Blog Header Logo

At-Home Swimming Pool Exercises

With the new year on the horizon, people are starting to think about their list of new year resolutions, and one resolution typically tops all others — go to the gym! Increasing your activity level and boosting your health is always a great idea, but you don't need the gym, or the pressure of a new year for that. If you have a swimming pool, you can get your heart pumping and muscles working right in your backyard with some of our favorite swimming pool exercises!

Benefits of Swimming Pool Exercises

Hitting the gym and pumping iron is no doubt a fantastic way to workout. But that's not a practical or enjoyable way to exercise for many people. Pool exercises allow you to workout in the privacy of your own home, and there are numerous health benefits to getting your swim on.

Exercising in water allows your body to activate nearly every muscle and achieve a great workout, all in a low-impact environment. Which is ideal for people with arthritis, physical limitations, or those recovering from an injury. Furthermore, because swimming is an anaerobic exercise, it is one of the top ways to improve heart and lung function.

Low Intensity Pool Exercises

low intensity pool exercises

The following pool exercises are great to use as a warmup for higher intensity workouts, or as standalone drills. Always practice proper pool safety and have at least one other person in or around the pool area with you, even if you're an adult!

Arm Raises aquajogger dumbbells for pool exercises

Stand in the shallow end of your pool, and with your arms outstretched, slowly lift the AquaJogger dumbbells up one at a time, as high as you can. Do this move a few times per arm, alternating between forward and side lifts. For added resistance, submerge the dumbbells so they are resting at your side, then lift them out of the water. Incorporate a few bicep curls and shoulder presses to really feel the burn in your upper body!

Water Walk

Strap your AquaJogger belt on and take a power walk around the shallow end of your pool. With each step, lift your knees as high as possible, and swing your arms back and forth under the water. Kick it into high gear and alternate between a power walk and a resting walk for optimal cardiovascular engagement. For an added challenge, grab your dumbbells and do some arm raises while you walk.

Leg Lifts

aquarunner booties for pool exercises

This exercise is fantastic for working on your strength and balance. Standing away from the wall in the shallow end of your pool, slowly lift one leg up at a time, as high as possible. Switch between lifting your legs straight out in front of you, and out to the side. Focus on engaging your core and controlling the lift of your leg. If you need some assistance, hold onto the side of your pool, or sit down on a step. Or if you want to push yourself a bit more, slip on a pair of AquaRunner foam booties for a serious workout!

Around the World Kicks

Take leg lifts up a notch with a set of around the world kicks. Standing in the shallow end, or along the side of your pool, lift your knee up high, then quickly — and carefully — extend your lower leg out into a kick. Slowly drop your leg down, then lift it up again and kick out to the side, then repeat one more time and kick out behind you. Repeat this exercise a few times per leg.

Moderate Intensity Pool Exercises

moderate intensity pool exercises

These moderate intensity exercises work your entire body and will push your cardiovascular system to its max. Again, practice proper pool safety and ensure someone is in the pool with you or on the deck in case you need assistance.

Wall Kicks

This pool exercise utilizes your own body as a form of resistance, and is a great way to work on your kick technique. In the shallow or deep end of your pool, wherever you're comfortable, grab a hold of the edge of your pool and let your body float up until you're horizontal on your stomach in the water. Extend your arms slightly and push yourself away from the wall, while still holding the edge. Once you're in the position, take a deep breath, tuck your head under water, and start kicking! While it might be tempting to kick as hard as possible, use this exercise to focus on your kick form and body control.

Treading Water

If you want a serious upper body burn, treading water is the workout for you! The intensity and difficulty of this pool exercise can be modified depending on your comfort and strength level. Stand in a spot in your pool where the water level is just above your shoulders. Then bring your arms up to your chest level underwater, about shoulder-width apart. With your hands slightly cupped, slowly start sweeping your arms back and forth. If you feel like you're pushing yourself up out of the water, squat down lower in the water, or take your feet completely off the floor.

To increase the difficulty of this exercise, lift your feet off the floor, bring your knees up to your chest, and extend your lower legs in front of you while you tread.

Jumping Jacks

A classic exercise from your elementary school P.E. class, jumping jacks might seem simple enough, but they're a whole new beast when done in your pool. For best results, stand in a spot in your pool where the water is at least waist deep, and submerge your arms each time you bring them to your side. Grab your dumbbells to increase the water resistance and difficulty.

High Intensity Pool Exercises

This final set of pool exercises are sure to get your blood pumping and your muscles trembling! These workouts are not for the faint of heart, so make sure you're comfortable with the previous exercises before moving on to more challenging ones. And remember, be safe and always have someone in the pool or on deck with you.

Travel Treading

aquajogger fitness belt for pool exercises.

This exercise takes treading water up a notch and will leave your arms feeling like jello! Begin this pool exercise by getting into the tread position, with your knees tucked towards your chest and your arms out in front of you, about shoulder-length apart. Quickly scoop the water and pull your arms towards your chest, then reach them back out into the water and repeat. Each strong scoop of your arms will move your body through the water.

This exercise takes some getting used to if you have never done it before, so don't get discouraged if you don't ace it on the first try! Toss on your AquaJogger belt for a bit more stability and buoyancy.

Front or Back Float Kicks

Front or back float kicks are a fantastic lower body workout and a great way to fine-tune your kick technique. While floating on your back or stomach, extend your arms straight above your head so you're in a streamlined position. Then, start kicking! Practice your freestyle, frog, and dolphin kick on both your back and stomach. Be careful not to run into the end of your pool as you kick through the water.

Hold on to a kickboard or another flotation device for extra buoyancy if you need help maintaining the streamline float position.

Lap Swimming

And finally, the best pool exercise of all is lap swimming. This form of exercise is undoubtedly one of the most beneficial ways to stay fit and healthy. While not every backyard pool is big enough to facilitate lap swimming, the at-home exercises above will help you build the strength and endurance needed for lap swimming. Check with your local community center or aquatic facility to see if they offer public lap swimming.


Save yourself a pricey gym membership by trying out some of these at-home swimming pool exercises. With just a few supplies, you can get a fantastic workout, all from the comfort of your own backyard!


In The Swim makes every effort to provide accurate recommendations based upon current ANSI/APSP/ICC-5 2011 (R2022) standards, but codes and regulations change, and In The Swim assumes no liability for any omissions or errors in this article or the outcome of any project. You must always exercise reasonable caution, carefully read the label on all products, follow all product directions, follow any current codes and regulations that may apply, and consult with a licensed professional if in doubt about any procedures. In The Swim assumes no legal responsibility for your reliance or interpretation of the data contained herein, and makes no representations or warranties of any kind concerning the quality, safety, or suitability of the information, whether express or implied, including, without limitation, any implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.