Reasons to HIIT the pool

29 Nov 2018 17:32PM by Virgin Active

Higher calorie burn for less effort 

Just the statement we all want to hear!!!   It is natural for your metabolism to boost when your body elevates its heart rate anyway, but if you swim often and regularly you will create longer and leaner muscles which means your daily metabolism will get better and better and your body will stay leaner much easier than with other forms of cardio.   Swimming burns approximately 3 calories per mile per pound of bodyweight – so for 150 pounds can burn approximately 450 calories for every mile swum!

Team this up with the fact that due to hydrostatic pressure on the body, exercising in water reduces your heart rate up to 10-15 beats per minute compared to similar exertions on dry land allowing you to work harder than you would in the gym.  In 30 mins of exercise in the water the equivalent of approximately 60mins of exercise – so If you are short on time but want an effective workout, head to the pool!

Great fat burner

Swimming is one of the most efficient ways to lose body fat, if you are looking to improve cardio fitness and tone up, then look out the cozzie because you are about to get wet!   As you move through the water you are working your heart and lungs, this will help to increase lung capacity and your overall cardio fitness, water provides 800 times more resistance than air so there is a natural resistance provided which helps to tone muscles.  The nature of the swimming strokes requires you to engage multiple muscle the same time giving you a full body workout without even thinking about it!
Swimming is also low impact due to the weightless feeling that buoyancy gives you swimming can reduce on the joints by up to 90%.  It is easier on your bones and joints compared to exercise so you get all the benefits of a dynamic cardio and resistance workout but none of the stress and risk of injury on the body – happy days!

Feel good factor

Any form of cardio will increase the “happy hormone” serotonin levels in our brain, hence why we feel more uplifted and positive after a workout, studies have shown that the feeling of being in water and restorative qualities.  I agree with this , being in water can be very calming and moving through the water in any stroke is very rhythmical and you are so focused on body alignment and controlling your breathing that you can completely clear your mind and in this it is not unlike yoga.  You will finish your workout feeling and regular cardio improves better sleep patterns so if you get a good nights stress is less likely to affect you at all!


Water provides an excellent environment for exercise and swimming can help your body recover from injuries, and recover sore muscles and pain much faster whilst maintaining a level of fitness.  

Warmer water can induce vasodilation, which draws blood into the target tissues and the increased blood flow delivers higher levels of oxygen and nutrients to the tissues whilst removing cell waste.  This promotes faster healing of injured tissues and the warmth of the water decreases muscle spasm and can relieve pain.

So we now know why we should start including the pool as a training location but how do we actually make the most of our time in the water?  Below are some examples of effective HIIT workouts which are great if you are short on time and want to blast the fat.

These workouts can be performed by anyone using any of the 4 competitive strokes(front crawl, back crawl, and butterfly) though only use front crawl or back crawl as a , and butterfly are too vigorous movements without a sufficient oxygen supply to the muscles and you could risk injury. 
It is recommended to have some professional tuition if you don’t feel confident in the water or your technique needs some improvements.

HIIT #1 
• Warm up for 5-10mins, starting slowly and picking up the pace every 2 lengths.

 sprint 1 length, active recovery 1 length

Sprint 2 lengths, active recovery 1 length

Sprint 4 lengths, active recovery 2 lengths

• Recovery 3 minutes very slow pace

• Repeat all intervals an additional 1 to 2 times

• Cool down – 5 minutes slow, reducing the pace every 2 lengths

• Warm up 5-10mins starting slowly and  increasing pace every length

Sprint 2 lengths, active recovery 1 length

Sprint 1 length kick only, recover 1 length
Sprint 1 length arms only, recover 1 length

Sprint 2 lengths, active recovery 1 length

• Recovery 3 mins very slow pace

• Repeat all intervals an additional 1 to 2 times

• – 5 mins slow, reducing pace every 2 lengths

I hope you to the pool and watch your body transform, it is recommended to complete these workouts 3-5 times per week and for you to keep the intensity as high as possible throughout the session to results!

Back To Top