Water exercises in the pool might not be the first thing you think of when you are trying to get in shape and slim down, but it should be! Water exercises are a low impact activity that will help burn fat and tone your body, so you can achieve those firm muscles without putting stress on your joints.
Why does water work so well? Because water is exactly 784 times denser than air. Translation: your entire body is automatically experiencing a resistance workout the minute you step foot in the pool.
Swimming pool workouts are a great package that includes burning calories and building lean muscle, and as a result, this improves metabolism. And YES, you will sweat even in the water!
Here’s my favorite pool fitness routine that only takes 35 mins – which gives me plenty of time to be back on dry land, with dry hair, in under an hour.
Water Exercise 1 — Cardio: 20 mins
The best way to kick-start every workout is with a fast sprint. Fast swim under and above the waterline to really pump up the cardio. Then, start jogging in the water. To take water jogging to a more intense level, create a current in the pool by running in a zigzag pattern from one side to the other. For round pools, run in a circle to build up the current. Then run against the current in 3-minute intervals. Make sure that you run with proper alignment, because then your core is forced to do the majority of the work as opposed to your shoulders or legs. Water jogging is a great pool exercise, not only do you get a cardio workout, but you’ll also strengthen all your core muscles.
Water Exercise 2 – Treading Leg Lifts: 3 mins
Follow up a cardio workout with this intense, all over water exercise that targets your arms, back, chest, abs, butt, and hamstrings. In the deep end of the pool, tread water by making small circles with your arms and cupped hands. Lift your right leg straight out in front of you at hip level, with your toes extended, and extend your left toes too. Hold this move for 5 seconds while keeping your back straight. Switch legs by lowering your right leg and bringing your left forward. Hold for another 5 seconds. Make sure to squeeze your glutes and quads in order to keep those legs straight. Continue this process for 60 seconds while alternating legs.
Water Exercise 3 – Water Plank: 3 mins
For this pool exercise, you’ll need a water noodle. Start by floating face down, with your feet on a pool ladder tread and holding the noodle with both hands shoulder-width apart with your arms extended out in front of you. Slowly engage your abs and stabilize the noodle by pushing it towards the pool floor. Keep your arms straight and continue to push down until you are in a plank [horizontal] position. Hold for 30 seconds, then return to the start position. Do the water plank 6 times. This will work your arms, back, abs, and hips.
Water Exercise 4 – Ball Resistance: 3 mins
Work out your shoulder, back, triceps, and abs with this challenging pool workout! Start by holding a beach ball stretched out in front of you and float face down so that your legs are extended behind you. Keep your feet together. Keep your arms straight, and pull the ball underneath you as fast as you can through the water towards your thighs. As this happens, your head will pop out of the water and you’ll be able to take a big breath of fresh air. Under the water, touch your thighs with the ball, bend your elbows to bring the ball back to the surface and return to the start position. Do this beach ball exercise for 10 repetitions. The straighter your whole body is, the better water workout this will be for you.
Water Exercise 5 – Biceps and Triceps: 3 mins
Standing on the pool floor, knees slightly bent, water at the base of your neck, bring both arms up, bent at the elbow, so your triceps are parallel to the pool floor. Join both arms together in front of you, so they form a pyramid shape with your palms and forearms touching. Slowly raise your joined arms in the air at a 45 degree angle, away from you. Slowly bring them down together so your biceps are again perpendicular with the floor. Open up your arms again so that you are in your original position with your arms in the shape of the letter “L”. This is one rep. Do 2 sets of 15.
Water Exercise 6 – Waist Trimmer: 3 mins
Start with your back against the pool wall, holding onto the pool edge or holding onto ladder rails. Draw your knees into your chest, and extend your legs straight out. As you inhale, swing your legs to the left, then the right, and back to the center. As you exhale, draw your legs back up to your chest and restart the process. Repeat this pool exercise 10 times, keeping your back pressed against the wall for maximum results!
These workouts are a great way to getting you on your way to the body you’ve always wanted. If you need some assistance varying up your pool workout, try the AquaJogger. This kit comes with everything you need to get your workouts started and even includes wet bells to add some resistance training to your routine. And if you’re the type of person like I am that has a hard time coming up with their own pool workout plan, this set even comes with a DVD to give you some ideas!
No matter what workout you choose in the water, remember to have a water bottle nearby! Just because you are in water, doesn’t mean that these exercises will physically affect you differently. It is just as important to stay hydrated and take water breaks whenever you need to in water as it is out of the water. Be sure to stop for a breath as often as you need to and know your limits! Exercising should feel uncomfortable but it should NEVER be painful!
Because water exercises are so different than traditional exercises they will add some fun and variance to your weekly routine while training target areas in a whole new way. So throw on your bathing suit and get ready to see some results!
InTheSwim Staff Blogger