Woman exercising in a swim spa during winter

Swim Spa Exercise 101: Everything You Need To Know

Swim spas are for so much more than simply swimming. 

They have made aquatic exercise accessible to everyone, along with the benefits of hydromassage through hot tub seating. They have become the perfect all-inclusive option to add to your backyard.

Before we can get into how you can use your swim spa for exercise and health benefits, we’ll need to introduce you to what a swim spa is, especially if this is the first time you’re hearing about them and their unique capabilities.

What is a Swim Spa?

Swim spas are the perfect hybrid between a pool and a hot tub. 

They have an open swimming section that uses powerful jets to create a current of water for you to swim against. This creates enough resistance for you to challenge yourself without your body ever moving forward in the water. 

Swim spas also include hot tub seating either on one end of the spa or seating options in each corner, depending on the design. These seats are lined with powerful jets in various patterns to massage your body and offer exceptional relaxation

Many swim spas will include a textured or non-slip floor, making them as ideal a space for aquatic exercise as they are for swimming. 

5 Benefits of Exercising in Your Swim Spa

Swim spas are a unique way to include aquatic exercise in your regular routine year-round. Because the water is heated at a temperature that won’t freeze, you’ll be able to get a full workout no matter the weather. 

You’ll no longer have to search for a gym with an indoor pool that’s over chlorinated and waste your time waiting for a lane to open up anytime you want to swim. 

By including a swim spa in your backyard, you’ll be able to get the same quality workout in the winter as you can in the summer.

Swim spas can provide you with a new way to work out, offering more resistance while reducing the risk of injury. This can provide you with many benefits, but here are our top five!

  1. Protects Your Joints

The buoyancy of the water offers protection for your joints by removing the impact of your workout. This means you’ll be able to have a more intense workout while causing less stress on your joints and minimizing any inflammation and pain caused by high-impact workouts. 

This is especially helpful for those who are older, who are recovering from an injury, or people who have mobility issues, giving them a way at home to gently strengthen their muscles and joints. 

  1. Rehabilitation

As mentioned above, the buoyancy of the water can create a gentle way for people to heal damaged muscles or joints. However, the hot tub section of a swim spa creates the perfect space to treat pain and help your muscles recover faster. 

Between the benefits of hydrotherapy and the therapeutic treatment of hydromassage from the jets, you’ll be able to massage your muscles with gentle pulsing water. This will increase the blood flow in your body and allow it to target the areas that need it most. This will make recovery time faster, decrease inflammation and reduce the pain you may be experiencing. 

  1. Increased Flexibility

Spending time in heated water will help warm up your muscles, allowing them to become more flexible and increase their range of motion. This is important before any workout and can help release tight muscles that may be causing you pain throughout the day. This will allow your body to function better as you move through your workout, reducing the risk of injury and leading to better performance. 

  1. Better Stabilization

Working out in water can help your body train smaller muscles that may not be targeted during a regular workout. This will help you gain stability, especially as your body works to maintain balance against the current of the water. As an added benefit, increasing the strength of these muscles and gaining better stabilization will help protect your joints from injury and support your body in maintaining proper posture.

  1. Burn More Calories

Swim spas create an atmosphere where your body has to fight against more resistance with each movement. This will help you burn more calories than outside the water. You’ll work your muscles harder as you push through the resistance and burn more calories in less time. 

The 10 Best Exercises for Your Swim Spa

There are many ways you can exercise in your swim spa. Whether you include equipment, such as water weights, or you simply use your body weight, you’ll be able to get an intense workout no matter your preference. 

Here are the ten best exercises to do in your swim spa!

  1. Swimming 

Clearly, this is the most obvious option for working out in your spa. 

Swimming in a swim spa can offer a better swim experience than a traditional pool because of the option to create more or less resistance, creating harder swim sessions than you would be able to achieve in a traditional lap pool.

Swim spas come with various resistance settings, making them a great training option for casual and professional swimmers alike. Each swim you take will be able to become more difficult as you get stronger or can challenge you when you want to push yourself to the limits. Simply set the water current to a strength that suits your capabilities and battle against the current.

  1. Yoga

Moving through some simple yoga poses will help train your body to remain stable in the water, while the warmth will help you gain better mobility, allowing you to get deeper into each pose.

