Change up your routine with these CrossFit Swim Workouts

CrossFit Swim Workouts

CrossFit swim workouts are as challenging physically as they are mentally. To get a good score-and stay safe in the water-you need flawless technique throughout.

Dive in (get it?) to these three CrossFit swim WODs and see for yourself:

No Equipment CrossFit Swim Workout

CrossFit Swim Workout

  • Every 3 minutes for 30 minutes:
  • 50m swim
  • Single arm hang dumbbell clean and press, 15 reps (70/45lbs)
  • 15 Chest to bar pull-ups

Challenge CrossFit Swim Workout

  • 4 rounds for time:
  • 150m swim
  • 100 double unders
  • 25 kettlebell snatches (70lbs/53)

Read Also: Top 6 Best Outdoor Pull-up Bars

Below you'll find more information on adding swimming to your programming and how to complete these CrossFit workouts.

How to Follow

Here are some guidelines for completing CrossFit swim workouts.


Of course safety is always a top priority when it comes to developing your fitness. But in the pool, it's absolutely imperative that you take measures to stay safe while doing a swimming workout.

If you're swimming in a pool, be sure there is a lifeguard on hand or at least another person to keep an eye on you. If you're swimming in open water, be absolutely certain there is someone watching you in the water and that you have a way to get out if an issue arises.

Correct Form

Because most people don't have the ability to move a barbell close to the pool, these CrossFit swimming WODs are pretty minimal when it comes to equipment. 

The challenge workout calls for a rower or Assault bike, but you can easily substitute it for a no-equipment form of cardio like running if need be.


Most people's best stroke is freestyle, so stick with that. Wear goggles and try to get in a rhythm with your pulls. Push hard off walls on turns and allow your body to freely move through the water as you go.

Read Also: What is a Metcon Workout & 5 Conditioning Workouts for Beginners

freestyle swimmer

Single arm hang dumbbell clean and press

  • Start with the bell between your legs, at knee height.
  • With a tight back, clean the bell to your shoulder, keeping it close to the front of your body.
  • Press/push press it over head.
  • Using gravity as momentum from the top, switch hands as the bell falls down. Repeat.

Read Also: 5 GHD exercises for a Rock Solid posterior chain

Kettlebell snatch

These are very similar to single arm hang dumbbell clean and presses, minus the fact that you're going from the pull to directly overhead. You don't need to alternate every rep, but try to do the same amount of reps on each side.

Read Also: Top 8 Best CrossFit Rowing Machines


Here are a few tips for successfully doing any of these swim WODs.

Regain your breath when you're out of the pool. If you've ever swam under duress before, you know it isn't fun. The exercises outside of the water shouldn't be performed at a pace so taxing that you have to waste time catching your breath before you get back in the pool. Control your breathing!

Bring a floor mat. The side of the pool can be slippery, so anything you can put underneath your feet to perform exercise. Shoes can also help if you can slip them on fast enough.

If you have to run to equipment, make that part of your workout. You may have to add more time to the EMOM or AMRAP workouts, though, if you're running more than a few hundred feet.

Read Also: Best CrossFit Cardio Workouts to improve your endurance

crossfit swimmer

Benefits of Incorporating Swimming as Part of Your CrossFit Training

Pound for pound, many fitness experts say that a swimming workout is the best form of cardio exercise you can do. Here are some benefits for CrossFit athletes that make this statement possibly true:

  • It's low-impact. Swimming is great if you have knee, hip or other joint problems. You can get a great cardio workout without pain!
  • It burns a ton of calories. You can burn up to 590 calories per hour swimming leisurely. At a fast pace in a CrossFit swim WOD, that number is much higher. 
  • It follows the GPP model. CrossFit is a program designed for general physical preparedness, meaning you're an athlete good at almost everything, not someone who specializes in one or two things. Sure, you might be able to lift and run better than most. But if you had to jump in a pool, how would you fare? 
  • It's a great way to change up your workouts! For those that are tired of running, rowing or hitting the assault bike, this is a great way to change up your cardio sessions.
  • It's required for competitive CrossFit. Swimming comes up in a Games Workout for CrossFit athletes nearly every year. If you're trying to compete in the sport of CrossFit, being a good swimmer better be at the top of your list.

Read Also: Best Starter CrossFit WODs for Seniors

For more CrossFit workout ideas, visit our CrossFit WODs page.