Dive into Better Performance: How Swimming Can Improve Your CrossFit Game

crossfit swimming course

While CrossFit focuses primarily on land-based exercises, swimming can provide a unique set of benefits that can help you perform better both in and out of the gym.

In this article, we'll explore how swimming can improve your overall fitness, enhance your CrossFit performance, and reduce the risk of injury. So, let's dive in!

Should CrossFitters swim?

Swimming is not typically a part of CrossFit programming.

However, some CrossFit boxes or training programs may offer swimming as an optional activity either in a workout or as active recovery.

Additionally, many CrossFit athletes may choose to swim on their own as a way to supplement their training or to prepare for competitions, which sometimes include swimming.

crossfit swimming

What are the benefits of swimming for CrossFit?

While swimming is not a requirement for CrossFit, it can be a highly effective way to improve your CrossFit performance.

Swimming workouts can help build cardiovascular endurance, which is important for completing longer WODs and reducing fatigue during high-intensity workouts.

Also, the emphasis on breathing plays an important role in  improving breathing techniques and lung capacity, which can be beneficial for CrossFit workouts that are very aerobic, such as rowing, running, and wall balls.

It can also help develop overall body strength, especially in the upper body and core as well as improve mobility and flexibility. These factors can translate to better performance in a wide range of movements more typically found in CrossFit. Spending time in the water can also be a great way to recover from intense CrossFit workouts and reduce the risk of injury.

How can I include swimming with my regular training?

Including swimming in your training will depend on the function it will serve. If you're swimming for active recovery or to improve your overall fitness, you don't necessarily need a concrete training regimen, however, being able to measure progress is always a good motivator. Here are some tips for incorporating swimming into your CrossFit training:

  1. Find a pool: The first step to incorporating swimming into your training is to find a pool that you can use. This may be a local public pool, a gym or fitness center with a pool, or a private pool if you have access to one.
  1. Start slowly: If you're new to swimming, it's important to start slowly and gradually build up your swimming skills and endurance. Begin with shorter, easier swims and gradually increase your distance and intensity over time.
  1. Work on technique: Swimming is a technical sport, so it's important to work on your technique to improve your efficiency in the water. Consider taking a swimming lesson or working with a coach to improve your stroke technique and breathing.
  1. Combine swim with CrossFit programming: Consider adding swimming workouts to your CrossFit programming, either as a replacement for some of your land-based workouts or as an additional workout on days off. The Progrm offers a comprehensive course that’s designed to be added on to your on-land training. Read more about it here.
  1. Mix it up: Like CrossFit, swimming offers a variety of workouts and training styles. Mix up your swimming workouts with different distances, strokes, and intensity levels to keep things interesting and challenging.

Incorporating swimming into your CrossFit training 1–2 times per week can be a good place to start.

This frequency can help you build your swimming skills and endurance, while also allowing you to recover from your land-based CrossFit workouts.

As you become more comfortable swimming and begin to see improvements in your performance, you may want to increase the frequency of your swimming workouts. Don’t push  yourself too hard too soon.

Swimming, like any form of exercise, requires balance and proper recovery to avoid burnout and injury.

Start with a frequency that feels manageable and gradually increase your volume as your skills and fitness level improve.


Incorporating swimming into your CrossFit training can offer a variety of benefits, from improved cardiovascular endurance and overall body strength to reduced risk of injury and faster recovery.

Whether you're a beginner or an experienced, consider taking a course or following a swimming training plan made for CrossFit athletes in mind.

This will help you to improve your technique, and you’ll receive personalized feedback while also giving you the flexibility to progress at your own pace.

Remember that swimming can be a great complement to your CrossFit training, and help to balance your training and recovery to avoid burnout or injury.