5 Great Swimming Exercises

Swimming is one of the best exercises for us. It is especially good for those who can’t do high impact activities, since the water supports the weight of the body. However, it can get pretty boring doing nothing but laps across the pool. Here are five other exercises you can add to your routine that can help you to build muscle, shed unwanted fat and get a good full body workout while in the pool.

Treading Water

Some people like hanging out at the side of the pool just to chat with friends or look good and show off their new swimsuit. But if you want to do a bit more than just lounge around the side of the pool, you can still chat with your friends, but instead of hanging around outside the pool, you should go into the pool. Go to where the water is just a bit too deep for you to touch the bottom of the pool and tread water as you talk to your friend. By simply swimming in place and treading water, you can burn about 45 to 50 calories for every ten minutes you spend talking.

Side Leg Lifts and Knee Raises

The great thing about exercising in water is that, while it is very low impact, the water also adds resistance to your movements. This means that any exercise you do outside of the water will be just a little bit harder and more challenging when in the water. You can use this to your advantage and get a good leg workout by doing side leg lifts (works your glutes, hips and outer thighs) and knee raises (works your quadriceps and ab muscles) in waist or chest deep water. Do as many of these as you are comfortable and repeat with the opposite leg.

Submerged “Baywatch Run”

Running in water can be very challenging. You have to work harder to push the water out of the way with your body and so you actually get tired faster as your muscles have to really work to keep you moving. I call this the “Baywatch Run” because running in water always reminds me of the scenes of Pam Anderson dashing through the waves to save someone in super slow motion. Well, if you run in water you’ll basically be running in slow motion, too, so it seemed a fitting name. This exercise not only works your normal running muscles of your legs and arms, but it is also great for your abs since they have to work hard to keep your body upright in the water.


This is a more traditional swimming exercise. Beginner swimmers are often taught how to swim by supporting their chest on a pool noodle and kicking with their legs. Well you can do the same and if you don’t have a pool noodle you can simple hang on to the side of the swimming pool. Try different types of kicks. Keeping your legs straight when you kick really works your glutes and back muscles, while bending them at the knees works your quads and hamstrings. Alternate your kicks, but just try not to splash too much if there are a lot of other people in the pool.

Tummy Toning Twists

This exercise is great for your obliques, the muscles that run along the sides of your stomach and really cinch your waist and show off your abs. Do it by standing with your back against the side of the pool, with your arms out on both sides to support you. Raise your knees to a 90 degree angle, as if you were sitting in a chair. Then twist your lower body to the right and bring both feet down for a “dip”. Pull them back in so your knees are bent again and return to the center. Repeat on left side for one repetition.

These exercises can keep you from getting bored when working out in the pool. As with any new routine, start off slow and don’t push too hard the first few times.

Thomas is a freelance writer and content contributor for Access rx.