Swimming Workouts for Beginners

Swimming is one of the most popular sporting activities across the globe and participants are increasingly using swimming workouts to achieve their fitness goals.

Whether you are swimming for recreation, competitively, or as party of an aquatic sports team; expect to have fun and enjoy a whole host of health benefits when you get involved in this sport.

We caught up with a competitive swimmer and experienced performance coach based in the UK, to get some swimming tips on training and swimming workouts.

In this article we discuss the following topics:

  1. Why Should You Include Swimming in Your Training?
  2. Setting Yourself a Goal.
  3. Swimming Tips to Improve Your Technique.
  4. Example Swimming Workouts

1 . Why Should You Include Swimming in Your Training?

swimming-659903_640Swimming encompasses both muscular endurance and cardiovascular fitness. Regular swimming can therefore result in you becoming much fitter.

Although a very biased perspective, I believe that starting to swim more (recreationally or competitively) and using swimming workouts will be the best decision you have ever made.

Your lifelong journey of fun and fitness could start here!

2. Setting Yourself a Goal

When planning your training, it is important to set yourself a goal. This could be anything from improving your general fitness to taking part in a sprint competition.

Once you have set a goal, it is important to plan and periodise your training to suit the needs of that goal.

There is no need to worry about what level you are starting at, only that you progress throughout training towards your goal.


Related: Overcoming Breathlessness in Freestyle Swimming


3. Swimming Tips to Improve Your Technique

The first priority for beginner swimmers is to build up basic swimming endurance and technique. Before you can include sprints in your training and potentially winning medals, it is vital that your stroke is the most efficient it can be.

Improving the technique of your stroke can be daunting for some and an exciting experience for others. It is important to be patient and to reap the rewards afterwards.

These swimming tips should help with your technique:

  • Get a feel for the water if you are a complete beginner or haven’t swum for a long time. Do 1 length at a time and just get a feel for swimming up and down.
  • Linked Fitness Community_Swimming Workouts for Beginners_Sam WhiteImprove your breathing technique by kicking on your front with your hands above your head in the ‘streamlined’ position, and breathing each side every 5 kicks. If this number of kicks isn’t working for you, experiment with more or less until you feel comfortable.
  • Watch videos and ask peers for advice when trying to perfect technique. There are lots of videos online showing swimming ‘drills’ that accurately pinpoint the best technique for strokes. They are definitely worth watching and trying out.

Related Video Speedo Advisors | How to begin swimming for fitness by Julie Johnston

  • Ensure your training is broken down into manageable chunks and that you only progress one aspect of training at a time. When I learn a new swimming technique, I progress from the simplest of movements up to the full movement itself. For example, for butterfly technique, I work at doing just the legs, then just the arms, then half strokes, and only then will I try out a full stroke. This allows me to always know the breakdown of the stroke and ensures my technique stays perfect.
  • Use training aids to perfect a new technique. There are lots of aids that you can try including fins, paddles, kickboards, and pull buoys. Once you have mastered the technique with the aid, you should then be ready to give it a go without it.

Related: Open Water Swimming Guide


4. Example Swimming Workouts

swimming-1265932_640Beginners need to focus on technique and building up generic aerobic capacity. There’s no need to worry about how fast you are completing swims at this stage. This will become more important, the more advanced your training becomes.

This stage of training is about building up endurance by competing at a certain distance.

Detailed below are two basic beginner swimming workouts which are based around the two goals of improving endurance and developing technique for multiple strokes. Both are very different, but equally effective.

Workout 1

-4x25m front crawl warm up //5 seconds in between

-2 x 100m front crawl with 20 seconds rest in between.
-3 x 25m pull buoy swimming – swimming with a float (pull buoy) between your thighs so that your hips and legs float to the surface and you can concentrate on arm technique.
-4 x 25m swimming using a kickboard – swimming with a kickboard held out in front of you so that you can target your lower body to improve your kick technique.

-4 x 50m – 4 front crawl // 15 seconds in between
-3 x 50m – 2 front crawl, 1 Length backstroke //20 seconds in between
-2 x 50m – 1 front crawl, 1 length breaststroke //25 seconds in between
-1 x 50m – 1 front crawl.

100m cool down – very slow.

Total distance: 1075m

Workout 2

-12x25m front crawl warm up //5 seconds in between

-1 x 100m Breastroke kick (using kickboard)
-2 x 100m Breastroke pull (using pullbouy and paddles)

-100m swim (counting strokes per length) 20 seconds
-2 x50m swim (counting strokes per length (less than above)) 10 seconds
-4 x25m swim (Counting strokes per length (less than above)) 5 seconds

-2 x 50m Backstroke warm down.

Total distance: 1000m


Related: Triathlon Transition Tips


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