What Pool Exercise Burns the Most Calories?

What Pool Exercise Burns the Most Calories?

When it comes to burning calories, access to a swim spa can be of major benefit. You don’t need the space for a full-sized pool, yet you can benefit from the many exercises that can be performed in the water. And you’re not stuck simply swimming all the time either. There are plenty of traditional land-based exercises that can actually burn more calories when done in a swim spa. But what pool exercise burns the most calories? In this article, we’ll count the calories burned by all the popular swim strokes as well as some other exercises for reference.

Dry Land Walking

Walking is a great exercise for people of all ages. It’s easy on the joints and bones and is also known to improve mental health and wellbeing. And since almost everyone can do it, we’ll use it as the standard to which we can compare other exercises. If a 155-pound person walks at a moderate pace on dry land for a half hour they can expect to burn about 130 calories.

Dry Land Jogging

If you up your dry land walking game and begin moderate jogging, you can burn 300 calories in a half hour. Of course, jogging isn’t for everyone. It can be hard on people with bone or joint problems, but there’s a reason it’s so popular. It doesn’t require any extra equipment and it can be done almost anywhere. 

Freestyle Swimming

Freestyle swimming is also known as the front crawl. This is usually one of the first swim strokes that’s taught to beginning swimmers. When performed competitively it’s also the fastest. For this reason, it can be very effective for burning calories. Swimming freestyle for 30 minutes at a moderate pace will burn about 300 calories. It also helps tone the back muscles, shoulders, stomach and butt.


When performed competitively, the breaststroke is the slowest of the main swim strokes. It also burns the fewest number of calories. That said, it still provides a very good cardio workout due to the wide span achieved by both the arms and legs. The thigh, chest, back and arm muscles as well as the hamstrings are benefited by performing the breaststroke. Spending 30 minutes doing the breaststroke can result in the expenditure of about 200 calories.


Learning to perform the backstroke confidently may take more effort, but if you’re looking to burn calories, that effort can be worthwhile. It also helps improve posture by elongating and straightening out the spine. The backstroke works on the muscles in the stomach, shoulders and butt. You can expect to burn off about 250 calories if you perform the backstroke for a half hour.


The butterfly is probably the most advanced of the competitive swim strokes. It’s the best stroke for working out the entire body but requires a great amount of upper body strength to perform properly. This results in strengthening of the triceps, stomach, chest and especially the back. If you find it possible to do the butterfly for a half hour you can expect to burn around 400 calories.

Water Jogging

Water jogging may not be a swim stroke, but it’s very easy to perform in a swim spa and can surprisingly burn more calories than any of the competitive swim strokes. The resistance of the water is the key to making this exercise as effective as it is. If you jog in the water for 30 minutes you can burn 500 calories or more.

For more information about swim spas and how they can be an effective part of your exercise program, download a free buyer’s guide today.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *