Top view of people swimming in pool lanes

9 Essential Ways to Get More Out of Your Swim Workouts

Whether you’re swimming to get a leisurely workout, training for a triathlon, or anything in between, if you’re like most swimmers, you probably want to find ways to get the most out of every swimming workout.

After all, once you’ve made the effort to fit swimming into your schedule and made your way to the pool, it only makes sense to maximize your time there.

And if you’re looking for simple ways to make every swim count, there are a few essential things you can do.

Here’s what you need to know.

Set a Goal

Regardless of what you want to achieve, having a measurable goal is a great way to keep you on track and to help you keep tabs on your progress.

You can consider setting two types of goals:

    1. Individual Goals: Each time you go for a swim, try to focus on at least one thing you want to achieve. This could be anything from swimming an extra length to practicing one specific technique. Doing so will give you something to strive for each time you every time you get in the water.
    2. Big Picture Goals: On a longer scale, it’s wise to consider goals you’d like to achieve over time. This might be things like building the ability to swim a specific distance without stopping, achieving a certain pace, or training for a race or a swim meet.


If you want to get the most out of your swim workout, having an idea of what you’d like to achieve will keep you motivated and focused.

Incorporate Swimming Drills

There’s nothing wrong with simply swimming consistent laps back and forth across the pool. But if you want to get more out of your swim workouts, practicing swimming drills is one of the best ways to maximize your efforts.

Swimming drills are a set of motions that focus on particular strokes and techniques. They’re designed to break down your strokes and skills into individual components which you can target and improve to create a better holistic result.

To learn more about what swimming drills are and how they help you improve, read through our resource: How Swimming Drills Help You Get Faster, Stronger, and More Efficient. It also includes a set of swim drills you can start practicing today.

Practice Better Breathing

One of the most crucial aspects of your swim is the way you breathe while in the water and how comfortable you become with it. So, it stands to reason that focusing on your breathing is an essential way to get the most out of your swim workouts.

This ultimately boils down to a few fundamental points, such as finding the right swim breathing cadence and using a few drills and exercises—both in the pool and during dry-land training—to help you strengthen your lung capacity and find your natural rhythm.

For everything you need to know about improving your breathing while swimming, read through our article: 7 Ways to Improve Your Swimming Breathing Technique.

Dial Up Your Speed by Perfecting Your Technique

If you want to get faster in the pool, you should focus on enhancing your technique.

Water is about 800 times denser than air. So, the drag your body experiences when it’s trying to move through the water is significantly stronger than when you’re moving around outside the pool.

Because of that, the best way to swim faster is to master the proper techniques required to minimize that drag and maximize your propulsion.

If you’d like to learn more about becoming a faster swimmer, check out this resource: Pick Up the Pace: 7 Pro Tips for How to Swim Faster in the Pool.

Focus on Improving Your Fitness

When it comes to getting fitter and stronger, swimming is one of the best things you can do.

In fact, swimming offers several physical and mental benefits.

Full Body Exercise

Fundamentally, swimming is all about overcoming resistance. And because of that, swimming is an incredible form of full-body fitness.

Incredible Cardiovascular Improvement

With tons of big muscle groups working together all at once over long periods, swim workouts for fitness require your heart to work hard to pump oxygen through your body.

Significant Muscle Mass Increases

Swimming will help you build muscle much faster than some of its cardio-heavy exercise counterparts because it involves using as many as fifty muscles at any given time—from your shoulders to your back, chest, arms, abs, glutes, legs, and even your hands.

High-Volume Calorie Burns

Swim workouts for fitness are a great way to burn calories due to the high level of physical output required to do it.

Low-Impact Physical Toll

While water is significantly denser and offers higher resistance than air, it also gives you buoyancy which means it relieves the pressure that gravity puts on your joints, bones, and muscles.

Effective Injury Rehabilitation

Because of its low-impact nature, swimming can be incredibly beneficial for actively rehabilitating injuries like sprains, strains, and tears.

Stress Relief and Improved Moods

Like all forms of exercise, swimming stimulates the release of endorphins, providing a sense of happiness, positivity, and general well-being.

Enhanced Cognitive Function

All exercise offers mental and physical benefits through increased blood circulation, but regular swimming, in particular, has been shown to improve memory, cognitive function, and immune response.

To learn about a few best practices when it comes to swimming for fitness and discover some fitness-focused workouts you can incorporate into your next swim session, read through our resource on the subject: Swim Workouts for Fitness: How Swimming Makes You Stronger, Happier, and Healthier.

Swim with Fins

If you’re ready to take your swimming skills to the next level, one of the best ways to do so is by incorporating swimming fins for short periods of your session.

Swimming fins are a piece of gear you wear on your feet to help you move faster and more efficiently through the water.

Mimicking the fins that aquatic animals have by nature, swimming fins help humans to get more thrust from swimming kicks, providing you with better propulsion with which to move through the water.

Fins also offer a ton of other benefits, including:

  • Burning additional calories
  • Giving your upper body a much-needed break
  • Making your drills more effective


To learn more about each of these benefits and some fundamental considerations for picking the right swimming fins, read this resource: Swimming With Fins: Workouts to Help You Get Faster and Stronger. It also includes some simple swimming fin workouts you can incorporate into your next session.

Understand Your Swim Pace

Getting the most out of every swim workout doesn’t only include moving as fast as you can—there’s a lot more to it.

Most of us have experienced that shattering feeling of going out too fast and hitting a wall halfway through an interval, set, or workout.

When you train like this, you miss out on getting the most out of your full potential—whatever your swim level.

That’s the point of pacing: knowing how to distribute your effort across a specific period of time in order to maintain speed and optimize performance.

Getting your pace perfected takes some work, but if you’d like to learn how to do it, you’ll find everything you need to know here: Understanding and Improving Your Swim Pace.

Follow a Plan

Hands down, the best way to get the most out of your swim workouts is to follow a training plan. This will help you take the guesswork out of your swimming by telling you not only what kind of workouts you need to do to achieve your swimming goals but also how often to swim and recover to maximize your results.

Check out our article, The Benefits of Following a Swim Training Plan, to learn more about why they’re so critical to getting the most out of your swim workouts and how to pick the right one for you.

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