30 Minute Pool Workout For Beginners


This water aerobic exercise list is easy to follow and fun! This is a 30 minute pool work out that is scalable for beginners to higher fitness levels. This workout emphasizes balance and cardio. I recommend trying this workout in a lap lane (if you can claim your space!), and intended to be ideally submerged to your chest through the entire workout. I have created a free water aerobics downloadable pdf (scroll to bottom) to make it easier.

One of my favorite places to open water swim is in Door County, WI at Peninsula State Park. I believe that water exercise is so beneficial for the mind, body and spirit. I teach aquatics now at my local recreation center in Silverthorne, Colorado.

Claim your lap lane! Make sure to print out your PDF to take with you. Each Exercise is intended to be done moving forward down the lap lane.

Warm Up for 10 Minutes:

  • Open palm water walk
  • Open palm jog
  • Lunge one leg forward & twist with long arms
  • High knees
  • Glute (butt) kicks

Balance and Cardio Workout (repeat whole set 4 – 8x depending on your own goals!):

  • “One, two, three, hop & hold”, hop foot to foot forward on the the third strike balance for 3 seconds. Use core and back muscles to keep you stable.
  • Jog fast + Open Palm + Jog Backwards, Jog one length of the pool forward, and one backward. Keep palms open and moving for resistance.
  • Bunny Long Jumps, as you start your jump actively pull knees up to surface and push them forward to the ground. Repeat.
  • Lateral (Sideways) Walking, keep shoulder and hips facing long edge of pool. Sweep legs apart and together like a slow jumping jack.
  • Alternating Toe Touch, sweep one toe to surface of water and reach with opposite hand. Pull the leg back down, and switch. This is a big hamstring stretch on one leg, and balance & stability on the other.
  • Aquatic Sprint, as fast as you possibly can sprint to end of the lap lane. Keep palms open (like you are giving the end of the pool a high five).

Warm Down for 5 Minutes:

  • Warm down water walk one lap
  • Water hula hoops – just like it sounds, plant feet and twist hips through water
  • Hip circles – balance on one foot, and circle the leg in the hip socket 8 times each side. Pull the knee up to 90 degrees to start the circle.
  • Add any other mobility work you like!

Static Stretch 5 Minutes:

  • Figure 4 Glute Stretch, cross one ankle over the opposite leg (quad) and squat down for a glute stretch. Repeat on other leg.
  • Hamstring Stretch, flex toes and stretch arms forward hinging at the hips over one leg, then switch.
  • Calf Stretch, gently press flexed foot up against pool wall to stretch calf, switch feet.
  • Stretch upper body: consider the following; pectoral stretch, arm across the body, cat & cow (upper back) & neck circles.

30 minutes working out in the pool is an effective method for cardio & mental health benefits. The instability in the water is a powerful tool for gaining postural core tone and strength.

If you enjoyed this work out please connect with me. I am working on my PDF downloads, and brainstorming ways to get better photos.

Happy Swimming – Emily


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