T Nation

Swimming As Cardio


What kind of results could you get from underwater swimming as compared to regular cardio? It gets pretty warm outside and I'd like to do this on off days.


Swimming and various water activities can be awesome cardio. Just look at some swimmers.

You can use the whole body.

It all depends on how you go about it, the intensity, what not. I personally like water volleyball, or just chillin in the pool.


swimming is one of the best energy system work that i can think of, it can be an excellent cool down after a weight lifting session too.


What is your goal?

If it is cardiovascular conditioning, swimming is incredible. As the other guy stated, the entire body is used.

If it is fat loss, simply make it interval or sprinting type work. One could bastardize CT's Running Man into Swimming Man.

The biggest downside to swimming is this: if you over-exert yourself and pass out, then you drown. Drowning results in death, and that sucks.

My $.02,


At the pool where my daughters do their swim lessons there is a group of fat, and I mean FAT dudes.

They swim for the whole hour we are there and are still swimming when we leave.

It is absolutely amazing that they can be so fat and yet such good swimmers.


Agreed. Swimming also stretches your upper body.


I asked a similar question a month or so ago, general consensus was that swimming is an excellent cardiovascular exercise but if you are replacing it with regular cardio for fat burning then it just don't cut the mustard. As your whole body weight is supported by the water you burn less calories. I try and get two swimming sessions a week after training as more of a cool down and stretch, than a replacement for regular treadmill/bike cardio.


I call bullsh!t. Sprint 10 x 50m laps with 60 sec rest intervals. Then repost. Your whole body weight will have to be supported by the water, cuz after that you won't be able to stand up.

Swimming is BRUTAL. I was heavily in it as a kid. Never have I been so hungry as after 4 hours of swimming every Satruday morning. No football two-a-days or weight training session can even compare. All I wanted to do was EAT and sleep for the rest of the day.

And regarding fat swimmers - they are in a similar situation as the hour-a-day gym treadmill crew. Low intensity for a long time, so they are good at swimming. They make boats for that now, anyway.