Water adds additional resistance as you transition to each new pose. This will strengthen your body’s smaller muscles in a way that is difficult to achieve outside the water.

Taking your yoga practice to the swim spa will create a more effective workout in less time, and with the water being heated, you’ll be working up a sweat in no time.

  1. Running or Walking

This is a great exercise to improve your cardiovascular strength while protecting your joints from the impact they would experience when being done outside the water. 

Simply turn on the water current and walk or jog against it. The current will keep your body in place while you push yourself forward for a challenging cardio session.

The water will protect your joints and make your workout more intense based on the strength you’ve set your current to, helping you create a safer and more challenging environment to train in.

  1. Rowing

Many swim spas offer the ability to connect resistance bands to them. This will allow you to include strength-based workouts in your exercise routine. 

With a high-quality set of resistance bands, you’ll be able to complete a full rowing workout, strengthening your mid and upper body as you pull them towards you and control the speed you release them, simulating the motion you would make if you were rowing a boat. 

  1. Squats

This is a simple exercise to do in your swim spa because it’s a stationary action. You’ll be able to use the buoyancy of the water to protect your knees and strengthen your lower body as you fight the water’s resistance while you sit back in a squat position. 

The drag of the water on your body as you stand up will also create resistance, and if you want to amplify that, you can include water weights or wear something that the water will cling to as you stand.

  1. Lunges

Doing lunges in a swim spa is a great way to work out your lower body. There are two ways you can incorporate lunges into your routine using your spa. 

The first is a stationary lung. This won’t require you to turn on the water current of your swim spa. For this lunge, you’ll step forward with one leg, complete your lunge, and then push back to a standing position. 

The second option is to do a walking lunge, where you’ll use the water current to keep your body in place as you walk forward, each time stepping into a lunge position and pushing forward out of it.

  1. Flutter Kicks

This is a great exercise to work out your abs. Using the hot tub seats, hold your body up, hovering over the seat while moving your legs up and down in opposite directions. 

This will strengthen your arms as you hold your body up while creating a more difficult abdominal workout from the resistance of your legs pushing against the water as they kick.

  1. Push-ups

Using the sides of the swim spa, you can include some pushups in your workout routine. The resistance of the water as you push yourself up will help strengthen your arms and chest, while the buoyancy will help protect your shoulders as you move through each one. 

This is a particularly good exercise if you are a beginner at pushups and are looking for a way to build up your strength to include these exercises in your routine outside the water. 

  1. Bicep Curls

Using the resistance bands or a set of water weights, you’ll be able to fight the resistance of the water as you lift the weights, curling your arm to bring the weight up to your chest. 

You’ll also have to push against the resistance of the water as you straighten your arm again to bring the weight back down to its starting position at your side. 

This will help you strengthen your biceps and the muscles running along the back of your forearm, which often wouldn’t be working as hard when doing this move outside of the water. 

  1. Cycling

For this exercise, simply lean back and hold your body up using the end of one of the hot tub seats. Then, lift your body, and do a cycling motion with your legs, using your lower abs and legs to push the water away from the body with your feet. 

This will work your whole body, strengthening your upper body as you hold yourself up, your abs as you keep your legs lifted off the ground, and your lower body as you push against the water with each kick.

Swim Spa Exercise Tips

Stay Hydrated

Working out in warm water will raise your heart rate more than a regular workout and will often cause you to sweat faster. Make sure you have water on hand to hydrate as you move through your workout to avoid dehydration. Drink lots of water following your workout as well to replenish any water you may have sweat out during exercise!


Finish your workout with a gentle stretch session. This will help your muscles release the tension they’ve been under and help them recover faster, leading to less stiffness and pain following a workout. Do this inside the water for an even more effective stretch. The warmth of the water can help release any tightness more easily. 


Enjoy a spa session in one of the hot tub seats after your workout.

Sit down and rest your body, using the jets to massage your muscles. This will provide your body relief from the strain it was under during the workout. It’s also a great way to finish off your workout to fully relax your body and mind, leaving you feeling refreshed and energized for the rest of your day.

Swim Spas In Vancouver

If you’re looking for a high-quality swim spa to add to your backyard, our team of experts at Crystalview Pool, Spa, & Patio in Northern Vancouver can help you find your perfect match. Visit our showroom or contact us today – we’d love to introduce you to your new swim spa! 

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