What Pool Exercise Burns the Most Calories

What Pool Exercise Burns the Most Calories?

Exercising in a swim spa or above ground pool is a great way to lose weight. You can perform any manner of swim strokes as well as many other exercises that you might normally perform on dry land. A swim spa is great for those who don’t have space for a full-sized pool or those who like to combine their exercising with relaxing in warm, massaging waters. But if you’re specifically looking to lose weight it can be tough to know what exercises will be the most effective. You may find yourself asking the question, “What pool exercise burns the most calories?” To help you focus your exercise regime we’ve listed some of the more popular exercises and rated them by the number of calories burned.

Dry Land Walking

Walking on dry land is probably one of the most basic exercises there is. And because it’s something most of us have done since we were children, there’s virtually no learning curve to get started. For this reason, we’ll use it as a measuring stick against which we’ll assess the other exercises in this list. A 155-pound person walking at a normal pace for 30 minutes would burn about 130 calories. Increasing the intensity of walking by including hills and bumping up the pace will allow you to burn over 250 calories in a half-hour.

Dry Land Jogging

Dry land jogging is one of the more popular exercises among those who don’t suffer from any bone or joint issues. The increased impact of jogging can make it difficult for those who have problems with their knees, ankles, and feet. But the calorie-burning benefit is noticeable. Jogging at a moderate pace (shoot for a 12-minute mile) for 30 minutes can burn about 300 calories.


Breaststroke is at the lower end of the calorie-burning chart once you get into the water. But that’s not to say it’s an ineffective form of exercise. Far from it. It actually provides a better cardiovascular workout than other swimming strokes that burn more calories. You’ll also be benefited from the strengthening of the hamstrings, thighs, back, and triceps. A 30-minute breaststroke workout can result in the burning of about 200 calories.


Backstroke might not be the most intuitive of the swimming strokes, but it can help you lose weight. It’s also beneficial for your posture as it stretches out your backbone and promotes the pliability of the hips. It’s a great exercise for those who spend most of their day sitting at work. After a while you’ll find improvement in the tone of your stomach, arms, legs, shoulders, and butt. A 30-minute backstroke workout can burn around 250 calories.

Front Crawl

In the competitive swimming world, the front crawl is known as freestyle. But it’s also the fastest swimming stroke, the most common and one of the first major strokes taught to beginners. The front crawl is great for the back muscles as well as the butt, stomach and shoulders. Doing the front crawl for a half-hour can result in the use of around 300 calories.


The butterfly stroke is the most advanced form of the bunch. It requires a lot of upper body strength to execute correctly, but this results in an overall toning of the muscles with a focus on the stomach, chest, back, and triceps. For those who can keep this stroke going for 30 minutes, they’ll have burned through about 450 calories.

Water Jogging

It may come as a surprise that the pool exercise that burns the most calories isn’t even a swim stroke. But because jogging in the water increases the amount of water resistance the exerciser experiences, it’s the winner in the calorie-burning competition. Spending 30 minutes jogging against the current in waist-deep water will burn a whopping 500 calories or more.  

To learn more about using a swim spa to keep fit, download a free buyer’s guide today.

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