3 Excellent Swim Workouts for Weight Loss

No matter the time of day or time of year, swimming is a great way to stay in shape!

You don’t have to be a professional or competitive swimmer to achieve a swimmer’s physique!

All you need is a place to swim, some motivating workouts, and a good serving of dedication, and you can achieve it, too!

In this article, I’m going to be sharing about all things swimming including: 3 swim workouts for weight loss that even beginners can do, where you should go and what you’ll need!

3 Swim Workouts for Weight Loss

Swim Workouts for Weight Loss

Let’s talk about good swim workouts for weight loss.

While every workout will differ based on where you are swimming and what equipment you have available to you, we design these to be for beginners!

If these workouts seem intimidating, remember that you can always make accommodations.

You can incorporate more rest as you need it, or you can even use a buoy, fins, or a kickboard if you feel a need.

Do what you feel is best for you and work your way up!

Workout 1: Kick Boarding for Time

This workout will take 20 minutes.

It’s ideal for anyone, whether or not you have access to a regulation pool.

While it mentions a kickboard, you can easily substitute it for another flotation device or nothing at all!

Warm up: 2 minute or 50 yard swim
Workout: Kick 2 minutes (or 50 yards) with kickboard
Rest: 20-30 seconds
Repeat cycle for 18 minutes

Workout 2: Freestyling

Instead of focusing on time, this workout will focus on yards and we base it on a 25 yard pool, but you can always accomplish it in a different size pool.

Don’t forget to accommodate if you need extra help.

Warm up:50 yard backstroke
Workout: 6 x 50 yard freestyle swim
Rest:30 seconds after each 50 yard swim

Workout 3: Different Strokes

Our last workout focuses more on the different strokes you can do.

So, you’ll be working different muscles and changing things up!

We’ll still be using a traditional 25 yard pool for the laps for this one, but you can easily change that to fit the environment you’re swimming in.

Warm up:150 yards flutter kick with board
Workout:50 yard freestyle
30 second rest
50 yard backstroke
30 second rest
50 yard breaststroke
1 minute rest
Repeat cycle 4 times


As with any types of workout, you’ve got to take safety seriously.

If you are new to swimming or working out in general, it is always best practice to consult with your doctor before doing anything new!

As for safety with swimming in particular, never swim laps without a lifeguard or at least another person being present.

Why Swim Workouts For Weight Loss?

If you’re wanting to lose weight, incorporating swim workouts into your exercise routine is a must!

There are many reasons swimming is so wonderful for weight loss!

Foremost swimming burns a lot of calories.

For a person who weighs 175 pounds, they can burn over 220 calories in just 30 minutes!

That’s almost 500 calories per hour!

On top of it burning a great deal of calories, swimming is also a full-body workout with less stress on your body.

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Think about it – if you want to swim, you’ve got to use your arms, legs, and your core.

Everything is working to get you from one end of the pool to the other.

Lastly, this form of cardio is great for weight loss because it is great for everyone.

With running, it can often be a more strenuous workout that can cause discomfort in your knees and joints.

On the flip side, swimming is not only easy on your body, it’s great for people of all ages, fitness levels, and ability-levels.

So as we dive into the logistics of swimming and look at swim workouts for weight loss, keep in mind of the many reasons swimming is good for weight loss for everyone looking to shed a few pounds.

Options For Where To Swim

Swim Workouts for Weight Loss

Before you can start swimming, you’ve got to find a place to swim that works for you.

Choosing where to swim depends on what your goals are, but it can also depend on what is available to you in your area.

So be sure to keep that in mind!

Outdoor Swimming Options

Swimming outdoors can be a lot of fun!

If you live near open waters (lake or ocean) and the weather is right, you should definitely try it.

To swim for weight loss, it may not be the easiest to calculate your distances or “number of laps”.

So this option is great for people who want to experience a more free-spirited workout, a workout that is time-oriented, or simply bring a training watch!

You may also have an outdoor private pool (at a home or apartment) or an outdoor community pool.

If swimming outdoors is an option, you could have a more structured workout depending on the length of the pool.

Of course, with any outdoor swimming, you’ve got to consider the weather, which could affect your consistency with your workout routine.

