is one of the best workouts for any level of athlete. It is one of the few exercises that targets almost all of your muscles simultaneously, yet the risk of injury is slim to none. Unfortunately, a lot of people dismiss the idea of a workout in the pool out of fear, lack of abilities, or lack of interest.

Those people are missing out on one of the quickest, most efficient workouts out there – don’t let that be you!

Anyone can do it!

Despite what you may think, you do not need to be a former swimmer to have a successful swim workout. As long as you have the main concept of swimming, preferably freestyle (also known as crawl or front stroke), then you will be just fine.

Don’t be intimidated by the pool or by fellow swimmers. Despite popular belief, they are not Olympians in training, they are just like you, looking to squeeze in a quick workout.

Why swimming?

An average person can burn almost three times the amount of calories if they chose a 30 minute swim workout, as opposed to a 30 minute weight training workout. This is partially due to the wasted time transitioning from machine to machine, chatting with friends, or fidgeting with your iPod.

In the water there are very few outside distractions to keep you from filling an entire 30 minutes of intense exercise. Not only will your workout be more efficient, it will be less time consuming. And who doesn’t need more time in a day?

How do I get started?

Just like any new activity, you will need a few gear-specific items: a one piece swim suit, goggles, and a swim cap if you prefer to use one. Most pools provide other gear such as kickboards and pull buoys to their members at no extra cost. Other than that, the sport is very low maintenance and your gear will last you at least two to three years.

There are two types of pools; short course (25 yards) and long course (50 yard). Most gyms and neighborhoods are equipped with 25 yard pools. A long course pool is typically associated with the term, “Olympic Sized”, as it is much larger.

The following is a simple rundown of how laps are counted in swimming using a short course pool. An easy tip is to count as if you were counting money, where each lap is one quarter.

1 lap = 25
2 laps = 50
4 laps = 100

Much like in running, there are a ton of different training programs or workouts to cater to whatever you want to achieve. The following workouts are great beginner and intermediate programs for any ability level.

Endurance Building

This workout is for building lung capacity and muscle endurance. It is great for long distance runners, bikers, and anyone wanting to increase their lean muscle mass.

100 (4 laps) Easy Warm Up
200 (8 laps) Swim without stopping
200 (8 laps) Kicking with a kickboard without stopping
200 (8 laps) Swim without stopping
50 (2 laps) Easy Cool Down

Sprint Workout

This is a great workout for people looking to improve their fast-twitch muscles and build more muscles mass.

100 (4 laps) Easy Warm Up
4 X 50 (2 laps) Fast swim with 1 minute break between each
4 X 50 (2 laps) Fast kick with 1 minute break between each
10 X 25 (1 lap) Sprint swim with 30 seconds break between each
100 (4 laps) Easy Cool Down

Fast and Simple

A full body, aerobic set for people looking to get in and out of the gym fast without sacrificing an intense workout.

200 (8 laps) Easy Warm Up
100 (4 laps) Moderate effort swim
50 (2 laps) Fast swim
25 (1 laps) Sprint swim

Repeat Entire Set x 3

200 (8 laps) Easy Cool Down

If you have been searching for something new to revamp your workouts and your trips to the gym, give swimming a shot. Stick with it for a week, through the initial shock, and monitor your progress. You might be pleasantly surprised by the changes!

Micah Larsen

Micah is a traveling swim coach and personal trainer, depending on the season. She is also currently working on her Master of Science in Athletic Administration and Coaching. Micah loves to live an active lifestyle, whether she is competing in open water swims, running a road race, practicing yoga, or biking with her dogs. The main objective in her career is to... Read More

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