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Swim Exercises For Weight Loss: Workouts That Work

1 month, 2 weeks ago

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Posted on Aug 06, 2021, 6 p.m.

Swimming is a fantastic form of exercise that provides an all-round body workout. Swimming works every muscle in the body and is one of the most versatile and effective workouts around. It offers a safe, high-aerobic, low-impact workout, allowing you to swim as much as you like without worrying about injuries. If you do have injuries, swimming is an excellent form of rehabilitation.

Swimming is also one of the best ways to lose weight. Water is 800 times denser than air, so when you are swimming, you are working against resistance, which burns fat, creates lean muscle, and increases your metabolism.

Swimming is a cardiovascular exercise that uses both the arms and legs, as well as the core and back to propel the body forward. It tones the lower and upper body, and the core, and produces better overall muscle definition than other cardio activities like running.

The four strokes in swimming – butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, and freestyle all offer different workouts for different muscle groups, for example, butterfly and breaststroke work the arms, shoulders, and chest, while freestyle and backstroke strengthen the abdominal muscles, the back, and the quads.  

How Many Calories Does Swimming Burn?

Swimming is an all-round body workout that builds lean muscles and thus burns calories. Just 30 minutes of swimming freestyle burns approximately 404 calories, while the same time spent swimming breaststroke burns around 367 calories and backstroke around 250 calories.

Butterfly burns the most calories at 450 per 30 minutes, but it is also the most difficult and energy-consuming stroke to swim. This is more than the 100 calories you burn for a brisk 30-minute walk or run at six miles per hour, and it is less injury-prone.  

How Much Do You Have to Swim to Lose Weight?

As with anything, it all depends on how intense your workout is and how hard you work. If you swim vigorously for an hour, four times a week, you could lose up to three or four pounds in a month. To lose one pound you need to burn 3,500 calories.

If you prefer to do less intense workouts, you can swim at a moderate pace for 30 minutes, four times a week, and lose just over a pound. Bear in mind though, that every person is different, and some people lose more or less weight than others even when they do the same amount of exercise.

However, making swimming part of your regular exercise routine will most certainly lead to a healthier, fitter you. It will not only help you to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, research shows that people who swam an hour, three times a week not only lost a significant amount of body fat, but also improved their endurance, flexibility, and lowered their cholesterol.

Top Tips for Swimming to Lose Weight:

If you are swimming to lose weight, here are some top tips to help you get the best results.

1. Swim in the Morning Before Eating

One of the best ways to lose weight by swimming is to swim in the morning before you eat anything. Your body is in a fasted state from sleeping and will use fat stores for burning energy while you swim. Morning swims before eating will produce great weight loss results, as well as increase your metabolism and build and tone lean muscle.  

2. Swim Four to Five Times a Week

With any form of exercise whether it’s walking, running or swimming, the more active you are, the better. To get the best results for weight loss when swimming, try to swim four to five times a week for at least 30 minutes.

3. Swim Faster and Harder

Swimming burns a lot of calories when you are a beginner swimmer or starting on your journey to getting fit, but as your swimming skills improve, you become more efficient in the water, and you get fitter, your heart rate doesn’t increase as much, and you will burn fewer calories. The answer is to increase your heart rate by working harder in the pool and swimming faster.

Swimming with a heart rate monitor will help you to keep track of your heart rate and increase your pace when needed. According to Paul Johnson, founder of CompleteTri.com, your target heart rate should be between 50 to 70 percent of your maximum heart rate during a workout of moderate-intensity. Your maximum heart rate can be calculated by subtracting your age from 220.

4. Increase Resistance

Increasing resistance in the water burns more calories so use equipment such as flippers (fins), kickboards, and pull buoys in your workouts. You can also wear a drag suit over your swimming costume, which creates extra drag in the water, allowing you to burn more calories.

5. Change Strokes

Different strokes burn different amounts of calories, so try and swim all four strokes in your workout to get a good overall body workout. Read on for a variety of swim exercises and weight loss workouts that will give you some great workout options that combine all four strokes.

6. Use a Pace Clock

Making use of a pace clock makes workouts far more interesting than just swimming lengths for an hour. It also incorporates intervals into your workout, which can help you burn more calories when you swim. According to research from the American College of Sports Medicine: “breaking up your workout into sets of specific intervals allows you to maintain a higher rate of speed and stroke form, which will help you improve your performance and the number of calories burned.”

