Swimming: A Great HIIT Option

With spring (maybe) approaching, I’ve been doing a “spring clean” of my go-to workouts, and also trying to figure out ways to incorporate a fitness trend I’ve been seeing more and more in my news feed – High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). Maybe you’ve heard of it?

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

The concept is to complete an interval of high intensity, followed by a period of rest/recovery, and then repeating several times. For example, doing a round of several strength training exercises for 45 seconds each, and then resting for 15-30 seconds before repeating, or alternating between a sprint and then walking for recovery. This type of training has a multitude of benefits, including strengthening your heart and improving endurance. Another benefit that makes it a great option for busy people (moms included) is that you can fit in an awesome workout in less time, compared to the traditional steady state cardio of slogging away on the elliptical or treadmill for 45 minutes. This is ideal for me, as I have a limited time between finishing up work and then picking up my daughter from daycare. However, with my current foot injury, high-impact options like running or plyometric exercises are off the table for me. My solution: Swimming, which isn’t commonly discussed as a HIIT option.

Swimming for HIIT

Swimming has always been the workout I turn to when I’m injured because it is so low impact and joint friendly, but the seemingly endless back and forth laps of freestyle or breast stroke can be boring. Getting into the sport of swimming can also be tough for beginners or those who just don’t know how to get a good workout in from swimming.  

Here’s the workout I’ve been trying for the past few weeks to incorporate more HIIT workouts into my schedule! Check with your doctor before making any fitness changes!

Kick boards are a pretty inexpensive and useful swimming tool; I keep one in my swim bag, but I’ve found that most pools will have some available for use.

Catch-up drill consists of swimming a modified freestyle with always keeping one arm out in front, and then the alternate arm “catches up” and becomes the one in the front. I mostly use it switch things up, but it can help improve technique.

Places to Swim Laps in Madison

There are several pools/fitness facilities in Madison where you can swim laps using a daily pass or punch card, without having to make a long-term commitment. Here are a few:


Madison College Swimming Pool

Swim West Swim School


Leave a comment below with some of your favorite places to swim!


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