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Swim Workout For Beginners

This Strength-Building Lap Workout Will Help Beginners Swim Longer and Stronger

Swim workouts require some planning (you need a swimsuit, goggles, and, of course, a pool) but we're here to tell you that it's totally worth it. Swimming can help you lose weight, if that's your goal. Unlike other cardio workouts like walking or running, swimming is low-impact, which can save your joints from repetitive pounding that can lead to injury. And swimming is a true, full-body cardio workout, challenging your back, arms, core, and lower body.

Like any new workout, though, lap swimming can be intimidating at first. Heading in with a clear workout plan can help. Kurt Dallow, MD, FACSM, a sports medicine doctor and USAT-certified triathlon coach at 2 Doc Tri Coaching, created this swim workout for beginners looking to increase strength and endurance in and out of the pool.

30-Minute Swim Workout For Beginners

Equipment needed: Grab a pair of goggles; tinted are best for an outdoor pool, while clear are fine for indoor. Dr. Dallow recommended using a kickboard and a pull buoy as well. Both are typically available at public swimming pools.

Directions: Start with the warmup, then continue through the main set, which has a "ladder" structure: you'll increase your time going "up" the ladder, then repeat the sequence in the opposite order to go back "down." Finish with the cooldown phase. Make sure you can swim 25 yards (the standard length of a lap pool) without stopping before you try this workout, Dr. Dallow told POPSUGAR, but it's OK to touch or hold onto the wall after each 25-yard length if you need to (aka no flip turns required). He recommended doing the workout two or three times a week to see improvements in your endurance and strength.

Warmup: On the Pool Deck Reps
Jumping jacks 10
Air squats 10
Windmill arm circles, front and back 10
Warmup: In the Pool Distance
Freestyle 25 yards, repeat 3 times with 10-second break in between
Kick with kickboard* (fins optional) 100 yards
Freestyle with pull buoy** 25 yards, repeat 3 times with 10-second break in between
Main Set: All Freestyle Rest
25 yards 10-second rest
50 yards 20-second rest
75 yards 30-second rest
100 yards 60-second rest
100 yards 60-second rest
75 yards 30-second rest
50 yards 20-second rest
25 yards 10-second rest
Cooldown Distance
Easy kick with kickboard 25 yards
Easy non-freestyle 25 yards
Alternative: water walk 50 yards

*To use a kickboard, hold it with your arms outstretched and kick your legs to propel yourself across the pool.
**To use a pull buoy, hold it between your legs and only use your arms to swim.

Image Source: Getty / Andrea Comi
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