7. Change Your Swim Routine

Doing the same workout over and over again at the same speed is not only boring, but it can cause your body to hit a plateau and stop burning as much energy as it used to. Change your workouts every time you are in the pool – see the next section of this article for a variety of swim exercises and weight loss workouts that will give you some great workout options.

8. Alternate Swimming with Water Aerobics

Water aerobics is another form of low-stress, a water-based exercise that can help you to lose weight and maintain a healthy, fit, and lean body. You can alternate your swimming days with water aerobics, which is a good form of active recovery. It is also a social and fun way to spend some time in the water.

9. Adjust Your Diet

To lose weight, you must burn more calories than you are taking in. As with any weight loss program, swimming is no exception. Swimming uses a lot of energy and you will need to refuel after your workout, particularly if you have been swimming in cold water.

Make sure you make the right food choices that will help you to continue to lose weight. Keith McNiven, founder of the personal training company Right Path Fitness suggests drinking a protein shake after your workout, adding more vegetables to your plate, and staying away from snacking.

10. Join a Swim Club or Work with a Swim Coach

Joining a swim club or working with a coach will help you commit to a routine of swimming several times a week. It’s also a great way to meet like-minded people who love swimming and to help you stay motivated on your weight-loss journey.

Swim Exercises and Weight Loss Workouts

If your goal is to lose weight, these swim exercises for weight loss workouts will help you reach that goal and get fit and healthy at the same time.

Beginner Swimming Pool Exercises for Weight Loss

If you’re just starting your fitness routine, you need to start slowly and ease in your exercise routine. Here are some basic exercises you can do in the pool that will burn calories.

The Bicycle

This is a great exercise for burning calories, as well as strengthening your core, legs, and shoulders. Rest your elbows on the side of the pool and use your legs to “pedal” an imaginary bicycle. Pedal for intervals of one minute with a 30-second rest in between.

https://youtu.be/SESYKdL1d4g

The Dolphin

Dolphin kicking is a fantastic way to strengthen your core, back, and legs. Grab the side of the pool with your left hand and put your right hand just underneath the waterline with your fingers pointing downwards. Bring your legs together, let them float up, and begin kicking like a dolphin.

https://youtu.be/0tiEzoSfFXY

Tuck Jump

Torch those calories, trim your legs and strengthen your core with the tuck jump. Stand in the water and jump, bringing your knees up to your chest. Make it more difficult by not letting your feet touch the bottom and treading water in between jumps. Doing this in multiple sets for the best results.

https://youtu.be/qBy0xZPoWzM

The Noodle Plank

Doing planks in the water might sound easier than doing them on land, but they are just as effective. Use a noodle to hold onto while you push your legs out into plank position. This is a great way to strengthen your abs and core using water resistance.

https://youtu.be/MUDMRAHqddg

Plié Jump

This is a great exercise that uses the resistance of the water to burn calories and tone your bottom and legs. Stand with your heels together and knees slightly bent and turned outwards. Now jump as high as you can without resting in between jumps. Drop as far as you can under the water after each jump as the lower you go, the harder your quads will have to work to push you out of the water again.

Beginner Swim Weight Loss Workouts

Workout 1: 800 yards / 800 meters

  •  Warm-up: 100 easy swim freestyle, 100 kick with a kickboard
  • 4 x 100 freestyle – odds are easy, evens are moderate effort (or a build from easy to moderate) – 10 to 30 seconds rest between each set
  • Cool down: 200 easy any stroke

Workout 2: 1,000 yds / 1,000 m

  • Warm-up: 5 x 50 easy swim freestyle. 10 to 30 seconds rest between each set
  • 2 x 100 kick – freestyle on odd lengths, other stoke on even lengths – 20 seconds rest in between each set
  • 4 x 100 freestyle – build pace from easy to moderate over the four lengths – 20 seconds rest in between each set
  • Cool down: 200 easy swim

Workout 3: 1,000 yds / 1,000 m

  • Warm-up: 2 x 100 easy swim –freestyle / another stroke
  • 4 x 50 freestyle arms only with pull buoy – 15 seconds rest in between each set
  • 4 x 50 freestyle or breaststroke kicking – 15 seconds rest in between each set
  • 4 x 50 freestyle swim – 15 seconds rest in between each set
  • Cool down: 200 easy swim

