Insider’s Guide to Swimming: Pool Workout from Fitness Magazine

Insider’s Guide to Swimming: Pool Workout from Fitness Magazine

By the editors of FITNESS magazine

A Pool Routine for Every Level: Beginner

Why try it? You’ll blast fat while sculpting your major muscles. Plus, little impact means no shin splints, sore feet, or knee pain.

It’s not just about swimming laps. Try intervals or drills to increase your speed, endurance, and overall fitness, says Maria Mason, swim coach at Reebok Sports Club/NY in New York City.

It’s a Zen way to get fit. No honking horns or pounding music to contend with — it’s just you and the water.


The basics: Swim freestyle, using your rate of perceived exertion (RPE, or how hard the workout feels on a scale of 1 to 10) where indicated. Distances are based on a 25-yard pool (one length); to do these routines, you should feel comfortable swimming at least 100 yards without stopping.

You’ll need a kickboard, fins, and a watch or clock with a second hand (available at most public pools).

100 yds.

(4 lengths)

Warm up (RPE 3)

50 yds.

(2 lengths) Flutter kick on side (RPE 3). Lie on one side with lower arm extended, ear resting on arm, upper arm along body; hold on to a board with top hand if necessary. Kick from hips (not knees), looking up and keeping knees and side or back of head in water.

50 yds. Flutter kick with kickboard (keep head in water and breathe to both sides; (RPE 4)

5 x 50 yds.

Swim at a moderate to hard intensity (RPE 7) for 5 laps, taking a breath every 3 strokes. Take 50 to 60 seconds to swim each lap, resting at the wall if you have extra time.

2 x 50 yds. Swim easy (RPE 3) for 2 laps, taking 1 to 1:15 minutes to swim each lap.

100 yds. Swim at a moderate intensity (2 laps; RPE 6).

100 yds. Cool down, easy (RPE 3).

You just swam: 750 yards