15 Warm-Up Exercises Before Swimming

Starting your swim session with the proper warm-up is more than just a routine; it’s a vital step towards enhancing your performance and ensuring safety in the water. 

This blog provides 15 essential swimming warm-up exercises that prepare your muscles, boost your flexibility, and elevate your heart rate, setting the stage for a more effective and enjoyable swim. 

Whether you are a pro swimmer or just starting out, these warm-up exercises are crafted to prepare both your body and mind for the optimal swimming experience.

Let’s get moving and make every swim session count!

1. Arm Circles For Shoulder Mobility And Blood Flow Enhancement

Begin this warm up exercise before swimming by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, ensuring your posture is upright and your knees slightly bent to maintain balance. 

Hold your arms out to the sides at the height of your shoulders. Begin by doing small circular motions with your arms, slowly expanding the size of the circles as you go.

Continue this motion for about 30 seconds, then reverse the direction for another 30 seconds. 

This exercise helps increase blood flow in your shoulder blades and upper body, preparing your muscles for swimming strokes.

2. Standing Shoulder Stretch To Ease Tension And Promote Circulation

Following the dynamic arm circles, transition into the standing shoulder stretch to further relax your upper body. 

Stand with your feet set shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent. 

Stretch your right arm across your chest and softly pull it closer with your left hand to deepen the stretch.

Hold this position for 15 to 20 seconds to stretch the shoulder blades and upper arm. Repeat the process on the other side. 

This stretch enhances blood flow and flexibility in the shoulders, which is crucial for effective swimming movements.

3. High Knees To Boost Lower Body Activation And Blood Flow

High knees are an excellent exercise to activate your lower body and increase blood circulation. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your lower legs straight. 

Start by jogging on the spot, raising your knees towards your chest while swiftly switching between legs. 

Move your arms in coordination with your legs to activate your entire body. 

Keep up this warm up exercise for 30 to 60 seconds at a lively pace to enhance blood circulation throughout your body, energising and preparing you for swimming.

4. Squats For Lower Body Strength 

Begin by positioning your feet shoulder-width apart, with your toes slightly turned outward. Keep your back straight and stretch your arms forward for balance. 

Slowly allow your knees and lower your body as though you’re settling into a chair, making sure that your thighs are parallel to the floor to keep your chest lifted and your core engaged.

Press through your heels to return to the starting position. 

Perform this warm-up exercise for about 15 repetitions to strengthen your legs and core, which is vital for propelling you through the water during swimming.

5. Lunges For Leg Flexibility And Stability 

Stand straight with your feet together. Step forward significantly with your right leg, bending both knees to lower your body until your right thigh is level with the ground and your left knee almost reaches the floor. 

Make sure your right knee remains directly over your ankle and doesn’t go beyond your toes.

Push off your right heel to return to the starting position. Alternate legs, and perform 10 lunges on each side. This exercise enhances leg flexibility and stability, preparing you for efficient swimming motions.

6. Butterfly Stretches To Increase Flexibility 

Sit on the ground with your knees bent and the bottoms of your feet pressed together. 

Hold your feet with your hands and use your elbows to softly press your knees towards the ground. 

Maintain a straight back as you hold this position for about 30 seconds. 

This stretch focuses on the hips and inner thighs, which are vital for swimming, particularly in strokes such as the butterfly. 

Incorporating this stretch into your warm-up routine is crucial for enhancing flexibility and minimising the risk of injury while swimming.

7. Plank Holds For Core Strengthening

Begin by lying face down on a mat. Elevate yourself onto your forearms and toes, maintaining a straight line from your shoulders to your heels. 

Activate your core, glutes, and legs to ensure your hips neither sag nor rise too much.

Maintain this pose for 30 to 60 seconds, focusing on steady breathing. 

This static hold is an excellent warm up exercise before swimming, strengthening the core muscles essential for stabilising your body in the water.

8. Tuck Jumps To Increase Cardiovascular Warm-Up and Agility

Begin in a standing position with your feet and shoulder-width apart. 

Bend your knees slightly and jump up powerfully, bringing your knees towards your chest as high as possible while wrapping your arms around your shins at the peak of the jump. 

Land softly and spring up again quickly. 

Perform this exercise for 10 to 15 repetitions.

 Tuck jumps are a dynamic warm up before swimming that increases your heart rate and enhances your agility, making it easier to perform quick and efficient movements in the water.

9. Shadow Boxing To Boost Upper Body 

Stand with your feet hip-width apart and knees slightly bent. 

Begin by throwing punches into the air, alternating between your left and right arms, and incorporating jabs, crosses, and uppercuts. 

Keep your movements quick and light, focusing on rotation through your torso to engage your core. 

Continue for 1-2 minutes. 

Shadowboxing is a beneficial warm-up exercise before swimming by increasing blood flow to the arms and upper body, which helps with strokes and maintains endurance in the pool.

