Looking for some swimming workouts to lose weight? Try these 3 swim workouts that are designed to torch fat and help you get fit.
Swimming is one of the most versatile and effective workouts around.
There are a ton of health benefits to swimming when it comes to getting in shape: It’s low impact, highly aerobic in nature (both because of the full body effort required and breath control that comes with having to time your breaths), and you can target the upper and/or the lower body.
Swimming is also mentally and emotionally healthy for you.
In one Australian study kids who were registered in swimming lessons were found to be significantly better at fine motor skills by the time they got to pre-school. Swimming is also highly meditative. There’s something about the sound of the rushing water and floating in the pool that is calming.
If your goal is to lose weight, these swim workouts are for you.
3 Swim Workouts for Losing Weight
There is something you will notice about all three of these workouts: they feature a fair amount of kicking.
Yes, I know, kicking is not at the top of the list of fun things to do in the pool, particularly for beginner swimmers who aren’t awesome at flutter kick.
But if your priority is blasting away fat, shredding a ton of calories when swimming, and not necessarily trying to swim a particular time or get more technically efficient, then pile on the kick.
See also: Swimming vs. Running — Which One is Better for Your Workout Goals?
It burns way more energy than pulling, which a lot of beginner swimmers and triathletes lean on as they are getting better in the pool.
Even as an experienced, long-time swimmer, some moderate to intense kick work in the pool will leave me far more red-faced than any kind of pulling and even most swim work.
The ultimate 1-2 punch comes when you alternate swimming and kicking. It will suck those first few sessions, I won’t lie to you. You will be out of breath, red-faced, and with your exhausted legs you will feel more out of shape than ever. But holy chlorine will it get you in good shape.
Each workout features a warm-up designed to get you warm and loose, a little pre-set to get your nervous system fired up, and then a fat-blasting main set followed by a gentle warm-down to kick-start recovery.
Workout #1: High-intensity 25s
This is a Tabata-inspired workout that is short on volume, but high on intensity. And it’s one of my favorite all-time swimming workouts for abs.
The goal during the main set is to go full blast on the first rep and maintain that intensity.
There’s not a ton of meters in this set, but make no mistake, if you do it properly (at full intensity), you will create a skyrocketing metabolic reaction in your body.
Another beauty aspect is that no matter how good you get at this set, it will always be tough—you’re just gonna be doing the 25s a little quicker as time goes on and you get faster in the water.
Warm-up: 4×100 swim (on the last 25 of each 100 swim with your fists closed—it will force you to really work your feel for the water and a high elbow catch)
Pre-set: 4×25 descend effort from 50%-95% 1-4 @:20 rest
- 8×25 all out with :10 rest between reps
- 50 backstroke swim easy between rounds
(Round 1: swim, Round 2: kick, Round 3: swim)
Warm down: 6×50 choice swim with best possible technique – take :15 rest between 50s
Workout #2: The Swim-Kick Aerobic Combo
This is a meat-and-potatoes set that a lot of the top swim clubs on the planet use to crank up the aerobic level of their athletes.
This set, using different variations of intervals and combos of swim/kick/pull has been a staple of my Wednesday aerobic sessions for years.
Alternating reps of swim and kick will keep your heart rate up, keep your legs working, and allow you to put in serious yardage without going overboard on your shoulders.
Depending on your ability level you may want to start with 50s or even 75s, but the goal will be to graduate to 100s over time.
During the main set you want to take no more than :20 rest between reps. You want to be slightly uncomfortable. If you can carry on a conversation easily between reps, you aren’t going fast enough.
Warm-Up: 300 choice swim loosen
Pre: 200 pull breathing every 3/5 strokes by 50 + 100 kick build
Main set: 30×100 freestyle as 10x [2 reps swim – 1 rep kick] – take :20 rest between reps.
Warm down: 4x [50 swim choice + 10 deep water bobs, shaking out legs and arms + :10 sec rest]
Workout #3: Vertical kicker’s delight
With this workout we are going to introduce some vertical kicking within a descending effort ladder swim set.
For those of you who are new to vertical kicking, it’s exactly as it sounds—you go vertical and kick to keep your head out of the water.
Vertical kicking is a killer way to target your core and backside in the water.
Done properly you will be able to truly focus on kicking with equal force in both directions, and with your core braced you are also giving your mid-section some work.
Warm up: 200 swim loose + 8×25 choice swim DPS (distance per stroke—the goal is to cross the pool in the smallest number of strokes possible. Note your average number of strokes) – take :15 rest at the end of each length
Pre set: 6×50 as 25 swim, 25 kick without a board. Desc 1-3 and 4-6. Take :15 rest at the end of each rep
- 5×100 swim @:15 rest (80% effort)
- :30 vertical dolphin kick (keep core braced and focus on kicking with equal power in both directions)
- 4×100 swim @:15 rest (85% effort)
- :30 vertical dolphin kick
- 3×100 swim @:15 rest (90% effort)
- :30 vertical dolphin kick
- 2×100 swim @:15 rest (95% effort)
- :30 vertical dolphin kick
- 100 swim MAX EFFORT
Warm down: 8×25 swim DPS (try to beat your average from the warm up). Take :20 rest after each rep.
More Stuff Like This:
40 Workouts for Competitive Swimmers. Our ever-growing list of practices and sets from Katie Ledecky, Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte, and many more. Whatever your distance, specialty or stroke, we have some sets and workouts for you.
Pull-a-geddon: Try This Swim Workout to Develop a Stronger and More Powerful Pull. Ready to level up your pulling game in the water? Give this nasty workout that I did recently a go and send your pull to new heights.
3 Swimming Workouts for Beginners. Looking for some beginner swim workouts that you can easily adjust according to your current fitness and skill level? Here are three of my favorites.