Can You Build Your Muscle Tone Through Swimming?




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Swimming is an excellent exercise that has numerous benefits. It is a low-impact exercise, but it is great for building up a healthy body. Low-impact exercises are good for people who have just started to work out and suitable for people who cannot do an extreme workout. Now, you must be wondering, does swimming build muscle tone?

Although swimming itself is typically thought of as a low-impact exercise, it requires the use of a large volume of the muscles in your body. As a result, swimmers burn massive calories and this makes the muscles appear and get that toned look.

In this article, I am going to talk about different swimming exercises and how they impact different muscles of the human body. So, if you are thinking about starting a regular swimming exercise for building up your muscles, then keep on reading. 

How Swimming Affects Your Body?

To build up your muscles, you have to stretch and pull them so that they can expand. Regular workouts like running and weight lifting are very effective to tone your muscles.

But they stretch specific muscles of your body. Moreover, some exercises put a lot of pressure on your joints. 

On the other hand, swimming puts less pressure on your joints but stretches more muscles. The muscles of a body build up when there is resistance.

Young man pushing up out of the water - post on Can You Build Your Muscle Tone Through Swimming
Young man active leisure – swimming pool

When someone swims in the water, the water creates that resistance. The resistance level of water is much higher than the air. When you move your body in water, you have to put a lot of pressure on your entire body. 

However, it takes time to build muscle tone by swimming. But it is proved that building muscles through swimming is much faster than cycling and running.

Moreover, swimming covers a lot more muscles at once. You use your hands, legs, and core for swimming in the water. Hence, it is obvious that muscles will also build up.   

For example, you can see the professional swimmers. They are often lean built, but that does not mean they do not have muscle mass. The constant movement of your body like pushing and pulling of the muscles can give you a toned body and great fitness. 

Swimming Styles and Drills That Tones Body Muscle 

You can build up your muscles by practicing different swimming styles. But if you want to make it faster, then you can also try some exercise in the water.

Remember, it takes patients and time to achieve a goal. Practice swimming 20-30 minutes for 4 days a week and you will see changes in your body.  

The swimming styles and strokes will affect the muscles of almost the entire body, but the muscles might slowly and gradually build up.

However, if you want to build some specific muscles of your body, there are many exercises to help you. 

So, here are some swimming exercises you can do to build up your body.

Warming Up

You have to prepare yourself before starting swimming or any other exercise in the water. So, start with a warm-up exercise like stretching your limbs.

After that, get into the water and swim normally for a while. This way, you can prepare yourself for working up your muscles. 

Freestyle and Backstroke Swimming Drills

After warming up, begin with freestyles swimming and backstrokes. These swimming styles need a constant movement of your arms, necks, trunk, and legs.

Keep swimming until you feel pressure on your body. Take rest when you need it and start again. Thus, the muscles around these body parts are stretched and pulled. 

You will notice visible changes in your biceps, triceps, rear-end muscles, back muscles, neck muscles, calf muscle, and foot muscles after a few weeks of practice.  

Butterfly Stroke 

Like backstroke, butterfly stroke is a very powerful stroke. When you make butterfly strokes, this stroke needs the use of quads, pecs, shoulders, biceps, triceps, and calves of your body. 

The core abdominal muscles and lower back muscles are also stretched when you lift your body from water and breath. The leg muscles (Glutes) are also involved as you swim like a mermaid or a dolphin. 


Compared to the other strokes of swimming, breaststrokes are more effective for building up the chest muscles. Besides chest muscles, the stroke also helps tone the muscles of thighs, triceps, upper back, lower legs, and hamstrings. The strokes are also great for your heart and lungs. 

Water Jogging or Walking

It is similar to running on the ground, yet it is still different. On the ground, you have to hit your legs on a hard surface. So, it puts a lot of pressure on your joints. On the other hand, when you water jog, you will not feel much pressure on the joints. 

Moreover, there will be more resistance in the water than the ground. As a result, you have to give more effort to move your legs, arms, and core. You will feel the stretch and pull of your muscles when you do this workout.

Keep the water below your neck, and your back has to be straight. Make sure to run as hard and fast as you can to feel the pressure.

Water Kicking Drills

Want to build up the lower part of the body or strengthen your leg muscles? Then try some water kicking drills like frog kick, flutter kick, and butterfly kick. Use a kickboard to support you while you do these drills. 

For doing flutter kicks you have to extend your legs straight back, keeping them in line with the body. Then start picking them up and down. These kicks work effectively for the abdominal muscles, and tone your abs. 

Frog kicks are best for toning your inner thighs and rear muscles (Glutes). To do the exercise, you have to jump in the water just like a frog. Bend your knees, bring your feet together and jump as far as you can. 

Butterfly kicks are much more like moving like a dolphin or a mermaid. You need to bring your legs and feet together like a fishtail and use your hips to move your legs. This workout will tone your inner, external, and rectus abdominal muscles. You can also get a six-pack with these kicks.  

Cool Down Your Body after Workout

Remember to combine various types of swimming styles and exercise when you are in the pool. After working out for about 20 or 30 minutes, you should cool down your muscles by swimming about 400 yards.

This will help you to fix the tiredness of your body and give the muscles a little bit of ease. 

Other Benefits of Swimming

Swimming is one of the best exercises for your body. Swimming will help you to tone your muscles, no doubt, but it does more than that.

Regular swimming will improve your posture. People are now spending more and more time in front of their computers or smartphones. So, a lot of pressure builds upon the neck and shoulders.

As a result, many people suffer from neck pain and back pain. Since swimming stretches the muscles of these parts of the body, it relieves the pain as well. 

Secondly, swimming improves your breathing and heart rate. The practice of breathing air during swimming practices will help you to increase your lung capacity.

Also, your heart will pump more blood in your entire body as swimming is an effective form of cardiovascular exercise.  

Apart from physical benefits, swimming is also fruitful for your mental health. Swimming is entertaining, and people love to swim just for fun. It alleviates stress and makes people calm. 

Final Thoughts on Does Swimming Build Muscle Tone

So, “Does swimming build muscle tone?” the answer is yesNow that you understand the health benefits and different techniques of swimming to gain a toned physique, I hope your interest in swimming has peaked.

If you want to track your efforts in the pool you can look at the Swimmo that we reviewed on this post, it can help you get better results and track your workouts to help you know if you are getting stronger and faster.

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