Swimming Workout Options for Non-Competitive Swimmers

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An athlete comes up for air as he performs the breaststroke during the 2018 Marine Corps Trials swimming competition.
An athlete comes up for air as he performs the breaststroke during the 2018 Marine Corps Trials swimming competition. (Sgt. Matthew Callahan/U.S. Marine Corps photo)

If swimming a few hundred to a thousand yards is considered a decent workout for you and not a warmup, this series of workouts in the pool is right for you. You also are likely not a competitive swimmer and get bored looking at a black line for any amount of time. Here is a workout that features several types of swim skills that you can mix and match and get some great (not boring) non-impact aerobic activity:

200-meter warmup: Any stroke and mix-and-match.

5 x 100 sprints any stroke. Rest as needed. Rest with treading one minute or one minute of core work on the pool deck (crunches, leg levers, flutter kicks). Try adding pull-outs during the rest set, basically pulling your body out of the water by using the edge of the pool. Shoot for 5-10 pull-outs each set.

  • Kickboard
  • 100-meter flutter kick
  • 100-meter scissor kick
  • 100-meter breaststroke

500 meters with fins: Mix in different strokes from freestyle, side stroke, backstroke (just kicking) and underwater dolphin kicks. 10-minute tread: No hands. Try to mix in different kicks from scissor kick, little flutter kicks, breaststroke kick and the egg-beater kick.

Do a 10-minute cooldown with dynamic stretches in chest-deep water: butt kickers, Frankenstein walks, side leg swings, front/back leg swings, high knee lifts, running in place.

If swimming is not your thing, but you can swim and want to change things up with your cardio, give this routine a try. It is one of the best non-impact, full-body aerobic activities there is.

Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Visit his Fitness eBook store if you’re looking to start a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle. Send your fitness questions to stew@stewsmith.com.

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