By Cat Kom

We’re not just talking about swimming laps, because you can absolutely get a body-sculpting weight-training session in a pool. So many people think of swimming as a cardio workout, but at Studio SWEAT onDemand, we think it’s an ideal place to gain power and build muscle. Seriously – your body weight is supported in water, so you can focus on building strength and flexibility. The buoyancy of a water workout is also perfect for people who suffer from conditions like arthritis, fibromyalgia, back pain, joint replacements, and balance issues.

On average, people burn about 500-600 calories during an hour of swimming, so, if you want the best pool exercises ever, dive into our easy-to-follow guide. We suggest anywhere to three rounds, depending on how much time you have to play.

 Weight Training Twist

It’s not all pool noodles and beach balls. You can actually buy pool weights, foam, and plastic dumbbells that work well underwater. These weights are perfect for building bulk – so, it’s time for you to change your perception around aquatic sports.

What it works: obliques, core, and quads

Here’s how to do it:

  • With both hands, hold your pool noodle or barbell shoulder height with arms straight in front of you.
  • Keeping your arms extended rotate your torso to the right while hopping your feet to the left.
  • Repeat by hopping feet to the right while twisting your upper-body to the left.
  • Repeat back and forth for 30 seconds.

Running in Place

No, you’re not dreaming – it’s really that hard to run in water. So, if you want the ultimate aerobic exercise, then try this new take on high knees. Just remember – slower kicking means less resistance, while faster kicking increases your resistance.

What it works: cardio, hip flexors

Here’s how to do it:

  • With your feet touching the floor, begin to run in place.
  • Go as fast as you can, kicking your legs and lifting your knees as high as you can.
  • Complete for 30 seconds.

Leg Lifts

This deceptively simple ab move is difficult enough on land, but in a pool? You’ll find that you’ll need extra core strength to keep your body from floating away AND push your legs through the water.

What it works: abdominal muscles, obliques, and hip flexors

Here’s how to do it:

  • Holding on to the edge of the pool, lift your legs together until they’re parallel to the floor.
  • Lower them down.
  • Repeat for 25 reps.

 Use Your Noodle

This one may require you to steal your kids’ pool noodle, but trust us, it’s worth it, and they’ll forgive you.

What it works: core, shoulders, and triceps

Here’s how to do it:

  • While on your belly floating in the water, hold on to a horizontal pool noodle.
  • Engage your core to hold your position, then push down the pool noodle with arms straight.
  • Complete for 25 reps.

Tuck Jump

Because it’s so high impact, not everyone’s a fan of the tuck jump. But, in a pool, treading water? You’ll experience that same heart-pumping cardio without being as hard on your knees as you add a bigger element of ab work into the mix.

What it works: core, quads, glutes, deltoids, chest, and lats

Here’s how to do it:

  • Make sure the water comes up to your shoulders.
  • While treading water (or with your feet touching the bottom of the pool), bring both knees up to your chest.
  • Extend your legs straight down.
  • Complete for 10 reps

A note to improve your pool workout: yes, you still have to drink water before and after your workout. Accidental pool water intake doesn’t count!

Just because a workout is creative and fun doesn’t mean it’s inefficient. If anything, changing it up with out-of-the-box exercises keeps you from getting stuck in a workout plateau and keeps you on your toes!


Cat Kom is a celebrated fitness trainer who launched a global movement to bring fitness to the masses, no matter their age, ability or skill level. Through her company Studio SWEAT onDemand, a fitness studio based in San Diego, California, she produces streaming workouts that can be accessed through their app, any internet browser, smart device or TV. As one of Huffington Post’s‘ Limit Breaking Female Founders,’ Cat has gained notoriety for her fat-torching classes featuring passionate trainers and real people, getting real results.