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Beginner Swimming Workouts

author image Blake Hagen
Blake Hagen has been writing since 2008. He holds a Bachelor of Science in exercise science with an emphasis in fitness and wellness management from Brigham Young University. He is also a certified health fitness specialist through the American College of Sports Medicine.
Beginner Swimming Workouts
A close-up of a happy young boy in a swimming pool. Photo Credit demachi/iStock/Getty Images


Swimming, an aerobic exercise, elevates your health and fitness level. Unlike some other aerobic activities like running, swimming doesn't place stress on your joints. Starting to swim regularly can be intimidating, but consistent practice will boost your confidence in your swimming ability and will improve your skills. Before starting your workout, if all swim lanes are occupied at your pool, choose a lane with swimmers that best match your swim speed.

Short-Distance Intervals

Repeatedly swimming a short distance and taking a short rest is a good workout for beginners, according to the University of Akron. Start by swimming 50 yards, then rest for 15 to 30 seconds. Repeat this pattern for 15 minutes. Once you can comfortably complete this workout, increase the distance to 75 or 100 yards. If swimming 50 yards at one time is too difficult, swimming 25 yards and then resting may be helpful. Once you feel comfortable completing these workouts, try swimming for 20 to 30 minutes.


John Mora, author of “Triathlon 101,” suggests that new swimmers take a beginner’s swim class to learn the basic fundamentals of swimming. After learning these fundamentals, regular practicing with drills can help you develop good swimming habits. He suggests counting how many strokes it takes you to swim 25 yards and then trying to get that number to approximately 20 strokes. Another drill you can do to help you find proper swim balance is called “Pressing the Buoy.” Start by pushing yourself off the pool wall with your head looking down and your arms at your sides. While kicking gently, push your chest into the water until your buttocks barely break the surface of the water. You should feel the water supporting more of your body weight. Doing this drill can help you relax and help you learn how your body should feel in the water.

Endurance Workouts

Swimming intervals of different distances can also be a good workout for beginners looking to build their endurance. In “Swim Workouts for Triathletes,” authors Gale Bernhardt and Nick Hansen, a former United States National Team swimming coach, suggest doing a short warm-up followed by swimming 300 yards, resting 20 seconds, then swimming 200 yards, followed by another 20 seconds of rest and then swimming 100 yards. Workouts like these can be tailored to your specific skill level and time available to workout. If you are not yet comfortable swimming these types of distances, you could swim 100 yards, then 75 yards and then 50 yards. If you are comfortable in the water, you can add more intervals. Swimming 100, 200, 300 and then 400 yards with 20 to 30 seconds of rest in between each interval, and then repeating the intervals, may help you build your swimming endurance.

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