Swim Workout: Keeping Cool, Getting Fit


Apologies for missing last Thursday’s water workout post.  I got caught up in the last week of school for my boys, fifth grade graduation for The Bear, and recovering from an awesome vacation you’ll get to hear all about next Monday….

But I’m back today, ready to continue the series of WATER WORKOUT posts.  Today I want to give you some examples of what to do in the pool for a swim workout.  This post is especially aimed at those of you who know how to swim but don’t do it for exercise often.  First, a word of warning: breathe.  Swimming for exercise is hard work.  But if you can find a rhythm for your breath, you’ll soon find yourself logging the laps in a zen state.

I like to do swimming workouts as interval workouts.  The reasoning for this is two-fold: 1) Swimming is hard (see above), and rest is essential, and 2) The thought of swimming for 30+ minutes is exhausting, but the thought of swimming for 1-2 minutes at a time and then taking a rest is much more mentally manageable.

Here are my favorite swim workouts, which all take about 30 minutes to complete:


20 x kick 1 length with a kickboard, rest 20-30 seconds (depending on your ability level)– major low body burner


5 x kick 2 lengths, rest 15 seconds, swim 1 length, rest 15 seconds, use pull buoy 1 length, rest 30 seconds– full-body workout

3 x 1 length fast, 1 length easy; 2 lengths fast, 2 lengths easy; 3 lengths fast, 3 lengths easy; 2 lengths fast, 2 lengths easy; 1 length fast, 1 length easy with 1 minute rest between sets– an endurance challenge


Kick  4 lengths, Swim 20 minutes (any stroke, just no rest!), Kick 4 lengths– for those days you just want to get in the water and swim

These workouts are based on those presented in Run Less, Run Faster, a distance-training book I’ll review in a few weeks as part of my marathon training overview.   I’ve found these workouts a fantastic compliment to my running.

Do you like to swim as a summer workout?  What’s your favorite swimming challenge?

This post is part of a series about Water Workouts: you can see what swim kit you need to make your workouts most effective, learn more about aqua yoga, get a water safety refresher, or find other summer workout options here at On Balance.




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s