Indoor Swimming Options

If you live in colder climates or are a member at a facility with an indoor pool, this is definitely a good option for your swim workouts.

Because the pool is indoors, you could work more consistently.

You can also create more structured workouts as you will be able to count laps as many indoor pools are either 25 yards or 50 meters.

If you are planning to workout at any type of pool, remember to follow rules of the pool and proper pool etiquette, such as rinsing off before swimming!

Really, your options are only as good as what you have in your area.

So, if you’re considering incorporating swim workouts into your routine, check out some local community centers and gyms.

Learn about their swimming rules and whether their swimming lanes have particular hours and see if that fits into your schedule!

Try to find a place to workout that is just right for you!

What Are The Different Swimming Strokes?

Once you have a place to swim, you’ve got to be sure that you know how you want to swim.

While any swimming is great for weight loss, some strokes are more strenuous than others.

Below are the most common strokes used for workouts.

I would suggest if you aren’t familiar or comfortable with these, look into taking swimming lessons.

A little refresher course could be just what you need to maximize your workouts!


Freestyle is the most traditional form of swimming.

When you think about the Olympics or competitive swimming, this is probably what immediately comes to mind.

Freestyle is a stroke where your stomach is facing the pool floor while you are fluttering your legs and making a windmill motion with your arms.


Arguably the easiest and least strenuous, the backstroke is a go-to!

In a nutshell, the backstroke is essentially the freestyle, just backwards.

It is easier for beginners as their face is out of the water the whole time.


At first glance, the breaststroke appears to be a slower, more calm swim.

You are on your stomach like a freestyle, but you are moving your legs in a more unique, frog like motion.

Your arm movements are distinct as well.

While your legs are moving, your arms are almost creating a big circle in front of you.


Now, this one is tough, but man does it burn some calories!

For this one, you are on your stomach, but you are using a great deal of arm strength to propel yourself forward.

Then you bring them up and over your head while dipping down into the water, then back up again.

The butterfly stroke kick is like a dolphin kick.


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Swimming Gear

Swim Workouts for Weight Loss

Aside from a swimsuit, you will probably need some swim gear for your swim workouts.

Some may need more things than others depending on the type of your workout, the location of where you’re swimming (open water or in a pool), and your abilities.

Here are some items that you may need to consider before your first big workout…

Gear Bag

No matter what you have, it’s always good to get a backpack or something that you can put everything in.

Chances are, you won’t be wearing your swimsuit and all of your gear to your location (because that would mean a soggy ride home), so grab a bag to store everything in.


No matter the type of water you’re swimming in, a good pair of goggles will be incredibly helpful for your workout for both visibility and comfort!

Swim Cap

Swim caps are also an excellent investment. While some people with really short hair may not feel the need, swim caps will help with your efficiency and keep your hair out of your face.

They will also help to keep most of the chlorine out of your hair – which might not seem like a big deal at first, but it can be as you swim more frequently.

Training Watch or Lap Counter

As mentioned in our previous article on swimming a mile, training watches made for swimming or even lap counters can make your life and workout easier.

While lap counters are lower tech, they can be incredibly helpful if you’re planning on swimming in a regulation pool.

Training watches, however, provide you with more information like your heart rate, calories burned, besides just your distance.

Additional Swimming Gear

Once you have the basics, there are a lot of other items that could be beneficial to you and your swimming experience.

Depending on the type of swimming, include some fins, kickboard, pull buoy, paddles, and a snorkel.

Take some time and do some research to determine what swim gear is best for your swim workouts for weight loss!


Swimming is really an awesome exercise for overall health as well as for losing weight.

If you have never swum laps before, take it slow and be patient. It will take time to build up your swim stamina.

If you need assistance in the above workouts, feel free to use fins or a pull buoy.

The important thing is to have fun with your swim workout.

We hope you enjoy our above swim workouts for weight loss and can use them to become a more healthy you!

Photo of author

Jessica Meacham

I’m a former college athlete turned marathon-running and outdoor exploring mom of two little ones. From hiking through Iceland to paddle boarding in Lake Tahoe, our family is always up for a fun adventure that incorporates fun and fitness!

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