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30-minute swim workouts to mix up your routine

Swim workouts for every level of swimmer. Improve your swimming technique, burn calories, build strength and stamina, and tone-up with a swim program.

Best 30-minute swimming workouts to help you get fitter, stronger and leaner


A session in the pool is a sure-fire way to shape up and get fit. Swimming boosts your metabolism, works almost every muscle in your body and is a great way to support your weight loss goals – an easy 30-minute swim can help to trim your waist and hips and can burn around 300 calories. But without a program it’s easy to waste your time in the water – here’s how to plan your pool time for maximum results.



  • Why workout in water

  • How to get started

  • Which strokes to swim

  • Swimming further and faster

  • Improve your swim technique


What are the benefits of a swim workout?


Swimming is a great workout for your heart and your muscles, yet it’s relatively kind to your body because it puts less stress on your joints than weight-bearing exercise like running or working out in the gym. All that kicking, pulling and pushing is like a mini-resistance workout that targets your arms, shoulders and glutes and it’s fantastic at working your abs, or core, too. A swim program can help improve your fitness, your times and technique, and your enjoyment in the pool.

How do I start swimming?


If it’s been a while since you’ve swum, start slowly. Swimming is unlike any other aerobic workout: because water is denser than air it takes more effort to move through it, which in turn makes it really hard work. Your lungs also need to adjust to a new way of working because, unlike on land, you can’t just breathe in and out as and when you like.


The key to starting to swim for fitness is to break up your pool session into small chunks, or swimming sets. Mixing it up using different strokes, drills and different intensities is more interesting and a better workout. And, because your heart rate stays high for around 30 seconds after a swim effort, there’s no shame in taking a rest.


Which strokes should I swim?


Start with a stroke that you feel comfortable and confident swimming, whether that’s front crawl, breaststroke or backstroke. Swim for as long as you can, then take a rest. When you feel ready, go again, and repeat the process for at least 20 minutes. Stamina will come but don’t expect to be swimming for a full half hour straight away.


How do I build strength and stamina in the pool?


It can help to decide how many lengths you can do then break this into a short warm-up, main set (a set of repetitions, such as 20 x 25 meters) and a short warm-down. Each time you get in the water aim to increase either the length of the main set, the distance of each repetition, or the speed of each repetition. Alternatively, reduce the time you take for your rest interval between each set.

How can I improve swimming my technique?


Getting your breathing right is crucial to swimming well. Many people worry about swallowing water when they breathe in but it’s breathing out that’s crucial to being a better swimmer. Exhaling at the right moment during your stroke will make your swimming smoother and stronger.


Good rhythm and timing is also essential to becoming a better swimmer. If you’re splashing and thrashing to the other end of the pool try slowing it down and counting each stroke. Once you’ve found a smooth rhythm and your arms and legs are working together gradually increase the tempo – you’ll soon speed up.


Try these easy 30-minute swim workouts, and sign up to Speedo On [link: on.speedo.com] for free for more similar plans:

Workout 1: Building stamina


This half hour pyramid swim workout aims to build strength and stamina by gradually increasing the distance and time you swim. Take a short break after each repetition and use the clock on the wall to keep an eye on your times.


Target distance: 850m


Target time: 30-minutes


Warm up 200m


1 x 100m Front crawl


2 x 50m Back stroke


Main set 450m


1 x 50m Front crawl. Try and swim a little faster than in the warm up.


2 x 50m Breaststroke. Aim to swim the second half faster than the first.


1 x 50m Front crawl. Aim to swim the second half faster than the first.


2 x 50m Breaststroke. Aim to swim the second half faster than the first.


3 x 50m Front crawl. Aim to swim the second half faster than the first.


Warm down 200m


1 x 100m Backstroke


1 x 100m Front crawl


*Adapted from 30-minute power pyramid by Speedo On

Workout 2: Building technique


Performing a variety of kick exercises is a great way of increasing both leg and core strength. Aim to maintain your intensity throughout.


Target distance: 900m


Target time: 30-minutes


Warm up 200m


1 x 100m Front crawl


2 x 50m Breaststroke


Main set 500m


4 x 50m Front crawl. Elongate each stroke by reaching forward.


2 x 50m Front crawl with a kick. Hold a kickboard (or float) vertical in front of you, with half the board under the water on the second length of each 50.


2 x 50m Backstroke with a kick. Hold a kickboard (or float) vertical in front of you, with half the board under the water on the second length of each 50.


1 x 100m Front crawl. Fastest possible speed taking the fewest strokes.


Cool down 200m


1 x 100m Breaststroke. Steady.


1 x 100m Front crawl. Steady.


*Adapted from power kick set by Speedo On


For more top tips and advice, as well as training plans, swim tips, and training videos, sign up for free to Speedo On.


Disclaimer - Always consult a qualified medical professional before beginning any nutritional program or exercise program. The exercise suggestions are not intended to substitute for proper medical advice.