Health & Fitness

Swimming – all-rounder for your fitness

This is how swimming improves your fitness

Wondering what swimming is good for? Quite simply: Swimming is healthy and makes you fit all around. Learning to swim properly and training in a goal-oriented manner are prerequisites for this with lifeguard recertification near me.

But even if you just start swimming, your body will benefit from the movement in the water: Swimming trains the cardiovascular system and strengthens the muscles without straining the supporting system.

Your whole body is always challenged in the water. Which muscles you use the most differs depending on your swimming style. Their lowest common denominator is the strain on the upper back muscles . Technically clean swimming is ideal for getting rid of classic (office) tension. You can find out here how you can also train your back effectively .

Effective training despite low heart rate

When you exercise in water, your heart rate is lower than it is on land. That’s why swimming training is no less effective than running or cycling . The main reason for the drop in heart rate is the “ diving effect ”: immersing yourself in water stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system.

This is the part of your nervous system that is responsible for recovery. In this function, it regulates, among other things, the unconscious control of the heart rate and the centralization of the blood circulation. To put it simply: Your body concentrates fully underwater on supplying the vital organs with oxygen.

The water pressure and the horizontal position of your body also play a role. They improve the stroke volume of the heart by facilitating blood flow. So it has to beat less frequently to transport enough blood (Such, U., Meyer, T., 2010. The maximum heart rate . German journal for sports medicine).

Calorie consumption swimming – overview

How many calories you burn while swimming depends on your training level and your general physical condition. Swimming style and training intensity also make a big difference. This much is clear: leisurely swimming lengths including a chat burns more energy than sitting in a café. But you don’t set a calorie record. You have to make a little effort for that.

Tip: You don’t know how many calories you actually (consume) need? Our free calorie calculator can help.

How many calories do you burn swimming?

The following figures show the average calorie consumption for swimming. They are rough guidelines for amateur athletes and swimmers. The best way to determine your real calorie consumption for each unit is with a fitness tracker suitable for sports in the water .

Calories burned swimming

  • Calorie consumption breaststroke: 400 – 700 kcal / hour
  • Calorie consumption crawl swimming: 500 – 800 kcal / hour
  • Calorie consumption backstroke: 200 – 500 kcal / hour

What muscles does swimming train?

As a swimmer, you always use your whole body and train both strength and endurance. Only which muscles you train in the water depends on your swimming style. As with any sport, the same applies here: technology counts. The better you swim, the better you train your muscles . So what should not be missing after training*? A creamy whey protein shake ! Because you didn’t just earn it after the gym!


When you swim breaststroke, you primarily train your back, especially the broad back muscle (latissimus dorsi). The abdominal muscles stabilize the body in the water. The gluteal muscles support the complex leg movement. The front and back of the thighs also work.


Above all, backstroke trains, just like our 30-day booty workout , the entire buttock muscles (gluteus maximus, medias and minimums). Due to the flat position in the water, you also strengthen your core with this swimming style, which must avoid sinking your buttocks during the swim. Since a significant part of the propulsion comes from the upper body, the latissimus dorsi is also involved here.

Swimming on your back also improves shoulder girdle mobility . Because of this and thanks to the relaxed position of your head and neck in the water, you can get rid of neck tension after long days at the office with backstroke swimming.

Freestyle swimming

Freestyle swimming requires a particularly large number of muscle groups . Chest, arms, shoulders, upper back, abs, abs, obliques, lower back, buttocks, hips and legs help you progress in the water. Above all, the broad back muscle (latissimus dorsi) and the trapezius muscle (musculus trapezius) work here as well.

But be careful: crawling is not about paddling wildly with your arms. Rather, you should work on optimizing your gliding phase. The fewer arm strokes you need for a length of the pool, the more powerful and efficient your swimming style is.

Do you want to specifically build muscle? Then check out our free muscle building workouts . Fun, sweat and success guaranteed.

How healthy is swimming?

Swimming is effective cardiovascular training that does not strain the supporting and holding apparatus and is therefore very easy on the joints. Provided you master your swimming style and choose a style that suits you.

So there is no general answer as to which swimming style is healthy for you.

Is swimming healthy? Swimming styles at a glance

Any stroke that you can swim technically clean is healthy. Backstroke is always great. Depending on the training intensity, frequency and extent of the incorrect movement, the following problems lurk in the case of improper chest or crawl style:


  • Tension in the cervical spine
  • Back problems due to hyperlordosis (hollow back)
  • Knee problems with an improper kick or previous injuries


  • Neck tension from one-sided exhalation
  • (Reinforcement) muscular imbalances
  • Overuse injuries in the shoulder

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