Swimming is a lot of fun, but did you know it also has some amazing health benefits? According to Harvard Health, adding swimming to your workout routine can help relieve joint pain, train your body to be more flexible and lead to reduced levels of stress and anxiety.
Once you find the best swim workout for you, you will be well on your way to becoming a stronger swimmer and leading a healthier lifestyle.
The Best Swim Workouts for Beginners
Before you begin your swim workout, take time to stretch. Once you're in the pool, do a few casual laps to let your body get acquainted with the water, especially if this is your first time doing any type of swim exercise. Familiarize yourself with the way the water feels and give yourself time to acclimate to the temperature before trying one of these easy swim workouts for beginners.
A Beginner Swim Workout Using a Kickboard
This 400-yard, 16-lap workout calls for a kickboard. The goal is to help you learn the basics of kicking, sprinting and freestyle swimming.
- To warm up, swim freestyle for 25 yards at a light intensity. Repeat this four times.
- Once your muscles are warm, use a kickboard to swim 25 yards four times. Increase your intensity slightly, and take 20-second rest breaks between each lap to avoid overtiring.
- Freestyle swim 25 yards, six times, decreasing each lap by one stroke each time. Just like before, make sure you take 20-second breaks between each lap.
- Now, it's time to increase your speed. Do sprint laps for 25 yards, four times. Try to decrease your time by two seconds each lap. This phase of the workout will be a bit more strenuous than your freestyle laps were, so increase your rest time to 30 seconds between laps.
- To cool down, take two 25-yard freestyle laps around the pool.
You can either repeat this workout until you finish practicing for the day, or you can combine it with other beginner-friendly workouts and create a training routine.
A Beginner Swim Workout With Flutter Kicks
For this 750-yard workout, you first need to know how to do flutter kicks. There are several different approaches and techniques you can use, but the basic idea is this:
- In the water, move onto one side and extend your lower arm.
- Position your head so it is lying against the extended arm.
- Make sure to keep your upper arm positioned along the line of your body.
- If necessary, hold on to a kickboard with your top hand.
- As you practice, make sure you are kicking from your hips and not from your knees.
- Resist the urge to look at your legs while you kick. Instead, look upward. Doing so will help your form.
- Keep your knees and the downward part of your head in the water at all times.
It might take you several workouts until you get the hang of flutter kicks, but that's OK! Taking time to perfect your form now will make future exercises more comfortable and efficient. Once you understand flutter kicks, use your new skill in this workout.
- To warm up, swim 100 yards at light speed.
- Swim 50 yards, practicing your flutter kicks as you go.
- Now, swim 50 yards again, but this time, use a kickboard to help you keep position and increase your intensity slightly.
- Swim at a moderate to hard intensity for five 50-yard laps. Take a breath every three strokes. Each lap should take you about one minute, but take rest breaks as you need them until you get the hang of things.
- Decrease your intensity to a light swim and do two 50-yard laps. Take your time for these — each lap should ideally take you about 70 seconds.
- Swim one 100-yard lap at moderate intensity.
- Finally, cool down by swimming at a light pace for a final 100 yards.
A Beginner Swim Workout for Practicing Freestyle and Strokes
If you are not yet comfortable in the water, this beginner training routine has a longer warmup period than other workouts do, so you have more time to ease into your exercise.
- To begin your warmup, make two freestyle front crawl 50-yard laps. Rest for 30 seconds after each round.
- Repeat the same steps as above, but use a kickboard to freestyle swim with your legs only.
- This time, place a pull buoy or weight between your legs and use your arms to freestyle swim for the same laps and distance. Don't forget to rest.
Rest for an additional minute or two after warming up, then dive into the workout.
- Swim one 50-yard lap at a light intensity pace and rest for 30 seconds afterward.
- Swim a 25-yard freestyle lap, but increase the speed and intensity. Rest for 45 seconds.
- Repeat the above two steps three times, or until you feel you've mastered it. Rest for a couple of minutes before moving on.
- Freestyle swim for one 75-yard lap and rest for 20 seconds.
- Use your kickboard to freestyle kick for one 25-yard lap, then take a 20-second break.
- Practice your backstroke for one 75-yard lap and rest for 20 seconds.
- Use backstroke kicks for one 25-yard lap, then rest for 20 seconds.
- Now it's time to rotate and practice your breaststrokes for a 75-yard lap. Rest for 20 seconds.
- Add kicks to your breaststroke and swim one 25-yard lap, then rest for 20 seconds.
- To cool down, swim freestyle at a leisurely pace for about 100 yards.
How to Get More out of Your Swimming Workouts
To get the most out of your workouts, try these tips.
- Don't skip warmups and cooldowns: Warmups and cooldowns are essential for a successful workout of any kind. Warmups help increase your core body temperature and get your blood flowing, to prepare you for the intensity of your exercise. Cooldowns allow your heart rate and blood pressure to safely decrease at a steady pace. Make sure any workout you implement into your routine includes at least 10 minutes of each.
- Be consistent: Stick to a regular, consistent swim schedule so you can establish strong habits. After you master a new technique or reach a new distance goal, continue to push yourself a little bit further. By slowly adding small, achievable goals to your routine, you are more likely to accomplish them.
- Take breaks often: Never skip rest periods during your workout. If you feel any unusual symptoms, such as extreme fatigue or pain, pause your workout until you feel well enough to resume. Like with any workout routine, it's a smart idea to consult with your doctor before you begin, especially if you have any pre-existing health concerns.
- Make healthy decisions: The decisions you make outside the water have a significant impact on the success of your workout. Make sure you stay active even when you are not swimming, and maintain a healthy, balanced diet. Always stay hydrated before, during and after every workout.
Set Yourself up for Success With the Right Swim Gear
You don't need to invest in a lot of equipment right away, but there are some essential swim items you should have before your first trip to the pool, including:
Having the right swim gear can make all the difference in a successful swim workout. Visit AllAmericanSwim.com today to browse our large selection of high-quality swim gear, competitive swimwear and much more from top brands.