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Swimming Pool Exercises 101 – Unlock Your New Fitness Potential


If you want to get in the best shape of your life, while offering your joints additional support, aquatic exercise is the way to do it.

Backyard pools make it possible to easily perform a wide variety of swimming pool exercises tailored specifically to your needs.

Not only will these exercises help you get in amazing shape, but they can be a powerful way to combat stress and support your overall well-being.

Curious about all the ways you can workout in your pool? Dive in and discover a whole new way to incorporate fitness into your daily routine.

Swimming Pool Exercise Styles to Match Any Fitness Level

Whether you prefer a moderate exercise regime or something more vigorous, a pool offers a low-impact workout that will get your muscles moving and your heart pumping.

Even if you’re already in shape, a backyard pool can help you take your fitness to the next level.

The possibilities are endless. From cardio to strengthening and toning to stretching, there’s no exercise you can’t do in your pool.

1. Cardio

Cardio exercise is one of the best ways to strengthen your heart and lungs.

When done regularly, it helps reduce your risk of heart problems, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and even some forms of cancer.

Add that to its ability to help you burn calories and lose weight, it becomes obvious that regular cardio workouts are one of the best things you can do for your health.

When done underwater in a pool, cardio becomes even more effective and can lead to a more effective fat burn.

The aquatic cardio options are endless, but some of the most popular include marching, jogging, jumping jacks, kicks, and knee raises.

2. Strength Training

Strength training, like cardio, offers many health benefits — especially when done in the water.

Regular toning exercises not only make you stronger, but they are also good for your bone and muscle health and can decrease your risk of injury.

Also, when your muscles are well conditioned, your metabolism works more effectively, making it a great way to get rid of stubborn body fat.

Strength training in the water is not as hard as it sounds. You don’t even have to have any equipment.

Squats, lunges, pull-ups using the side of the pool, and arm circles are just a few great options.


You can bump up the intensity of any swimming pool exercise by incorporating varying intervals of intensity.

HIIT, or high-intensity interval training, is a style of exercise in which you alternate between vigorous and moderate sets of movement.

This can be done with a variety of exercises, from jogging to squats to jumping jacks.

It is so effective because your heart has to work harder to adjust to different intensities, and this burns more calories than a consistent pace.

As an added benefit, the calorie burn continues well after the end of a HIIT workout.

4. Yoga

Yoga can be intimidating, especially for beginners. But, there’s no need to worry, as you can start your yoga practice with simple poses and work your way up from there.

Water yoga is especially easier and more effective, thanks to the buoyancy of the water. Your pool is an ideal place to get your yoga on.

Aquatic yoga not only increases your flexibility and muscle tone but also improves your breathing and energy levels.

It’s also good for your cardiovascular and circulatory health and helps protect you from injury, not to mention the benefits that it can offer to both your mental and emotional health.

5. Stretch It Out

Stretching is an ideal way to improve your posture while decreasing muscle stiffness and increasing your flexibility and overall mobility.

It also can help relieve muscle aches and pain and reduce stress and tension. When done in the water, stretching can be even more effective.

Aquatic stretching is low impact and takes stress off your joints and muscles. It can even give you a greater range of motion thanks to the buoyancy of the water.

swimming pool exercise - women doing squats in the water

Best 5 Swimming Pool Exercises You Can Try Today

Dive into five of the best swimming pool exercises, apart from just swimming laps, that can easily be included in any fitness routine, even if you’re just beginning your journey!

1. Jogging

Jogging in your pool can help you to burn a lot of calories. In fact, jogging with water resistance burns more calories than jogging on a treadmill or in the park.

As an added bonus, aquatic jogging eliminates the strain on your hips, knees, and ankles due to the buoyancy of the water.

To really get the most out of jogging, try incorporating the HIIT methodology. This form of swimming pool exercise is an extremely effective way to improve your fitness.

Try alternating between jogging and slow marching, or switch between marching and pushing yourself through a series of laps across the water.

2. Squats

Done underwater, squats are an ideal way to raise your heart rate while strengthening your thighs, glutes, and core.

How To:

Plant your feet firmly on the bottom of your pool, shoulder-width apart. Then, bending your knees, slowly sit back as if you were going to sit down on a chair.

