Can I Tone My Arms by Swimming?

Can I Tone My Arms by Swimming?

Swimming is an aerobic form of exercise that offers many fitness-related benefits, whether you swim at the gym or at home in your own custom outdoor pool. One way it does this is by targeting many of the muscles in the body in a way that’s less stressful yet still effective. If your primary goal is to tone your arms, this is also something you can do with your swimming routine. Here’s how and what you’ll want to keep in mind.

Arm Fat Can’t Be Specifically Targeted

Before diving into arm toning, know swimming alone cannot be used to spot-reduce fat in your underarm area, if this is also one of your goals. Still, you can burn a significant amount of calories with swimming—anywhere from 400 to 700 during an hour-long swim, according to What you can do, though, is shed unwanted pounds by swimming in a way that extends to your arms and move on to a focus on toning.

But Arms Can Be Toned by Swimming

Even if reducing underarm fat isn’t one of your related goals, swimming can be a good way to add some tone and definition to your arms. The reason this can happen is because of the force exerted as you use your arms to propel yourself through the water. As long as you’re maintaining proper form, you should be able tone your arms and other muscles at the same time as you swim.

Strokes to Consider for Arm Toning

According to, the butterfly stroke is the most effective stroke for toning and boosting muscle strength. While this is a great stroke for toning, since it targets muscles in your arms, back, chest, and stomach in a fairly even way, other strokes, such as the breaststroke, backstroke, and freestyle stroke, can also target arm and shoulder muscles, since the act of swimming requires some degree of coordinated arm movements.

Frequency of Swimming for Arm Toning recommends aiming for 2–3 times a week of swimming for about 30 minutes per session if you’re swimming for exercise or fitness purposes. You’re also welcome to swim more often, but you should listen to your body and give yourself time to rest and recover.

You may also use your time between swims to tone your arms in other ways with land-based exercises. The following exercises that are done out of the water can complement what you’re doing with swimming:

• Strength training
• Triceps kickbacks
• Dumbbell rows
• Triceps extensions

Combining Swimming with Other Water-Based Exercises

You don’t necessarily need to leave the water to finish up your arm-toning routine. If you prefer to stay in the water, there are some other water-based routines you can do after your swim.

One option is water aerobics, which can be done in a way that focuses more on arm toning. However, there are some water-based arm-toning routines you could also explore. These include ones involving:

• Side and front arm raises
• Placing your arms behind your lower back and moving your elbows as if you’re “flapping your wings” like a bird
• Using aquatic dumbbells to add some weight and resistance while doing water-based versions of land-based arm routines

If you’re looking for the ideal way to tone your muscles and boost your physical fitness levels, swimming may be exactly what you need. As an award-winning in-ground pool contractor San Diego families and businesses have trusted for more than four decades, San Diego Pools can create a custom pool for you that offers a great way to exercise as well as a place to relax and get away from it all. Give us a call today at 888-707-7786.

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