One of the greatest compliments you can give is to tell them that they have a swimmer’s body. You see, it’s not just about the calories burned but also about how swimming develops many different muscle groups simultaneously while keeping you safe at the same time.

Swimming is one of the most intense forms of cardio. It burns a lot of calories, minimizes the risk of an injury, and overall helps one get in shape. 

However, while it is true that even a regular person will have numerous benefits from swimming, how does this affect professional swimmers? What other exercises do they need in order to improve their performance? 

Most importantly, how do they stay in shape during the coronavirus pandemic in areas where public pools are closed? Let’s find out!

How Effective Is Swimming?

When talking about swimming and getting in shape, one question that the majority of people ask is regarding the burning of calories. 

This depends on one’s body composition, weight, and swimming speed. An average person swimming fast would burn about 817 calories in one hour of swimming. Going a bit slower, they can still burn around 572 calories in one hour.

Whenever we talk about a cardio exercise, it is only natural to compare it to running. First of all, a rough estimate is that the ratio between these two exercises is 4:1. This means that running for four miles may burn an equal number of calories as one mile of swimming.

However, you also need to keep in mind that while running, you’re putting a lot of pressure on your joints, ankles, and feet. This means that it’s far more likely that you will be able to swim every single day than to run on a daily basis. 

When running, not having the proper equipment (like quality sneakers) may increase the risk of injury. Needless to say, swimmers don’t have this kind of problem.

While swimming, you’re developing your entire body. However, the muscle groups that develop most are the triceps, deltoids, lats, quads, as well as your core. 

Seeing as how the majority of these muscle groups are major ones, it is easy to explain where the incredible calorie consumption is coming from.

Exercises that Improve Your Swimming

Previously, we’ve mentioned the muscles that strengthen as you swim. The stronger they get, the better you are at swimming. 

By following this thread, would doing exercises for these particular muscle groups and strengthening them independently improve your swimming efforts, as well? Of course.

Sure, working out in the gym may not affect your swimming stamina, but doing lateral lunges, leg cradles, pullups, goblet squats, and leg curls will help you become a better swimmer. 

If you already have some stamina and a proper technique, the difference will be noticeable right away.

Most importantly, we started this article to explain how professional swimmers stay in shape. Going to the gym and doing exercises that help improve your swimming will make a massive contribution in this regard, as well. 

The majority of these exercises can be described as strength exercises, which means that you’re getting considerably stronger (and fitter) in the process.

Keep Swimming

While there are a lot of exercises that can help them out become better swimmers, nothing beats actually swimming. This is a specific form of strength and conditioning, and there’s simply no way around it.

You don’t have to go to the public or an athletic pool in order to swim. Due to improvements in the construction technique and building materials, fiberglass swimming pools are more affordable than ever. So, installing one in your own backyard would always be a good idea. 

Is this still an expensive project? Well, it all depends on your viewpoint. For someone who sees this as a lifestyle, it’s always worth the cost. 

This is an angle that you should always take when making an investment – don’t just look at the money. Look at whether you’re getting your money’s worth.

Now, maintaining a regular swimmer’s schedule is also quite important, which raises another question – for how long and how often should you swim? 

A professional swimmer should do so at least five (ideally up to nine) times per week. It’s more than clear how having a pool in your own backyard would make this easier.

A Swimmer’s Diet

Professional swimmers will never put staying in shape as a priority. This simply comes as a side-effect of everything they do. What matters far more is their athletic performance and finding various ways to improve it.

That brings us to our next point – the lifestyle of a swimmer as a professional athlete. Naturally, they’re supposed to avoid alcohol and tobacco, always get a full night’s sleep, and stay properly hydrated (the fact that they spend a lot of time in water simply doesn’t count).

Swimmers are doing a lot of cardio, which means that they need a lot of energy that comes from starchy carbs. This means that they need to eat a lot of bread, rice, pasta, and potatoes. The key thing here is not in the food but its composition and nutrient quality. 

Refined carbs are never the first choice, so whenever they have the option, they go with whole-grain or, at least, integral flour.

Other than this, they need small servings of lean protein on a daily basis. Ideally, this would come from chicken, turkey, eggs, low-fat dairy, and beans. 

Moreover, unlike in some other sports (mostly combat sports, where cutting weight is an integral part of the process), swimmers will benefit significantly from salty food.

Once again, this is not a diet to keep one in shape – it’s there to improve one’s athletic performance. Shaping up comes as a side-effect.

What Does a Swimmer’s Training Look Like?

While everyone knows that swimmers train hard, not a lot of people are familiar with all the peculiarities of this type of training. For instance, a full practice will require a swimmer to swim anywhere between 3 and 8 miles. 

This often depends on the type of practice, the swimmer in question, and even the time of the season. During the preparation period, a trainer wants to push them to their limits, but once the competitions start, the competitors can’t risk being overtrained.

It always starts with a warmup, which involves 5-15 minutes of stretching (outside of the pool) and then a 10-20 minutes of swimming warm-up. 

Then, there is the set stage. You have the pre-set, which helps them set a particular part of their technique (the backstroke, for instance), and you have the main set (the central focus of that day’s workout).

Working on strength and conditioning and working on technique is not the same. It requires a different approach by both the swimmer and the trainer. 

Also, remember that a sizable portion of the training takes place underwater.


At the end of the day, while casual swimmers see this activity as relaxing, it’s a lot of hard work for professional swimmers. 

You can get in shape by doing virtually anything, as long as you’re trying hard enough and applying the right intensity. That’s the secret really. 

Sure, swimming burns a lot of calories by default and helps you build up your endurance, but it’s the effort you put here that counts the most.


Low price, available in multiple styles and colors!