A Complete Guide to Swim Spa Exercise, Workouts and Aquatic Fitness

By Jon Filson

Hydropool Hot Tubs and Swim Spas

Published Apr 29, 2024

People buy swim spas for all sorts of reasons. Some find them cheaper than pools. Some want to train for an ironman year-round, without leaving their backyard. Some want a place for their kids to play.

We get all types of customers at our Hydropool retailers, but increasingly what we are being asked about is swim spa fitness, and how to use a swim spa for exercise.

Increasingly, we have found that customers coming in are looking to see what else they can do in the swim spa when it comes to fitness. To that end, we launched a 21-Day Swim Spa Fitness Challenge that you can do once you have a swim spa, and that is well worth taking a look at if you’re a prospective buyer, to see the range of aquatic fitness options available to you.  

It’s also why we wanted to write this article. Not everyone is comfortable coming into a store and discussing swim spa weight loss and fitness plans with a total stranger. We can respect that, but at the same time we wanted to let you know what a swim spa can do for you, since they are still relatively new for most people (if they are brand new for you, we encourage you to check out this article: “What is a Swim Spa?”)

In this article, we’re going to enlist the help of Jodie Becker, a triathlon, mom and mental health advocate who uses her swim spa as both a place to exercise and a place to play with her toddler Max.

Jodie hosted our 21-part series, and contributes her fitness expertise in developing our swim spas. We’re going to cover:

  • What are the main benefits of training in a swim spa? (can you lose weight?)
  • Is aquatic fitness is just for older people?
  • What is the best exercise you can do in a swim spa?
  • Workouts to avoid in swim spas.
  • And whether you can actually build muscle using water.

If you’re ready, let’s jump in!



What are the Main Benefits of Exercising in a Swim Spa?

There’s one huge clear benefit of aquatic fitness: “You can build strength and aerobic capacity in a swim spa” Jodie explains, “without the pressure that dryland training puts on your muscles and joints.” 

In short, it’s a workout that shouldn’t create a lot of additional pain. Will it help you lose weight? A swim spa workout can be part of a fitness and overall approach that is focused on weight loss, if that’s what you want to do. 

Jodie, however, usually takes a different approach to aquatic fitness. It’s not about weight and body shape as the first priority. Instead, that’s the benefit of a life well-lived. 

“I try not to focus on helping people change their body, and how their body looks,” says Jodie, who also works as a personal trainer. “Instead, I focus on teaching people to move, feel well, and enjoy exercise. A toned body is often a consequence that people enjoy from living this lifestyle.”

Is Aquatic Fitness Just for Older People?

Having fun and working out don’t always go together, but there’s something about vigorously splashing around in a swim spa that makes the experience a bit less of a grind than strapping the sneakers on one more time at the gym. 

Aquatic fitness is often used with senior citizens because it’s a way of staying in shape without stressing joints. But why should they get all the fun and the workouts too? Athletes of all types and ages can benefit from working out in a swim spa. 

Using a swim spa regularly to swim or to work out in is a big step toward a healthy lifestyle, no matter what age or stage you’re at. 

“We have proven, over and over, that aquatic fitness is for athletes at all levels,” Jodie says. “Historically, people who are lower in mobility or who are recovering from injuries have utilized in-water fitness because of its low-impact nature. But that doesn’t mean it has to be low intensity. There are many ways to build strength, challenge anaerobic capacity and get fit in the water.” 

What is the Single Best Fitness Exercise in a Swim Spa?

Well, if you have to pick just one, it’s swimming. Not just in a swim spa. But in your life. 

“Ultimately swimming provides the body with an incredible cardiovascular workout. But swimming gets boring and repetitive,” Jodie says. “That’s why we continually put out new and unique workouts to keep people excited about using their swim spa to stay fit, be mentally well and have fun.” 

A major benefit of swimming is that you can do it your entire life. “Swimming may be the perfect exercise,” Harvard says, in this article promoting the activity

Harvard also said:

  • Swimming exercises all the muscles of the body
  • Improves heart health
  • Helps better brain function
  • Has less strain on the body and joints

Water’s natural buoyancy removes stress from the joints, allowing you to focus on your muscle groups. At the same time, surrounding your muscles in water provides continuous resistance as you work out. You’ll use muscles you didn’t even know you had in the water!

Can You Actually Build Muscle by Working Out In a Swim Spa?

Yes. There is no question you can build muscle, both lean, long muscle or bulk. Working out in water can create strength and we have a couple of examples here that we can show you. 

  • Listen to MMA fighter George St.Pierre explain why he uses water workouts by clicking here.
  • Hydropool has a fitness kit made for swim spa use, which has elements designed to help with muscle development.

“Water is actually very challenging to move through,” Jodie says, “and if you add the resistance of the equipment, you are guaranteed to build strength.”

If you want to see this kind of workout in action from our 21 Day Challenge, watch the video below!

What’s a Workout You Wouldn’t Want to Attempt in a Swim Spa?

Be careful in there! Working out in a swim spa does come with a one big common-sense suggestion.

“Never bring equipment that is meant for dry land into the pool,” Jodie advises. “The fitness kit and specific aquatic gear is built to utilize the properties of water to build strength, increase flexibility and improve mobility.”

Is Aquatic Fitness Right For Me? 

Aquatic fitness is a great workout for anyone. It’s especially good for people concerned about joint pain or anyone who wants low-impact workouts. But it doesn’t need to be confined to just those people. Aquatic fitness and swimming in particular is a life-long gift, and one of the healthiest choices you can make when it comes to your overall wellness.

We wrote this article because people often have questions about how to get in shape in a Hydropool swim spa. They want to know if they buy one how they are going to be able to use it and whether it’s just for swimming. It’s not, and we want people to know that too. Equipped properly, it’s a home gym built in the water, just for you. 

Did we miss something? If you have more questions about aquatic fitness or working out, then don’t hesitate to reach out to a Hydropool dealer.

To find the closest one near you, click here.  

Want to keep reading? Consider our guide to hot tubs and swim spas.

Want to know more about swim spa pricing. We have you covered.

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