The “Warm Up”

What is the proper way to warm up for a swim session? An effective warm-up is essential for a productive, injury mitigation and successful workout. A warm-up, whether for a practice or race is used to prepare your body to give you the output you desire. In addition to mental set up for a successful session or race. 

Below are a few suggestions to incorporate into your next swim warm-up.

Quality: A warm-up is governed by feel not time or distance. Depending on a number of variables such as fatigue, training phase, sleep, illness, your warm-up needs can change. You need to listen to your body as you start each session.  

Technique: Begin every warm-up with easy swimming. Not to be confused with sloppy swimming.  Easy swimming is relaxed and has strong technique. Focus on one aspect of your stroke as you warm up, slowly moving to other areas. Don’t worry about your speed or others around you. A warm-up is unique to each individual.

Easy: Once you have found a rhythm, you can feel yourself swimming through the water effortlessly. This is the sweet spot where speed can be built from. Once you find this rhythm focus on the parts that feel good so you can replicate in a later swim. 

Build gradually: One you have found that easy rhythm your body should start to feel warm (elevated heart rate and blood flow) and responsive. Before you start into hard efforts do a few 25’s of builds (easy start hard finish). Remember your technique is critical on these builds too. If you cannot change speeds quickly, you may need a bit more time warming-up. 


Sometimes on race day a swim warm-up is not feasible. Below are a few dryland warm-ups that can be incorporated:

  • Leg swings to open up the hips (forward and back and side to side). Use a wall for balance if needed.
  • Wall Angels. Click here to see an earlier post
  • One arm circles to warm up the shoulders. Then do both arm circles.
  • Swinging your arms from side to side.

Incorporate these elements into your swim to lessen the incident of injury and push your swimming to the next level.

Happy Swimming

LYNX Crew.