When people think of HIIT, they usually think of high impact exercise such as sprinting, but swimming is also a great way to lose body fat especially for those of you who are not able to perform high impact exercise (such as running or jumping) due to injury or joint problems. Swimming allows you to train at high intensities utilising most of your major muscle groups without the impact on your bones and joints. An added benefit is that when exercise is performed under water, your body uses 12 times more resistance than it would if you were to perform the same exercise on dry land, so is great for those of you who want to increase endurance and strengthen your muscles. Combine that with High Intensity Interval Training and you have a recipe for success!
HIIT Swimming Workout
Perform 3-4 intervals of each of the following exercises (this means going as hard and as fast as you possibly can for the working interval). This should take roughly 20-25 minutes to complete. Keep in mind, this is meant to be HARD. The intervals are meant to leave you breathless. If it doesn’t then you need to push harder. HIIT workouts can be performed 2-3 times per week on alternate days.
5 minute warm up swim
1. Breast stroke
2. Treading Water
4. Doggy Paddle
5 minute cool down swim
Peform 2 sets of 20 in the water holding on to the side of the pool
Hanging leg raises
Straight leg hanging leg raises
Interval Recommendations (this will vary depending on your fitness level)
Beginner: 30 seconds high intensity : 90 seconds rest
Intermediate: 30 seconds high intensity : 60 seconds rest
Advanced: 30 seconds high intensity : 30 seconds rest or 60:60
How high should my heart rate go when doing HIIT?
You want to aim to get your heart rate to at least 85% of your max (for beginners) or 90% of your max (for intermediate-advanced).
How do I calculate my Max Heart Rate (MHR)?
220 – (your age) = Max Heart Rate in beats per minute
Max Heart Rate x .85 = 85% of your MHR
Max Heart Rate x .90 = 90% of your MHR
For example: My max heart rate is 196 beats per minute (220-my age)
Because I have been doing HIIT for quite some time, I aim to get my heart rate to at least 90% of my max.
90% of my MHR is 176 beats per minute.
So for each 30 second interval I aim to get my heart rate to at least 176 beats per minute. I monitor this with my heart rate monitor, but it can be done by taking your pulse.