How To Swim Laps In A Small Pool

Benefits of Swimming Laps in a Small Pool

Swimming laps is a great form of exercise that offers numerous benefits for swimmers of all levels. While many people associate lap swimming with large pools found at fitness centers or community complexes, there are actually several advantages to swimming laps in a small pool. In this article, we will explore these benefits and provide tips on how to make the most out of your workout in a limited space.

Efficient Use of Space

One major advantage of swimming laps in a small pool is the efficient use of space. Backyard pools or smaller private pools may not offer the same expanse as full-length lap pools, but they can still provide enough room for an effective swim session. With proper technique and organization, you can maximize your strokes without constantly hitting walls or turning around too frequently.

Convenient for Those with Limited Access to Larger Pools

Not everyone has easy access to larger pools or live near facilities that offer lap lanes. For individuals who want to incorporate swimming into their fitness routine but do not have access to public or commercial-sized pools, using a small pool becomes highly convenient. By utilizing available resources like backyard or hotel pools, you can maintain regular swim practices even if you don’t have immediate access to larger facilities.

Provides a Challenging Workout

Contrary to what some may believe, swimming laps in a small pool does not mean compromising on the intensity and effectiveness of your workout. In fact, due to limited space and increased resistance from water displacement against the walls, smaller pool sizes can actually make your workout more challenging than normal swimming sessions.

By pushing off from each wall with maximum effort and maintaining consistent pacing throughout your swim sets, you engage core muscles while also improving endurance and strength training. Additionally, because turns are more frequent in smaller spaces compared to longer lengths seen in traditional competitive settings such as community pools or competition venues; incorporating drills targeting different muscle groups becomes easier.

Equipment Needed for Swimming Laps in a Small Pool

To enhance your swimming experience in a small pool, it is important to have the right equipment. Here are some essential items you will need:

Swim Cap

A swim cap helps reduce drag and keeps your hair out of your face while swimming. It also helps protect your hair from chlorine or saltwater damage.


Goggles are crucial for clear vision underwater, allowing you to focus on proper technique without straining or getting water into your eyes.

Swim Fins

Swim fins provide additional propulsion and help strengthen leg muscles during kick movements. They can be particularly useful when swimming laps in a smaller space as they allow swimmers to generate more power with each stroke.


A kickboard is an excellent tool for isolating and strengthening leg muscles. By holding onto the board while kicking across the pool, swimmers can work on their kick technique and build lower body strength.

Pull Buoy

A pull buoy is placed between the legs, providing extra buoyancy and allowing swimmers to focus solely on their upper body technique during drills or workouts. This equipment aids in developing upper body strength as well as improving body position in the water.

Resistance Bands

Resistance bands add another dimension of resistance training that simulates water resistance without requiring access to larger pools equipped with specialized training tools like paddle systems or belts.
They help target specific muscle groups such as arms (biceps/triceps), shoulders (deltoids), back (latissimus dorsi/rhomboids) & core abdominals / glutes).

Proper Technique for Swimming Laps in a Small Pool

Having proper technique is vital when swimming laps regardless of pool size.Here are key techniques for various strokes:

Freestyle Stroke

  1. Arm Movement: The freestyle stroke involves alternating arm movements where one arm extends forward while simultaneously pushing off against the water using the other arm.
  2. Breathing Technique: Inhale while turning your head to the side during arm recovery and exhale when your face is in the water.
  3. Body Position: Maintain a horizontal body position with slight rotation of your hips and shoulders, allowing for efficient movement through the water.


  1. Arm Movement: Similar to freestyle, backstroke involves alternating arm movements while lying on your back.
  2. Breathing Technique: Breathe by rotating your head from side to side as you extend one arm forward.
  3. Body Position: Keep a straight body line with relaxed neck and core engagement throughout.


  1. Arm Movement: The breaststroke involves a simultaneous movement of both arms starting from an extended position out front, pulling towards chest level then extending them again in preparation for another stroke cycle.
  2. Leg Movement: Legs execute whip-like kicks with heels touching buttocks before propelling forward into glide phase prior to next kick initiation,
  3. Breathing Technique : Inhale during glide phase before initiating arms/legs motion & breathe out as you bring hands together near chest.

Butterfly Stroke

1.Arm Movement : Arms move simultaneously above water while maintaining high elbow catch swim stroke; transitioning from entry point over top parting / clearing surface after propulsion completion at hip level
2.Leg Movements : Dolphin Kick-Consist undulation down entire pool incorporating -fly kick actions that provide optimal balance coupled w up/down leg beat energy flow maximization below surface moments producing effective continuous progressive motion

Tips for Maximizing Your Workout in a Small Pool

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To make the most out of swimming laps in a small pool, consider implementing these tips:

Interval Training

Interval training involves alternating between high-intensity intervals and active recovery periods.These bursts help build endurance & improve overall cardiovascular fitness even if space is limited.It also helps swimmers simulate race pace swimming.

Incorporating Drills

Drills are an excellent way to improve technique and target specific aspects of your stroke. Consider incorporating drills such as one-arm freestyle, sculling, or kicking drills into your workout routine in a small pool.

Using Resistance Bands for Added Challenge

Resistance bands can be attached to the pool deck or a sturdy structure and used during swim workouts.They help increase resistance during movements which further challenges muscles and helps build strength.

