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Three Easy Swim Workouts for Beginners

Jumping in the pool for the first time for a swim workout can be intimidating.

What stroke(s) do you do? What constitutes a good workout? Do you need any gear, and if so, how do you use it? When you're first starting out as a swimmer, you're bound to have a few questions, and understandably so.

As a beginner, you want to swim just enough so that you're building endurance and strength, but not too much that you get burnt out. The amount of yardage will vary by person and fitness level, and will likely increase a bit with every swim.

In this guide we will share a handful of easy, but substantial, workouts suited for beginner swimmers.  All of these workouts can be done with or without training accessories, but having a kickboard and swim fins on hand is always a good idea. As a beginner, swim fins and a kick board can always be used to give you that extra boost and help push you along in the water. Feel free to use fins in any of the workouts below, or as needed.

For your first couple of swims, feel free to alternate between freestyle (front crawl), backstroke or breaststroke (frog kick). Although freestyle is the primary stroke for most swim workouts, switching to breaststroke is good for when you're feeling fatigued and backstroke for when you feel like you aren't getting enough air in front crawl.

Workout 1 (roughly 700 yards – 28 laps)

If you're truly just starting out, slow and steady wins the race. There's no reason to rush through it. You want to take breaks consistently and make sure you are building up that base for distance.

Swim 50 yards (two laps) to warm up, then grab a kickboard and kick 150 yards (six laps). Assess how comfortable you feel in the water both with and without your swim gear.

For you main set, we suggest swimming a series of 50s (two laps) at a moderate pace with 20-30 seconds rest in between each set. Repeat this for about 20-30 minutes, or until you feel fatigued.

Cool down with an easy four laps.

Workout 2 (900 yards – 36 laps)

If you're feeling a bit more comfortable in the water, you can bump up the level of difficulty.

Start with a 200 yard (12 laps) warm up – 100 yard (four laps) swim, 100 yard kick.

For your main set, try eight 75s (three laps) alternating kick, drill, swim. This means that your first lap will be kick, second lap will be the drill of your choice, and your third lap will be normal stroke swimming. Take about 15-20 seconds rest in-between each 75 and repeat eight times.

Cool down with an easy four laps. 

Workout 3 (1,200 yards – 48 laps)

If you're a beginner, but are looking for a more challenging workout, this one's for you.

Start with an easy 200 yard swim (eight laps).

Put on your fins (if necessary), and complete the following main set.

300 yard (12 laps) swim at a moderate pace, followed by quick three 100s kick (12 laps, stopping on the wall after every four laps), followed by a six 50s at a sprint pace (12 laps, pausing every two laps, at a fast speed, to the best of your ability). Take about 30 seconds rest in between each block.

Cool down with an easy 100 yard swim (eight laps)

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10 months ago.
I was a very competitive swimmer as a kid and let it fade in my 20's and early 30's. I've been trying to introduce it into my workouts and everything I've tried up until this point has been way to intense. These are perfect though - just finished #2 and don't feel like Im going to die. Haha - thank you!
1 year ago.
Can I do these excercises with the breaststroke? I don’t feel confident in freestyle.
Lynda Martin
1 year ago.
I had foot surgery and need a "wide toe box"
I also have a high instep and struggle to put on regular size fins.

Which fin would you recommend for me? thank you.
1 year ago.
Hi Lynda! I would recommend some split fins for you. I have included a link that you can copy and paste on your internet browser for your reference:
2 years ago.
I am 55. A few years ago I started swimming at the gym. I’d be exhausted after 20 minutes and worried about aggravating my shoulders. My doctor encouraged me to swim through it. Sometimes I would over do it by adding swim gloves. I’ve decided they are not my friend. I now swim 100 laps in about an hour twice a week. This gives my shoulders a rest. The first 20 minutes my brain always tells me I’m not going to do it today. Next thing I know I’m feeling like I can swim all day. My key motivation was my water proof Apple Watch workout app. It clocks my swim and tracks everything so I can track my laps easily. I used to get frustrated loosing count. My waterproof iPod with ear plug ear phones added to the joy. Thanks to I get all my answers in one place.
2 years ago.
Hi Annie,

We are so glad to hear how our products have helped you all throughout the process. Please keep us posted for whatever inquiries you might have on the future.
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