Aquatic exercise is so much more than swimming. From shallow- and deep-water training to Ai Chi (aquatic Tai Chi), the unique properties of water make the pool a suitable environment for people of all abilities. A 3-D liquid fitness room, water lends itself to a well-balanced workout that improves cardio, strength and flexibility all at the same time.
Did you know?
- When your body is immersed up to your waist, you are bearing approximately 50 percent of your body weight.
- The viscosity of water provides more resistance than air and allows you to exercise at a higher intensity with less impact on the body.
- Water’s buoyancy allows you to move more easily, with less stress on muscles and joints; this “support” aids in freedom of movement, which helps to increase flexibility and balance.
Let's Jump In!
This 30-minute aquatic workout is broken down into two sets, with each set consisting of cardio-wall work, upper-body and core exercises, and cardio running. Use this workout when you can’t get to your favorite aquatic class, as a supplement to your existing workout schedule, or as your first introduction to aquatic fitness.
Before getting started, remember to bring your poolside essentials: towel and a water bottle. And if you are taking this workout outdoors, wear your sunglasses and a hat, and load up on sunscreen.
Workout Exercise List
Back Wall Glide (targets lower body): Grab onto the pool ledge and place your feet on the pool wall. You should be in a tucked position. Push off the pool wall and glide on your back as long as you can. Tuck your knees into your chest, place your feet down, and run back to the wall. Repeat.
Side Wall Glide (targets lower body): With the right side of your body facing the pool wall, grab onto the pool ledge with your right hand and place your feet on the pool wall. You should be in a tucked position. Push off the wall and glide on your right side as long as you can. Tuck your knees into your chest, place your feet down and run sideways back to the wall. Change to the left side and repeat.
Horizontal Chest Fly/Reverse Fly (targets chest and upper back): Lift your arms up and out to the side toward the top of the surface of the water. With your palms facing forward, close the arms to the front and then return back to the starting position.
Front-to-back Shoot Out (targets abdominals and low back):This is a buoyant exercise—your feet will not touch the ground. Lift the knees into a tucked position. Shoot the legs out to the front and lay out (think “suntan”). Tuck the knees back into the chest, rotate and shoot the legs out to the back (think “superman”). Tuck the knees back into the chest, rotate and you’re ready to shoot the legs back out to the front.
Arm Scoop-up and Back (targets shoulders, biceps, triceps):Begin with the arms by your sides, palms facing out. Scoop the arms up toward the surface of the water. At the top, turn the palms down and push the arms back to the starting position.
Side-to-side Shoot Out (targets obliques): This is a buoyant exercise—your feet will not touch the ground. Lift the knees into a tucked position. Shoot the legs out to the right side (3 o’clock). Tuck the knees back into the chest and shoot the legs out to the left side (9 o’clock).
Running: Run in place by lifting the knees toward the top of the pool, moving the arms vigorously and striking the bottom of the pool with a flat foot (or as close as you can). Running on your toes may lead to tight and sore Achilles tendons and calf muscles.
“Good Vibrations” by Marky Mark and The Funky Bunch (4:30 pm)
At a moderate pace, begin the warm up with one minute of each of the following exercises:
- Bouncing in Place
- Knee Lifts
- Jumping Jacks
- Cross-country Skiing
Aquatic Set #1
“Surfin U.S.A.” by The Beach Boys (2:30)
“California Gurls” by Katy Perry (4:00)
Perform each of the following exercises for one minute each:
- Chest Fly/Reverse Fly
- Front-to-back Shoot Out
“Walking on Sunshine” by Katrina and The Waves (3:41)
- Running (keep a steady pace)
Aquatic Set #2
“Wipeout” by The Surfaris (2:35)
“Hot, Hot, Hot” by Buster Poindexter (4:10)
Perform each of the following exercises for one minute each and then repeat for one more set:
- Arm Scoop Up and Back
- Side to Side Shoot Out
“Vacation” by The Go-Go’s (3:00)
- Running (keep a steady pace)
“Summertime” by DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince (3:57)
- Perform stretches for your chest, back and legs. Keep these stretches dynamic (moving) to prevent the body from getting cold.
Stephanie Thielen, BS, has a fitness career that spans over 24 years with experience in group fitness training and management in the community, corporate and collegiate setting. As an ACE Group Fitness Instructor and Personal Trainer, two-time IDEA Presenter, NETA trainer, AEA Trainer, and BOSU National Master Trainer, Stephanie provides land and aquatic workshops that teach logical methods for class construction, providing the “tools of the trade” to assist fitness professionals develop their teaching skills. Find Stephanie on Facebook at Stephanie Thielen Fitness, LLC.
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