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Swim workouts for beginners

4 min read

Take the plunge with these simple exercises

We love swimming for so many reasons: low impact cardio, resistance/endurance training, breathing techniques, using nearly every muscle in your body, etc. Given the recent scorching heat waves, you’re in luck. It’s summer. It’s hot. It’s a better time than ever to get your swim on. 

Maybe you find the pool intimidating, or maybe pool jargon isn’t your forte (4 x 100 on 2:30, anyone?!), whichever the case, this article will help your aquatic workouts go swimmingly.

 What you’ll need:

Unlike running or hitting the gym, swimming is one of those outlets overlooked because pools aren’t always a dime a dozen. If you’re wondering where your nearest public pool is,this database is a good place to start.  
  • Public pools usually come in two sizes: short course, or long course. A short course pool is 25 meters long, and a long course pool (or olympic sized) is 50 meters long. When you swim a 100 that means you have swam 4 lengths of a short course pool, or two lengths of a long course pool.
  • Clock: Most pools will have a digital clock. If you are swimming in a residential pool, a digital waterproof watch will do.
  • Kickboard, leg float, or a pool noodle: Kickboards and leg floats can be found at public pools. Kickboards help build strength in your legs, andleg floats help build strength in your arms. If you’re in a residential pool and you don’t have either, a pool noodle or any pool float does the trick.
  • Goggles: Because chlorine in your eyes isn’t something you’d wish on your worst enemy.
  • Swim cap: This is optional, but “long hair, don’t care” state of mind can become a nuisance in the pool if you’re constantly having to re-do a bun or ponytail.

30 minute Swim workout for beginners:

This workout focuses on time, rather than the amount of pool lengths you’ve swam; making it suitable for residential and public pools. If you can’t complete this exercise in 30 minutes, no fear, go at the pace that feels right for you, and your endurance will improve over time. You can do this workout with any stroke: freestyle, breast, backstroke, or butterfly. 

  • Warm up, 5-10 minutes: This will build your pace and heart rate. Start off slow and focus on your technique with long and steady strokes.
  • Kicking, 5-7 minutes: You can use a kickboard or simply extend your arms in a streamlined position, or you can kick whilst on your back. Kick at the hip and not a the knees so you’re using your whole body to kick.
  • Main segment, 10-15 mins: This is the most challenging part of the workout. Swim two lengths of a pool at a quick pace, then rest for 5-10 seconds. An alternative would be trying to swim for 10-15 minutes with minimal to zero stopping, but  go at your own pace.
  • Cool down, 5 minutes: Similar strokes to your warm up, almost like you’re swimming in slow motion to give your body a chance to recover.

Water Aerobics:

Give your joints a break with water aerobics. They can be done in a class setting at a gym, at a public pool, or in a friend’s pool.

  • Running in place: In waist deep water, try running in place as you would on dry land. Try  this for 1-3 minutes.
  • Egg beater kicks: In waist deep water or the the deep end, position yourself like you are sitting in a chair with your head above the water and knees bent at 90 degrees. Alternate your legs in a circular motion towards yourself. This propels you in a upward motion and also works your inner and outer thighs. For a challenge, hold your hands out of the water. 1-3 minutes. 
  • Beach ball rolls: Float face-up in the water with your legs extended. Hold beach ball to the chest, and roll over the top of the ball in the water, first on one side then the other. Repeat this for 15 to 20 seconds to start. Then as you build endurance, try it for 1 minute.
  • Flutter kicks: Hold the edge of the poolthen lift your body, so your chest and legs are in parallel to the pool floor. Keeping both legs straight, use a scissoring motion to kick each leg alternately. You can alternate the intensity by kicking faster or slower.
  • Vertical jump:In waist-deep water, descend into a squat. Jump up as forcefully as possible while bringing the arms overhead. Do about 3-4 sets of 6 reps.

Remember, you won’t get this down perfectly the first time, so don’t get discouraged, the more often you swim this workout, the more confident you will become!

Uqora Pro Tip: To lessen the risk of a yeast infection or a urinary tract infection, change out of your wet or damp bathing suit as soon as you're done swimming. 

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