Professional Swim Workouts by Professional Swim Coaches

Swimming for Weight Loss

“Over the last year I’ve began swimming 4-6 days a week in my local YMCA pool. I typically try to swim about 30-45 minutes. I’m looking to bump it to the next level. As in come up with a swimming routine that would help me lose about 15 pounds. I know diet has a lot to do with this also. Thanks for any help you can give.”

Training for Weight Loss by Coach Paul Yetter

Paul Yetter -T2 Aquatics (USA)Congratulations on getting into the great sport of swimming! You can use swimming for any number of terrific physical and mental responses, and certainly weight loss is one of those things. Other benefits include, but are not limited to: lower resting heart rate, full-body musculature changes, & greater sense of physical and emotional well-being.


Losing weight is one benefit of working out in the water, but when exercising in the water we are dealing with a medium that encourages a bit of buoyancy. For this reason, swimmers find that they lose weight to a certain extent, but oftentimes this weight loss will stagnate as a person gets in better shape (it’s certainly possible to get into better shape while maintaining a baseline body-wieght). If weight loss continues to be the goal, it’s important to incorporate land activities into the swimming routine. The following is a great way to lose weight while training in the pool:

  • Step 1:
    5×50 on (1:30) all out fast swimming! This can be done with any equipment (FINS and Paddles are encouraged for those athletes who are somewhat used to using them).
  • Step 2:
    Hop OUT of the pool, slip on some shoes, and grab a Jump Rope. Get into 8 minutes of Jump Roping (30 seconds on, 30 seconds off). Count the amount of Jump Ropes you do in 30 seconds, just to get a estimate for your total (if you count once and go 60 Jump Ropes, you can figure that in 8 minutes you are going 520 Jumps).
  • Step 3:
    Get back in the pool, go 8×100 on (1:40) interval, or an interval that gets you 20-30 seconds rest. Use the first 4 to ‘get into it’ and the next 4 to descend. Go Fast at the end!

The three exercises together, done WELL and consistently (two-three times per week) will help produce body composition change after 4-6 weeks. You can adjust the basic sets on step 2 and 3 but going 40/20 instead of 30/30 Jump Ropes, or by going 8×125 or 8×75 on step 3. Make sure you get about 45-60 seconds rest on Step 1, and 20-30 rest on Step 3 (adjust to your speed).

If you have a hard time getting out of the pool for Step 2, you may consider going (:20 on / :20 off) wall kick or vertical kick. The “out of the pool” exercise makes a difference though — because you will tend to lose the weight or at least change the body’s composition more efficiently when working out of the water during part of the workout.

Paul Yetter is the Head Coach of T2 Aquatics and is working with athletes of all levels in Naples Florida.

About Nico Messer

Nico is currently not involved with a team. This past season he has been the Coach for the Swiss Swimming Army National Team. [Read Bio]

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