Popular Pool Exercises
Working out in a pool takes a lot of the strain and impact of your joints. People who have injuries or who find conventional exercise uncomfortable may find that working out in a pool can make exercise more accessible.
Pool exercises are a great way to lose weight without breaking a sweat. What’s more, they offer a refreshing alternative to boring laps, and they’re easier on your joints than traditional land exercises.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to reap the benefits of pool exercises. If you don’t feel comfortable signing up for a group water aerobics class or you don’t have the means to join a swim club, then go at it alone. Aim to do each exercise in sets of 10-15, three times through. The following popular pool exercises will help you burn calories and increase your fitness level.
Foam Noodle Clam Digger
This pool exercise requires a foam water noodle. You should feel the exercise work your hip flexors, glutes, quads, and inner and outer thigh muscles.
- Place the noodle behind your back while standing in chest-deep water.
- Lean back on noodles and angle your body to one side.
- Place your knees together, one on top of the other and bend your legs.
- Keeping your feet together, open the top knee and then bring your knees together again.
- Flip over and do the same on the other side.
This explosive move targets the triceps and fast-twitch muscles throughout the body.
- Stand facing the wall of the pool.
- Place your hands on the side of the pool with your hands open and palms down.
- In one explosive movement, push yourself out of the water and into a position where your arms are straight.
- Slowly release yourself back into the pool and repeat.
This abdominal move requires the exerciser to be comfortable with their face going underwater.
- While standing in the pool, hoist your lower legs up onto the side of the pool.
- Your upper body remains in the water.
- While stabilizing your torso, exhale and crunch your abdominals, bringing your chest closer to your knees.
- Either release into a position where your torso remains parallel to the bottom of the pool (allowing your face to stay out of the water) or push your torso all the way underwater.
- Take care to not allow your body or head to slam into the pool’s wall if you extend fully after the crunch.
- Repeat the crunch.
This simple exercise is familiar to many, as the movement is like the lower body movement of a jumping jack, but without the arms involved. The calves, abductors, and adductors are all targeted in this exercise.
- Start by standing in shoulder-deep water with your feet flat and your arms relaxed by your sides or with hands on your hips.
- Next, bend your knees and jump up off the bottom of the pool as high as you can.
- As you leap up, kick your legs out to the sides pointing your toes down.
- You should land with knees bent and feet apart.
- End the move by jumping up again and bringing your feet back together. Repeat 10 to 15 times.
This exercise requires a medium-size aqua aerobics ball. The biceps, triceps, the forearms, and grip strength are all worked in this move.
- Stand in chest-deep water with your feet apart and your arms extended straight in front of you.
- Hold the ball in your hands while breathing rhythmically.
- On the count of three, push the ball under the water and swing it into a figure-eight pattern through the water. You should be able to feel the varying resistance on your arms and upper body.
- Concentrate on maintaining your balance and moving the ball smoothly through the water.
The resistance provided by the water of the pool turns a simple movement like marching into something more challenging. The move is more challenging in deep water and less in shallow water. This is a full-body move when the arms are involved.
- Stand in chest-deep water and march in place.
- Make continuous strides, extending your arms and legs as far as you can. The water’s resistance will keep you moving in slow motion.
- Stretch your limbs, point your toes, and pull your arms vigorously back and forth.
- Start by marching for two minutes and resting for one minute. Increase the time, as you get more comfortable with the exercise.
Use a small aqua ball for this exercise – a regular ball won’t work as well. This exercise targets the adductors – the muscles of the inner thigh.
- While standing in the pool, place the ball in between your knees.
- Squeeze your knees to keep the ball in place.
- Depending on the size of the ball, it may try to compel your legs upward – resist this.
- Keeping your legs straight, alternate between squeezing hard and squeezing just enough to keep the ball in place.
- Repeat, also squeezing your glutes and abdominal muscles.
If you have access to a kickboard, you can do some challenging exercises that will get your heart pumping.
- Speed kicks: Grasp the board and keep your body parallel to the bottom of the pool as you kick as fast as you can.
- Strength kicks: Grasp the board as above but instead of kicking quickly, aim to kick as largely as you can, pushing against the resistance of the water.
- Stabilizing drift: Sitting upon the board, use your arms and legs to keep you upright as you drift in the pool.
- Board push: Standing tall in the water, grasp the board on each side and push the board down into the water.