Despite all their fantastic qualities, most above ground swimming pools aren’t the best places to get a workout. Why? Because even pools on the larger end of the spectrum tend to be too short for lap swimming. You end up spending too much time kicking off the wall and too little time actually swimming.
It’s the same story with inground pools. In that case, the solution for a lot of people is to install a long, narrow pool – commonly known as a lap pool. The question for those who don’t want or can’t afford an inground pool is, can you get an above ground lap pool?
As far as we can tell, the answer is, not really. Sure, here and there you may find oddball examples of above ground lap pools, some involving shipping containers. But as a rule, you won’t find lap pool designs among the standard offerings from above ground pool companies.
There are likely a couple of reasons why finding an above ground lap pool is so difficult. One, the long shape of a lap pool isn’t stable enough for above ground installation (at least using standard materials). And two, companies tend to cater to the typical customer, who wants more standard types of pools.
Bummer, right? Fortunately, there are still options for fitness-minded people who want to use their above ground pool for workouts.
Alternatives to an Above Ground Lap Pool
There are multiple options for getting a swimming workout in a limited space, but they all have one thing in common – they employ some sort of system that allows you to swim in place.
Above Ground Swim Spas
In a nutshell, swim spas are over-sized spas that generate a current you can swim against. Unlike many above ground pools, they’re a snap to install – you simply set them down in the desired location and hook them up. There are several popular brands and many different styles to choose from, with prices varying widely.
Described as an “exercise swimming pool,” the iPool offers similar functionality to a swim spa. Rather than employing a current, it includes a harness for resistance swimming. With its metal frame and fabric walls, it can be easily disassembled and stored away.
Standalone Swim Current Generators
You can also find various standalone current generators on the market, some of which can be installed on a small above ground pool. This might be a good option if you want a pool that works for both recreation and fitness.
Finally, the cheapest and easiest option is to pick up a stationary swimmer, which is just a tether that you can hook up to the side of the pool, your pool steps, or the pool deck. These tethers are typically elastic, and attach to your body via a belt. It’s not the most elegant option, and it may take some trial and error to get the right setup, but it gets the job done.
Here’s one highly rated example of a stationary swimmer. It’s cheap, flexible, and easy to set up.
Granted, these options aren’t quite the same as an above ground swim spa. Still, they accomplish the same purpose, which is to give you a good swimming workout right in your own backyard.