Pool HIIT Workout

Man doing Pool HIIT workout in the pool.


Author: Margot Rutigliano, CPT, Pn2

Pools are great way to get a high-intensity workout without all of the impact. The best part is, you don’t have to be someone who knows how to swim all of the strokes proficiently (you do need to be able to swim enough so that you aren’t creating a dangerous situation for yourself in the water) in order to workout in the pool. There are plenty of moves like high knees, butt kicks, squats, lunges and so much more that you can do to get a great workout in the pool especially in shallow water. And if you’re in an area where it’s swarm, then a pool or even the ocean (on a flat surface barring any marine life) will work just perfectly. If you’re in a cooler part of the world or you’d rather be inside, an indoor pool is a great option too.



Water workouts are great for those that don’t want a high impact workout. That being said, you can still get a high intensity, heart pumping workout in the pool. The benefit is that you have the resistance of the water surrounding your entire body adding in an additional element of intensity.

Just like any other pool workout, the key is to make sure you’re moving and moving hard in order to get your heart rate up. And with any HIIT workout, the point is to push yourself as much as possible during the intervals. In the end, the pool is a fantastic way to mix up workouts, cross train and keep things interesting.

Pool HIIT is also great for athletes (professional or amateur) who might be suffering from an injury or who generally need to add in some cross training. Take the impact, jarring and pounding out of the equation with a workout in the pool.

If you’re not into full on HIIT workouts or you just want to try another interval style pool workout, check out: Pool Cardio + Strength Interval



For this work out there is no equipment that is required. However, if you feel uncomfortable or don’t know how to swim, a life vest or flotation device is always recommended. Floatation devices like kickboards, noodles and small inner tubes can be used to hold onto with hands or support the body.

You’ll need a towel to dry off with, swim cap if you don’t want to get your hair wet and proper swim wear. Also have a bottle of water on hand to quench your thirst.

Additional items like goggles and swim masks are optional based on your swim preferences.


Jump in (ok, please don’t jump in the shallow water!) and get acclimated to the temperature for a few minutes if needed.

Warm Up – Water walk – 1 minute, Water jog – 2 minutes (repeat 2 - 3 times or until fully warm)

Recovery Between Movements - 15 – 30 seconds of rest in between movements depending on your recovery time. If the length of time is too much for any of the movements, do the best you can do for as long as you see fit.

How To HIIT – This high intensity interval workout means that you should be working as hard as you can during each movement in order to get your heart rate up. There are 3 Circuits below. You can do a few of each circuit or rotate the circuits to make up your workout — whatever you prefer! HIIT workouts are typically 15 - 20 minutes in length (excluding warm up and cool down).

Circuit 1
High Knees – 30 Seconds
Butt Kicks – 30 Seconds
Tuck Jumps – 30 Seconds
Jumping Jacks – 30 Seconds
Water Walk – 1 minute (break time – grab water if you need it)
*Repeat circuit 2 - 3 times.

Circuit 2
Side Shuffle Right – 30 Seconds
Side Shuffle Left – 30 Seconds
Tread Water Legs Only (arms up in the air if you can) – 30 Seconds (if you don’t know how to tread water, substitute squat jumps instead)
Swim with Upper Body Only (do not legs) – 30 Seconds
Water Walk – 1 minute (break time – grab water if you need it)
*Repeat circuit 2 - 3 times.

Circuit 3
Squats (as quick as you can) – 1 Minute
Water Sprints – 30 Seconds
Backwards Run – 30 Seconds
Water High Knee Skip – 30 Seconds
Water Walk – 1 Minute (break time – grab water if you need it)
*Repeat circuit 2 - 3 times.

Cool Down – Water jog – 2 minutes, Water walk – 2 to 5 minutes depending on how long it takes to bring your heart rate down.



Beginners: Adjust the timing based on your fitness level. You might not be able to do 1 minute intervals. That’s ok! Start with 20 - 30 second intervals or do as much time as you can. You may need bigger break times in between circuits to allow your heart rate to recover.

Moderate to Advanced: If you’re fitness level is beyond this workout, add time and intensity. Additionally, less break time can be taken to make the workout more challenging.

*Please make sure to consult a physician before beginning any new physical fitness program. Consult your local fitness practitioner if you have any questions about this workout or the movements in the workout.

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