Varying Your Strokes to Target Different Muscle Groups

Swimming different strokes not only adds variety to your workouts but also targets different muscle groups. By incorporating breaststroke, backstroke, butterfly stroke alongside freestyle in smaller spaces swimmers work on improving muscle balance throughout their body while enjoying dynamic swim sessions.

Safety Precautions When Swimming Laps in a Small Pool

While swimming laps is generally safe if done correctly, it’s important to take certain precautions when using smaller pools:

Ensuring Proper Water Depth

Make sure that the water depth is suitable for lap swimming; especially if you are diving off starting blocks or doing flip turns at walls .

Clearing the Pool Area of Any Obstacles

Remove any objects from around the pool area that could potentially cause injury while swimming laps.This includes items like toys , floating devices & other obstructions found near water bodies posing risk drowning hazards etc..

Using Caution When Executing Turns

Pay attention while executing turns within limited space as collisions with walls can lead injuries. Practice proper technique by approaching each wall smoothly & initiate turn with minimal disruption through streamline positioning at each push-off stage before resuming regular strokes again after completing legal amount of underwater distance according set guidelines governing various competitive events sanctioned either FINA (International Swimming Federation) or USA Swimming Association- affiliated competitions domestically here USAS .

Maintenance and Care for Your Small Pool

Proper maintenance and care ensure that your small pool remains in good condition for optimal swimming experience. Here are some tips:

Regular Cleaning and Sanitization

Regularly clean your small pool by removing debris and leaves from the water surface. Use a skimmer net or vacuum to remove any dirt or sediment that has settled at the bottom of the pool. Additionally, ensure proper sanitization by regularly testing and balancing chlorine levels.

Checking Water Chemistry and pH Levels

Monitor your small pool’s water chemistry regularly using test strips or liquid kits. Maintain appropriate pH levels between 7.2-7.6 for comfortable swimming while avoiding skin irritation caused by high acidity (low pH) or alkalinity (high pH).

Proper Storage of Equipment

Store your swim equipment properly when not in use to prevent damage and prolong its lifespan.For instance; hang goggles & swim caps away from direct sunlight as prolonged exposure can cause deterioration – especially elastic straps deteriorating over time due UV light degradation effects.


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Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about swimming laps in a small pool:

Q: Can I get an effective cardio workout by swimming laps in a small pool?
A: Yes, you can get an effective cardio workout by swimming laps even in a smaller space, provided you maintain consistent pacing and push yourself during each lap.

Q: How many sessions per week should I aim for when swimming laps?
A: Aim for at least three sessions per week if possible to see improvements in endurance, strength, technique etc..

Q: Can I use resistance bands without attaching them to the deck?
A :Yes! Resistance bands can be used without attachment points as they still provide significant resistance underwater even when just held securely against body , wrists , ankles etc..

Q:Is it safe to dive off starting blocks into my backyard lap pool ?
A : It is important only utilize diving boards / starting blocks if you have sufficient depth meet required safety standards set governing bodies ensuring safety divers .If unsure, consult a professional or local building codes to determine if your pool depth meets regulations.


Swimming laps in a small pool offers numerous benefits, including efficient use of space, convenience for those with limited access to larger pools, and the opportunity for challenging workouts. By incorporating proper technique and utilizing essential equipment such as swim caps, goggles, fins,and resistance bands; swimmers can maximize their workout in smaller spaces. Additionally,tips like interval training ,incorporating drills & varying strokes help target different muscle groups while improving overall fitness level.

Remember to take necessary safety precautions when swimming laps in a small pool by ensuring proper water depth,clearing the area of obstacles , practicing caution during turns,and monitoring heart rate and exertion levels.Finally,maintaining regular cleaning,sanitization,& storage practices ensures that your small pool remains safe,clean & enjoyable.

So go ahead,start incorporating lap swimming into your routine today!


  • Exercises: Physical activities or movements performed to improve swimming technique, strength, endurance, and overall performance.
  • Weeks: A unit of time used to measure the duration of a training program or workout schedule.
  • Paddles: Swimming equipment worn on the hands to increase resistance and enhance upper body strength during swim laps.
  • Competitive swimmers: Athletes who participate in competitive swimming events and follow specific training regimens to excel in their sport.
  • Lane: A designated section of a pool where swimmers can swim laps without interference from others. Lanes are typically marked by lines on the bottom of the pool or floating ropes.
  • Minutes: A unit of time used to measure the duration of an exercise or workout session in swimming laps.
  • Spot: Refers to a specific location within a pool where an individual aims while performing exercises or lap swimming.
  • Backyard pool sets/workouts: Training sessions specifically designed for small backyard pools, usually with limited space and facilities compared to larger competition pools. These workouts focus on maximizing efficiency and utilizing available resources effectively.
  • Competition pool: Typically refers to standard-sized pools used for competitive swimming events that meet certain specifications set by governing bodies such as FINA (Fédération Internationale de Natation).

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Mike Hunter

Mike is the owner of the local pool shop. He's been in the business for over 20 years and knows everything there is to know about pools. He's always happy to help his customers with whatever they need, whether it's advice on pool maintenance or choosing the right chemicals. He's also a bit of a pool expert, and is always happy to share his knowledge with anyone who's interested.

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