10. Forward Leg Swings To Loosen Hip Flexors

Stand next to a wall or a sturdy object for support and face sideways. 

Keep your left foot planted firmly on the ground and your lower leg straight. 

Swing your right leg forward and backward in a controlled motion, slowly increasing the range of each swing. 

Perform 15 swings and switch to the other leg, ensuring your upper leg moves freely to stretch and warm up the hip flexors. 

This exercise is perfect for addressing tight hip flexors, which are common among swimmers.

11. Side Leg Raises To Strengthen The Upper Leg And Warm Up the Lower Leg

Lie on your left side, keeping your lower leg straight and your upper leg stacked directly above it. 

Rest your head on your left arm and place your right hand in front of you for stability. 

Slowly lift your right leg comfortably, then lower it back down without letting it touch your left leg. 

Perform 10 to 15 repetitions before switching to the other side. 

This exercise targets the muscles in the upper leg. Also, it helps warm up the lower leg, preparing you for swimming movements.

12. Bridge With Goal Post Squeeze For Core And Lower Body Warm-Up

Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, about hip-width apart.

Raise your arms to the sides with elbows bent in a “goal post” position. 

As you lift your hips to form a straight line from your shoulders to your knees, squeeze your shoulder blades together and hold the position. Ensure your hip flexors are engaged but not strained. 

Hold this bridge position for about 20 to 30 seconds, focusing on engaging your core and squeezing your glutes. 

This exercise serves as a warm-up stretch and strengthens the lower back, glutes, and hamstrings, key areas for powerful swimming.

13. In-Water Arm Rotations To Improve Shoulder Mobility

Start in the pool’s shallow end, standing with water up to your shoulders. 

Extend your arms to the sides at shoulder height, and make slow, controlled circular motions with your hands. 

Begin with small circles, gradually increasing the size as your shoulders loosen up. 

Perform the rotations for 30 seconds in one direction, then switch to the opposite direction for another 30 seconds. 

This warm-up exercise before swimming is ideal for activating the shoulder joints and muscles, enhancing flexibility and reducing the risk of injury.

14. Pool Wall Kicks For Lower Body Activation 

Position yourself facing the pool wall and grasp the edge with both hands. 

Stretch your body into a streamlined shape with your legs extended behind you, floating in the water. 

Start performing flutter kicks, concentrating on making your kicks rapid and compact against the water’s resistance.

Continue for 1-2 minutes to get your blood flowing and your legs warmed up. 

This exercise warms up the lower body and helps simulate the leg movements used in freestyle and backstroke, making it an effective warm up before swimming in the pool.

15. Shallow Water Walking To Engage Multiple Muscle Groups

In the shallow part of the pool, walk from one side to the other with water at waist height. Focus on lifting your knees high and using your arms in a natural walking motion. 

The resistance of the water will add intensity to the exercise, helping to warm up your legs, core, and upper body simultaneously. 

Perform this for 3-5 minutes to ensure all major muscle groups are activated and ready for a swim session. 

This warm-up exercise before swimming is excellent for beginners and experienced swimmers, providing a gentle yet effective way to prepare the body for the swimming demands.

Conclusion About Warm-Up Exercises Before Swimming

Warm-up exercises before swimming are not just a preliminary routine but crucial for a safe and effective swimming session. By integrating these 15 targeted swimming warm up exercises, swimmers of all levels can enhance their flexibility and reduce the risk of injury. 

At SwimHub, we prioritise your safety and swimming success. Our expert-led swimming programmes, designed for all ages, incorporate these essential warm-ups to ensure every swimmer is fully prepared and confident in the water. 

Join us at SwimHub, where we make every swim session safer and more enjoyable!

Frequently Asked Questions About Swimming Warm-Up Exercises

How Should You Warm Up Before Swimming?

A proper warm up before swimming should include both dryland and in-water exercises. Start with dynamic stretches such as arm circles and leg swings to loosen your muscles and joints. Follow this with cardiovascular activities like jumping jacks or high knees. Once in the water, begin with gentle swimming or water walking to adapt your body to the water gradually. This combination of warm up exercise before swimming ensures your muscles are prepped, your joints are mobilised, and you’re ready to swim efficiently and safely.

What Are The Benefits Of Warming Up Before Swimming?

Warming up before swimming increases muscle flexibility, boosts circulation, and helps prevent injuries. At SwimHub, our coaches emphasise these routines to ensure every swimmer begins their session safely and effectively.

Can Warm-Up Exercises Improve My Swimming Technique?

Yes, swimming warm up exercises can enhance your technique by activating the muscles used in swimming and increasing joint mobility. SwimHub integrates specific warm-up exercises that target skill improvement for swimmers of all ages.

How Do Warm-Ups Prevent Injuries In Swimming?

Warm-ups increase muscle blood flow, making them more elastic and less prone to tears and strains. SwimHub’s classes start with guided warm-ups to minimise the risk of injuries and ensure a safe swimming experience.