How to start swimming for fitness


hot to start swimming for fitness

Since I grew up swimming competitively, I am often asked “How do I start swimming for fitness?” So, I decided I should write an article which shows how to start swimming for fitness; especially since summer is almost here!

If you have never done laps before, or swim team as a child, it’s OK, you can still start swimming for fitness. So let’s get down to business. Here is a strategy you can use to swim for calorie burning, overall body strength, and overall fitness!

What you need to know before you start:

The first thing you need to know, before you can start swimming for fitness, is how to swim! If you cannot do one lap across a 25-yard pool, then bookmark this article, take a few lessons, and practice swimming laps. Once you can swim across the short course pool without stopping, come back here for my tips on how to start swimming for fitness.

If you already know how to swim, but have never swum for fitness before, try swimming a few laps on your own. Attempt different strokes, and make sure you can do at least one lap, non-stop, across the pool. Once you have ensured you can at least make it across the pool, you can start working on swimming for fitness!

You don’t need to know all four strokes to swim for fitness.  Although I will give you a few sample workouts over the next few weeks, and one starter workout at the end of this post, which incorporate all four strokes, you don’t actually need to know all four strokes. You can replace any stroke you want to with freestyle, or another stroke you are more comfortable swimming.

Things to remember:

When you start swimming for fitness, it might be a little difficult. Swimming can be very demanding cardiovascular-wise, so if you are not already doing other workouts on a regular basis, you might need to start swimming slowly, and work up to a great, calorie burning workout. My coaches always used to say, “if you are in shape for swimming, you are in shape for everything!”

The sample workout I have provided at the end of this article, and the workouts I will provide every Saturday for the next seven weeks, assume you know how to swim. They also assume you already have some level of fitness.

Build up to swimming for fitness if you are a beginner (never done laps or swim team-may not know all four strokes):

Here is a strategy for getting ready to get in the pool to workout. This is a sample, weekly workout you can do to elevate your fitness level, and get you ready to start swimming for fitness. A sample fitness schedule would look like this:

Monday: Swim

Tuesday: Yoga or Pilates (do a lot of stretching!)

Wednesday: High intensity aerobic workout such as spin, cardio-kickboxing, or step

Thursday: Swim

Friday: rest or take a leisurely walk around your neighborhood for half an hour (just stretch)

Saturday: Weight training, medium cardio workout such as walking on the treadmill, or a cardio dance class.

Sunday: rest or take a leisurely walk around your neighborhood for half an hour (just stretch)

On the two swim days, make sure you can do at least ten laps. You can rest between laps, but should be able to make it across the pool, without stopping in the middle of the pool.

You will need to organize your workout schedule to allow for regular cardio workouts, and swimming “build-up” time in the pool. Pick two days per week for swimming, with at least two days of rest in between. If you are not used to swimming, you will not be used to using the muscles you use for swimming, so your body will need rest!

Anytime you feel sore, tired, and the like, make sure you take a rest day. On your rest days, try to take a leisurely walk, and do some stretching to help relieve your muscle pain.

You are ready to feel the burn in the pool!

After you are comfortable swimming back and forth in the pool, it is time to start learning how to start swimming for fitness! Once a week, for the next seven weeks, I will give you a new workout you can use in the pool. Each workout will provide you with interval training, cardio, and an increase in yardage. This will make you stronger, and faster in the pool! Love that!

If you feel like the swim workouts are too hard, you don’t have to start a new one each week. Only move on to a tougher workout once you are ready.

*This workout assumes a short course pool (25 yard or 25 meter pool), if you are swimming long course (50-meter pool), cut the workout in half when you are starting to swim. Use the pace clock on the pool deck for calculating your rest intervals.

**This workout assumes you can swim across the pool without stopping, and have cardio strength from other types of workouts. Do not attempt these workouts if you have not checked with your doctor first, and if you have not been working out on a regular basis.

Week one swim workout (500 yards or meters)

Warm-up: 4 laps of freestyle, rest 30 seconds between each lap

4 laps alternating strokes in IM order (Butterfly, backstroke, breastroke, freestyle) rest 30 seconds between each lap

Try to swim two laps non-stop, if you have to stop between laps, rest 15 seconds

Kickboard: flutter kick (freestyle kick) 4 laps non-stop (if need to rest between laps, rest 15 seconds)

Try to swim two laps non-stop, if you have to stop between laps, rest 15 seconds

4 laps of freestyle, rest 30 seconds between each lap

Stretch for ten minutes, both arms and legs.

-Feel free to email me, or leave any questions you may have in the comments below. I hope you enjoy this workout, and acquire a love for swimming!

If you would like to track your workouts, and see how many calories you are burning, I highly recommend the “My FitnessPal” app. You can find it in the app store. I use this app religiously and love, love, love it! If you would like to share your workouts with me, feel free to friend me on the app, I am CathyLSG

*Stay tuned! Every Saturday I will post a new swim workout to help you increase your fitness level in swimming. You can bookmark the tag “swim workouts” to keep them all  handy. Let me know in the comment sections what you like, or don’t like, about the workouts. Happy swimming, and stay fabulous 😉


3 thoughts on “How to start swimming for fitness

Comments are closed.