Swimming Before Or After Workout

Last Updated on August 1st, 2023

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Whether you are training for events like triathlons or simply trying to burn excess fat by building up muscles, swimming and weight training are both excellent workouts. Combining the two should elevate you to even higher levels, right?

The truth is that it mostly comes down to preference. The main thing you should focus on, no matter what you decide to do, is to allow for appropriate rest between workouts.

Keep reading to learn more about the details of swimming before or after a workout, if one is better than the other, and the potential benefits of both.

Man diving into an indoor swimming pool - Swimming Before Or After Workout

Which one is Better?

Whether you swim before or after a session of weight training largely comes down to personal preference because the benefits of either option balance out.

This means that neither option is inherently better than the other to do in general or even on a case-by-case basis.

That being said, many people enjoy swimming after a workout for a cool-down session. Therefore, it could be argued that by working out first and swimming after, you can have a shorter rest period between sessions than if you did the opposite.

Many people find that cleaning up by working out first and then swimming is also easier than when you do the same actions in reverse.


Man diving into an indoor swimming pool - Swimming Before Or After Workout

Is it the Same for Different People?

Because the choice is mostly personal preference, it is somewhat unlikely that different people will agree on whether swimming before or after a weight training workout regimen is better.

If there is a large group of different individuals that agree on the same course of action, it’s probably because they were taught their methods as a group or they have agreed upon their actions by social convention.

This means that friends are more likely to work out in the same way if they often go to the gym together. The same could be said for people who shared a physical education teacher or similar.


Should You Take a Break Between the Activities?

No matter which way you decide to go, everyone agrees that you should take a break between these two activities. The main reason for this is that you need to allow your muscles to recover from intense exercise before attempting a different, strenuous exercise.

Even when you do take a break between the activities, your results in the second activity can suffer slightly because your muscles are likely to still be tired from the last activity.

If you’re not in a rush to try and swim and do some weight lifting on the same day, consider taking a day’s break between the two.


What are the Benefits of Swimming After Workout?

We’ve already discussed some of the benefits of swimming after a workout, but we’ll go over them again and more in the list below:


  • Cool-downs – whenever you work out, you should have a cool-down period where you engage in low-intensity exercise to help your body on the way to recovery.
  • Practice skills – you should be tired after weight lifting, so instead of trying and failing to achieve a personal best in the pool afterward, focus on practicing skills and fundamentals that will get you there in the future.
  • Shorter resting period – you could argue that moving from weights to swimming requires less rest because you are using swimming as a cool-down
  • Waste less time – by swimming after a workout, you can just shower and go home. When you swim and then work out, you either have to spend some time drying off or feel uncomfortable as you dry while working out.


What are the Benefits of Swimming before Working Out?

Swimming after a workout is great, but so is swimming beforehand. Here are just some of the benefits of swimming before a workout:


  • Logical mindset – for those training to do triathlons, swimming is usually the first leg of the race so it makes sense to get it out of the way.
  • Better swimming performance – by swimming first, you can go for gold and push yourself to the limits knowing that you are in good shape beforehand.
  • Warm Ups – swimming before a workout can be a great warmup to loosen muscles and get the blood pumping so you are ready for the intense nature of something like weight lifting.


Final Thoughts on Swimming Before Or After Workout

There are pros and cons to both swimming before and after a workout, so it can be difficult to choose which is right for you. Ultimately, it comes down to personal choice.

Because that is the case, we recommend you try both methods out for yourself in a week-long trial period or something similar. Then, once you find which one you like better, stick with it for your future training schedules.

Remember that your body needs sufficient rest between swimming and workouts, as well as between days of exercise, to perform at its best.