What is the best swimming stroke for toning your abs?

In short: Butterfly. More importantly, dolphin kick is the real answer here. But honestly, all strokes can help you out to shape those abs!

Yes, all swimming strokes can be good for your abs. Butterfly and butterfly kick is the one that puts the most pressure on your abs, yet this doesn't mean that you need to dismiss other strokes if you seek some nice looking abs.

Swimming with Kickboard to Tone Your Abs

Working hard on those abs with heavy leg work might feel counterintuitive, but if you have proper swimming technique - legs take a lot of motion from your abdominal muscles. If you feel that you might need to improve your swimming technique, make sure to take some proper swimming lessons as swimming is one of the best sports out there when it comes to both super fit and sexy looking body, but learning proper technique and mastering all strokes is key to all of that.

Butterfly Kick Abdominal Muscle Training

Because doing a powerful butterfly kick requires both loads of core and abdominal stability, expect to achieve some great results especially with constant butterfly sets. The biggest problem is that butterfly is also one of the hardest swim strokes to learn and/or to master. It requires a lot of strength and most beginners can barely do one or two proper strokes at a time.

That's why dolphin kick swimming with a kickboard, without doing the "hard arm part" is one of the best exercises for those seeking to sculpt their abs.

Can swimming get rid of love handles?

Yes, swimming can help with weigh loss and against love handles. If your main goal is to fight love handles, consider swimming backstroke or freestyle (front crawl). These two strokes have alternating hand and leg movements, therefore they make it easier to fight fat. Swimming backstroke or freestyle both in long distances and sprints will have a big impact on your overall body fat, thus expect those love handles to melt away soon.

How to strengthen glutes with swimming?

One word - breaststroke. As long as you learn the proper breaststroke technique (most people "know" how to swim breaststroke, yet they fail at doing it right), expect to see some nice waistline and glutes improvements if you train hard.

Swimming Abs Toning vs Training?

If you have proper swimming technique, expect to have some pretty rock hard abdominal muscles as you train constantly over the years or months at hand. Now how toned those rock hard abs will be? Will you be able to see all 8 "packs"?

Sadly, just because most pro swimmers have ultra strong abdominal muscle structure, doesn't make them shine through the skin. In other words, most swimmers have abs that are not toned? How so? Well, it might be that our hypodermis (skin fat layer), becomes thicker as we spend more and more time in water.

Long story short, our bodies are good at thermoregulating and having a thick skin if you spend hours at hand naked in water - is a good thing. Just a minor increase in your hypodermis fat layer under the skin is enough, to slightly hide that six pack. It still stays rock hard under that skin, but a bit less visible.

My (retired swimmer) honest advice? If you want to be healthy, have strong muscular body structure and wield crazy agility - swimming is one of the best sports, with least risks involved out there. If you need to show of your slick abs, that might be softer yet have a clear "six pack" shining through... Dryland exercises will help you with that.

What muscle groups can swimming improve?

All. Seriously, literally all of them. Starting from head to toe. All of the muscles work when you swim.

There are very few muscles that don't get loads of exercise while swimming. This is especially true if you swim all 4 main swim strokes during your practice. Best part is that while swimming, your joints don't get much weight thus making your life easier.

Here's a list of core muscle groups you can improve with swimming...

Upper-body muscles like biceps, triceps, deltoids, pectorals and wrist flexors

Lower-body muscles like quads, calves, glutes, hamstrings

So as your abdominal and core muscles

Is swimming good for losing belly fat?

Yes. Not only that, but because swimming requires all your body to work hard, loosing weight while swimming does it gradually everywhere. Most other exercise types can focus on just a specific fat area, while swimming will require you to get fitter - everywhere.

Retired backstroker with a small beer belly, SEO expert and content manager at SwimBurst.com

Best swimming blog for...

Related Articles

All Swim FAQ Articles