Workout 4: 1,100 yds / 1,100 m

  • Warm-up: 200 easy swim freestyle
  • 4 x 75 freestyle pull (arms only with a pull buoy), kick, swim. 10 to 30 seconds rest between each set
  • 4 x 100 freestyle – moderate pace. 30 seconds rest between each set
  • Cool down: 200 easy swim

Workout 5: 1,100 yds / 1,100 m

  • Warm-up: 200 easy swim freestyle
  • 8 x 25 freestyle – going every 40 seconds on the clock
  • 4 x 50 freestyle – going every 1:15 on the clock
  • 100 freestyle – moderate pace
  • 4 x 50 freestyle/breaststroke kicking – 20 seconds rest in between each set
  • Cool down: 200 easy swim

Intermediate Swim Weight Loss Workouts

Workout 1: 1,800 yds / 1,800 m

  • Warm-up: 200 easy swim freestyle
  • 8 x 25 freestyle – going every 40 seconds on the clock
  • 2 x 200 freestyle – counting strokes – 20 seconds rest in between each set
  • 8 x 25 freestyle – going every 40 seconds on the clock
  • 2 x 200 freestyle – counting strokes – 20 seconds rest in between each set
  • 4 x 50 freestyle/breaststroke kicking – 20 seconds rest in between each set
  • Cool down: 200 easy swim

Workout 2: 2,000 yds / 2,000 m

  •  Warm-up: 200 easy swim freestyle
  • Ladder swim: 25, 50, 75, 100, 150, 150, 100, 75, 50, 25 freestyle – odd lengths moderate pace, even lengths – easy – 15 seconds rest in between each set
  • 8 x 50 freestyle – pull / kick – 15 seconds rest in between each set
  • 8 x 25 freestyle – going every 40 seconds on the clock
  • Cool down: 200 easy swim 

Workout 3: 2,100 yds / 2,100 m

  • Warm-up: 300 easy swim freestyle
  • 8 x 75 freestyle – pull / kick / swim – 15 seconds rest in between each set
  • 4 x 100 freestyle – odd lengths easy, even lengths fast – going every 2:00 minutes on the clock.
  • 200 easy swim – recovery set
  • 2 x 200 freestyle – counting strokes – 20 seconds rest in between each set
  • Cool down: 200 easy swim

Workout 4: 2,200 yds / 2,200 m

  • Warm-up: 400 easy swim freestyle and another stroke – breaststroke or backstroke
  • 300 freestyle – pull / kick / swim
  • 10 x 50 first length butterfly / second freestyle – 20 seconds rest in between each set
  • 4 x 100 freestyle – going every 2:00 minutes on the clock
  • 4 x 25 butterfly – going every 40 seconds on the clock
  • 4 x 25 backstroke – going every 40 seconds on the clock
  • 4 x 25 breaststroke – – going every 50 seconds on the clock
  • 4 x 25 freestyle – going every 30 seconds on the clock
  • Cool down: 200 easy swim

Workout 5: 2,400 yds / 2,400 m

  • Warm-up: 300 easy swim freestyle
  • 400 IM drill with fins – right arm, left arm, double arm, full swim through all four strokes
  • 200 kicking – any stroke
  • 5 x 100 freestyle – going every 2:00 minutes seconds on the clock
  • 4 x 50 freestyle/breaststroke kicking – 20 seconds rest in between each set
  • 4 x 75 freestyle – going every 1:45 seconds on the clock
  • 4 x 50 freestyle/breaststroke kicking – 20 seconds rest in between each set
  • 2 x 50 freestyle – going every 1:00 minute on the clock
  • Cool down: 200 easy swim

 

Final Thoughts

Swimming is one of the healthiest ways to lose weight. It is also a great way to lose body fat, build and tone lean muscles, keep your heart strong and healthy, and lower your cholesterol. So, grab that costume and jump in!

This article was written by Mia Russell on SportFitness Advisor.com, where the content is backed up by scientific research hoping to help people in various positions from the fitness spectrum by promoting positive health changes through diet and exercise. 

As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before making any changes to your wellness routine

Content may be edited for style and length.

Materials provided by:

https://www.sport-fitness-advisor.com/swim-exercises-for-weight-loss.html

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https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4625655/

https://www.acsm.org/docs/default-source/files-for-resource-library/starting-a-swim-training-program-to-improve-fitness.pdf?sfvrsn=2e3da08_2

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