You can hold your arms at your waist with your hands on your hips if you’re a beginner to help stay balanced.

For a more advanced squat, take the move deep and raise your arms in front of you without lifting them out of the water.

As you stand up, allow your arms to slowly drop back to your sides. Work your way up to three sets of 10 to 15 repetitions.

For added intensity, drop into a squat and pulse. Simply hold the seated squat position and pulse up and down a few inches for a count of 10.

Pulsing squats burn more calories by upping the intensity level.

3. Lower Ab Crunches

If you’re looking to strengthen your abdominal muscles, this is the swimming pool exercise for you.

How To:

In the shallow end, sit facing the center of your pool with your legs out in front of you.

Place your arms at your sides, resting your hands on one of the steps, or lift them above your head to hold onto the edge of your pool to keep your body hovering in the water.

Once you’re properly aligned, bring your knees into your chest and then use your ab muscles to extend your legs in front of you.

Focus on keeping your back straight and shoulders relaxed, and don’t allow your legs to touch the bottom of the pool.

Breathing properly will help you with this advanced exercise.

Be sure to inhale when you pull your knees into your chest and exhale when you push your legs back out. Work up to doing three sets of 20 repetitions.

4. Leg Raises

Underwater leg raises combine cardio and strength training for phenomenal results.

While this swimming pool exercise tones your legs and backside, it also elevates your heart rate, enabling you to burn a lot of calories.

How To:

Stand where you can hold onto the edge of your pool with both hands.

Then, raise one leg up behind you as high as you can and give your glutes a squeeze at the top.

Start with one set of 10 for each leg and work up to three sets on each side.

5. Jump With Knee Tuck

This is a great swimming pool exercise for getting your heart pumping.

How To:

Stand in an area of your pool where the water is up to your shoulders, with your legs shoulder-width apart.

Then, do a series of jumps, tucking your knees up toward your chest. Use your arms for balance and stability.

swimming pool exercises - stretching

Ease Muscle Stiffness Post-Workout With These Stretches

Read on for some easy yet effective, full-body, and pool-friendly stretches to add to your aquatic fitness routine.

Upper Body Stretches

  • Shoulder Stretch

Stand or sit up straight in your pool. Grab one arm above your elbow with the opposite hand and pull it across your body toward your chest.

Keep your elbow below shoulder height and hold for 20-30 seconds. Repeat on the other side.

  • Chest Stretch

Standing up straight, interlock your fingers behind you near your backside.

Keep your shoulders straight and shoulder blades together, then lift your arms up until you feel a stretch in your chest. Hold for 30 seconds if you can.

  • Wrist Extension

Extend one arm in front of you at shoulder height or slightly below.

With your opposite hand, grab your fingers just above your palm and gently pull on your hand until your fingertips are pointing toward the ceiling.

You’ll feel a stretch in your wrist and forearm.

  • Side Stretch

Standing in your pool, raise your arms above your hand, clasping your hands together.

Stretch up and then over to the left, feeling a stretch down your arm, into your side, and through your hip. Hold for 30 seconds and switch sides.

Lower Body Stretches

  • Calf Stretch

Place one foot in front of the other, bend your front knee slightly, and lean toward the side of your pool.

Keep both feet planted firmly on the floor and your back knee straight. Hold for 20-30 seconds and then switch sides.

  • Toes on Wall Stretch

Holding onto the pool’s edge for balance, place the heel of your foot a few inches from the wall of your pool.

Put your toes an inch or two above the wall and press forward for a lower leg and ankle stretch.

  • Thigh Stretch

Stand in your pool with one knee bent and reach behind you to grab your foot.

Keep your knee bent close to your other leg and pull your foot up until you feel a stretch down your thigh.

You can hold the side of your pool if you need help to stay balanced. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.

Get In Shape With National Pools & Spas

If you’re ready to improve your health and get in shape by incorporating these swimming pool exercises into your daily routine? National Pools & Spas can help.

From above-ground pools to in-ground pools and a range of expert pool service solutions, we offer everything you need at our four New Jersey locations.

Drop in to explore your options, or contact us today with any questions you may have.


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