Pools aren’t just for relaxing in the sun or the occasional cannonball. They’re also an excellent resource for anyone who wants to work out. As long as you have enough space to swim a lap without anyone playing Marco Polo in your way, you can enjoy all the benefits of a swim workout.
Don’t worry if you’ve never been on a competitive team. You can exercise by swimming laps without a team or even a swim cap. As long as you have a pair of goggles and the drive to exercise regularly, you can learn aquatic moves without an instructor.
Check out these six pool workouts for beginners so you can get started today. Whether you want a new cardio routine or a different way to burn calories, there’s a water-based workout you can dive right into.
Every new swimmer should start with a simple freestyle routine.
After kicking off from the wall of the pool, you’ll swim each lap on your stomach. Reach forward and down with one arm to pull the water towards you with a cupped hand. As each hand reaches out, kick with the opposite foot. Repeat while rotating gently towards whichever arm pulls you forward.
Each lap is 25 yards, so complete 50 yards to get back to where you started. The average workout will be 750 yards or 30 laps, so continue with this stroke until it feels natural and remember to pause for short 30-second or one-minute breaks as needed. There’s no need to rush because you’re getting used to the feel and pace of a pool workout.
After you learn the freestyle basics, you can do a more focused workout for 900 yards or 36 laps. Pay attention to the finer details of this swim style, like keeping your hairline at the surface level of the pool for five strokes before turning your head to breathe.
You can also focus on kicking consistently, since beginners often forget to kick because they put all their effort into the movement of their arms and their breathing. When you naturally remember things like alternative kicks, breathing less frequently and minimizing your splash to reduce drag, you’ll swim faster and better during every workout.
Foam kickboards are widely available at gym pools, and they’re cheap if you need to buy one. They’re an essential part of pool workouts for beginners because you’ll learn the various kicks without getting distracted by how your arms have to move.
The flutter kick is what you’d use during freestyle, which you can use as the start of your workout to warm up. Position your hands along the top edge of the kickboard so your elbows rest at the bottom edge. Hold onto it as you practice your flutter kick. After 50 yards, switch to the breaststroke kick. It’s also known as the frog kick, which can help people visualize the specific movement.
As you float on your stomach and keep your hands in the same place, pull both knees up toward your stomach. Extend them out to the side and back to kick, bringing them back together when they finish in the straight line where they began. Repeat for another 50 yards and switch back to freestyle to work the different muscle groups as you complete 30-45 laps.
Once you feel comfortable in the water, you can maximize your cardio workout by focusing on distance swimming. You’ll succeed at longer workouts when you incorporate a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) routine and improve your cardiovascular output.
After warming up with stretches and a casual 50-yard lap, try your hand at distance training by completing this workout:
You might complete this workout faster than others, but your final time isn’t the point. The point of a HIIT workout is to be fast and intense, so that you train your muscles to recover faster and burn more calories than in longer, slower exercise routines.
It isn’t always possible to get lessons from a coach, so if you have to teach yourself different strokes, research with videos. It’s essential to do the techniques correctly, which is often easier if you have a visual example. Any pool workouts for beginners will become effective exercises that help you reach your fitness goals with time and practice.