How to Warm Up Prior to Swimming: The Best Ways to Prepare


Warming up is important before you start swimming. This prepares your body for an intense physical activity. It helps in the delivery of oxygen to the muscle groups and regulates breathing. It also increases your body temperature, minimizing the likelihood of an injury. It makes the muscles supple and improves efficiency. Warming up also increases your energy, and hence, you won’t easily feel tired.

If you want to learn how to warm up prior to swimming, keep on reading and learn from the tips we’ll share. The proper warming up techniques is important to fuel your movement once you are in the water.

A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Warm Up Prior to Swimming

Getting ready to swim? Take note of the things mentioned below to prepare your muscles and warm up before you dive in. Begin with land-based exercises.

1. Arm and Shoulder Exercises

These exercises are important because they get the blood flowing. It stretches the arms and the shoulders, which are two of the main parts of the body that will be moving a lot when you are swimming.

  • Raise your right hand straight behind your head and point your elbow up. At this point, your hand should be at your back.
  • Raise your left hand and grab your right elbow.
  • Pull the right elbow inward with the use of your left hand.
  • Maintain this position for a few seconds and repeat in the opposite direction.

The straight arm swing is another crucial exercise for your routine. Here’s how you can do it properly:

  • Stand straight. Put your dominant leg forward in such a way that it will be about shoulder-width apart from the other leg.
  • Bend your knees slightly and lower your head. Put your forearm on the knee that is in a forward position.
  • Turn the opposite arm in a full circle.
  • Repeat on the other arm. Do this exercise at least 25 times.

Now that you are done with your arms, it is now time to move to your shoulders. This routine is called the wall press, which will be working out your front shoulder.

  • Stand straight near a wall. Touch the wall with your right hand at the same height as your shoulder. Press your palm on the wall with your thumb up.
  • Bend the right elbow slightly.
  • Rotate your body slowly to the left as you move facing the opposite direction of the wall.
  • Hold the position for a few seconds and repeat this on the other side.

2. Leg Exercises

Aside from the arms and shoulders, you will also need to work on your legs. Take note of the steps briefly mentioned below for doing the hamstring streamline stretch.

  • Find a place where you can sit. Extend your right leg straight and bend the other leg inward in such a way that your left foot will be touching your right leg.
  • Raise your two arms above the head with two hands touching each other. Keep your back straight and slowly use the arms to reach your right foot. Keep your back straight and maintain your position for ten seconds.
  • Repeat this exercise five times and do it again on the other leg.

Take this exercise to the next level and do the high hurdle streamline stretch.

  • Find a place where you can sit. Extend your right leg in a straight position. Bend your left leg in such a way that it is outward. This is the opposite of the leg position in the exercise above.
  • Raise your arms straight above the head and keep your hands together. While keeping your arms and your back straight, bend slowly so that your hands will touch your right foot.
  • While bending down, hold the position for about ten seconds.
  • Repeat the exercise five times before doing it on the other leg.

3. Back Exercises

Especially during backstroke and freestyle swimming, you will be turning from one side to the other. You will be using your back muscles a lot, which makes it important to exercise your back. Below is a quick guide on how to do the model pose, which will be great for working your laterals.

  • Sit comfortably on the floor. Stretch your legs and keep your back straight.
  • While keeping your right leg straight, slowly bend the left leg, cross it to the right leg, and touch the floor with your left foot.
  • Position your right elbow diagonally above the left bent leg.
  • Twist the torso and push your leg.
  • Maintain this position for a few seconds and switch sides.

To work on your lower back and hips, the child’s pose will help. To do this popular yoga pose, take note of the steps mentioned below:

  • Assume a kneeling position in such a way that your shins will be comfortably touching the floor. As you get to this position, keep your back straight.
  • Keep your legs close while your thighs are resting on the calves.
  • Raise your two arms and slowly bend until your forehead in on the ground.
  • Hold the position and repeat.

Pro Tips

Aside from the exercises mentioned above, keep in mind these tips to help you warm up before you start swimming.

  • Do not be in a rush. While you might be excited to get in the water, prepare your body. This means that you have to start early so that you will have plenty of time to complete the exercises mentioned above.
  • Stay as relaxed as possible. Your warm-up exercises will be useless if you are pre-occupied with the thought of being in the pool.
  • After finishing your floor exercises, take the time to get used to the feeling of being in the water. This means that you should also do a couple of warm-up exercises once you get on the pool. One of the best things that you can do is to swim for a few minutes and practice proper breathing before you do the main lap.
  • Stretching is not just meant to be done prior to swimming. After swimming, take the time to do a couple of stretching exercises. This will give the body the chance to recover. 


At this point, we hope that you learned a thing or two when it comes to how to warm up prior to swimming. From your legs to your shoulders to your arms, you must stretch and exercise. It will help to prepare your body for the demands of the physical activity where you are about to engage in.

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