It may not be the beginning of the year when most people revitalize their exercise and health goals, but Back To School time is often paired with a sense of starting over and building a better you. Consider your backyard pool as a source of exercise in addition to a source of enjoyment. Exercising from the comfort of your own home is more convenient, less expensive (if you already have a pool), and may encourage others in your home to participate.

In order to properly exercise in your home pool, ensure that you have the right tools, you plan and schedule your exercises, and that you vary your workout. These are a few of the key components to making your pool exercise effective and fun!

Have The Right Tools

You may think that all you need for swimming is your swimsuit and a pair of goggles, however there are several other tools that can provide you with a much more in-depth exercise. Fore more information these tools, click the link in the bolded title.

Swim Cap

Swim Cap – A silicon or latex swim cap can help hold back long hair, protect your hair from the chlorinated water, and keep your hair mostly dry. For competitive swimmers, a swim cap is worn primarily to reduce drag, however recreational swimmers or those utilizing a pool for exercise will not necessarily need a swim cap for this purpose. A silicon swim cap is thicker and more expensive while a latex swim cap is less expensive however they are thin and often break after minimal use. If you are just dipping your toes in the water and want to try out a swim cap, a cheaper latex swim cap would be adequate.

Adult Kick Board

Kickboard – A kickboard is often seen used by children when first learning to swim. These boards are often made of foam and allow the user to float the top half of their body while exercising only the legs. Utilizing a Kickboard during warmup and cool down can help the swimmer focus on the movement of their legs while also providing a break for the arms. A “kick” exercise is referring to use of the kickboard.

Pool Buoy

Pull Buoy – A pull buoy (also called a pull float) is also a foam device that you place between your thighs so that your legs and hips float while your upper body maintains the workout. A “pull” exercise is referring to the use of a pull buoy.

Water Barbell

Water Dumbbell or Barbell – Not your standard weight-lifting dumbbell or barbell, this item is practically weightless (again, made of foam), but with it’s ability to float these pieces of equipment are perfect for water resistance exercises.


Flippers or Swim Fins – Chances are you’ve probably worn flippers at some point in your life, whether snorkeling or when first learning to swim. These common swimming tools are often a fun and welcome way to break up the exercise. Flippers can exercise your body in a slightly different way than swimming without flippers, however it’s important not to rely on flippers for an entire workout. Also, keep in mind that swim flippers are best used in lengthy pools, so they may not work for every pool length and shape.

Pace Clock

Pace Clock – As you begin exercising, technique will be more important than timing, however as you progress with your pool workouts, being able to complete the exercises more efficiently each time will become important. A pace clock is essentially a specially-designed clock to help time your exercises. These clocks take a bit of practice to learn how to read, so you may want to study one before you hit the water. If you do not wish to use a pace clock, a traditional clock can also be used, as long as it has a seconds hand.

Of course, there are countless other tools out there that can be used in pool exercises, these are just a few of the most popular pieces of exercise equipment. Finding new tools to work with can keep your exercise exciting and challenging, so be sure to switch things up on occasion.

Plan & Schedule Your Exercises

Before diving in, always plan your exercise and utilize a whiteboard or a cheat-sheet on paper to keep track of your exercise. Keeping track of how long it takes you for each exercise is important as well, so make sure your clock is nearby and visible from where you will be swimming. Because each home pool has a different shape and length, these sample exercises are broken down by time commitment, however most pool workout programs are measured by laps.

Exercise 1 – 30 minutes

  • Stretch on land before beginning
  • 5 minutes Kick
  • 5 minutes Pull
  • 5 minutes Freestyle “Free” Stroke
  • 5 minutes Breaststroke
  • 10 minutes cool down in your most comfortable swimming stroke

Exercise 2 – 1 hour

  • Stretch on land before beginning
  • 5 minutes Kick
  • 5 minutes Pull
  • 5 minutes Pull with flippers
  • 10 minutes Freestyle “Free” Stroke
  • 10 minutes Breaststroke
  • 10 minutes Backstroke (if safe to do in your pool, if not try Butterfly Stroke or Sidestroke)
  • 5 minutes Pull with flippers
  • 5 minutes Pull
  • 5 minutes Kick

Exercise 3 – 1 hour

  • Stretch on land before beginning
  • 10 minutes Kick
  • 10 minutes Pull
  • 2 minutes Tread Water (in deeper water)
  • 5 minutes Freestyle Stroke
  • 2 minutes Squat Jumps (in shallow water)
  • 2 minutes Breststroke
  • 2 minutes Squat Jumps
  • 5 minutes Freestyle Stroke
  • 2 minutes Tread Water
  • 10 minutes Pull
  • 10 minutes Kick

Vary Your Workout

Instead of picking one exercise and simply improving your time or your strength each time, consider changing your workout each time to add different strokes or tasks. Another way to vary your pool workout would be to pair your pool workout with a land workout. Be sure not to overdo it, but adding squats, lunges, jumping jacks, burpees, or other land exercises can help increase your heart rate and exercise different muscles in your body. Many people like to exercise on land, then use the pool for cool-down only, and that can also be a great way to utilize your home pool in your home workouts.


Always make sure that your pool is safe for swimming especially before beginning any exercises, contact us for professional assistance with maintaining your pool.

Regardless of how you choose to exercise, be careful and cautious of your surroundings. While pool exercises are often safe and used therapeutically during Physical Therapy, it’s important to understand that water exercises are not safe for everyone and you should consult a physician before beginning any exercise regimen. The exercises outlined in this article are meant as a guideline and do not guarantee any outcomes from these exercises.

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