Article Last Updated: April 2020
You do water exercises because it is more fun when you splash around in your gym pool or at a communal pool.
Aquatic exercises can burn fat and are also therapeutic and relieve the symptoms of things like arthritis and fibromyalgia.
Immerse yourself in a new training regime with the water exercises below that keep you in shape.
Water is one of the best fitness tools out there.
The real way that aquatic workouts help you: they provide resistance that strengthens the muscles and increases cardiovascular intensity.
Pool Exercises For Abs
Double Leg Lift
Lie by the edge of the pool, lower your legs and lift them as high as you can, keeping your legs perfectly straight and together. Water presents additional resistance because you have to fight against the natural buoyancy of your body to stay in control.
Extra Tip: If that’s too difficult (yes, I know it sounds super easy, but it can be tricky if the water keeps pushing you down), sit on the edge of the pool, lower yourself down each time and do it from there.
Start with feet that are wider than the width of your hips, and squat and jump explosively out of the water. The deeper you start, the harder you have to work to jump.
Extra Tip: This movement does not work well with skirt swimsuits or bikinis as they might catch the water and provide negative resistance.
Water Exercises For Abs
Pull the abdominal muscles with a billiard noodle under the shoulders and crunch. The three-dimensional nature of the pool means that you not only have to work your abs sideways, but also stabilize your body in the vertical and horizontal planes.
Extra Tip: If the noodles are still flying away from you, you can always hold the edge of the pool.
Jump your legs back and forth as you move your arms in opposition. The deeper you go into the water, the harder it will be.
Extra Tip: It’s like having a Nordic Track, but without the risk of both feet sliding forward, hitting your hip protector and putting you aside (now that is not fun).
Half Jump Jack
This jump moves you to a new level of the moonwalk in the pool. Not only do you have to push through the water, you also have to keep your balance because your natural buoyancy causes you to lean forwards or backwards. Jump with your legs as usual, but do not let your feet touch the ground when you bring them back to the center.
Extra Tip: Try a fully floating cat that does the whole cat without touching the ground!
Water Exercises For Seniors
Grab the edge of the pool, a paddleboard, a noodle or your dog, kick your legs behind you.
Starting from a lower position with jumps that take you out of the water, your feet should return to the bottom of the pool when you land. The deeper you dive into the water, the harder it is for your quadriceps and butt to get you out there.
Extra Tip: To really work on the inner muscles, move as fast as possible on the top or bottom of the movement.
Water Aerobics Exercises Examples
Cross Knee to Elbow
When you stand, place an elbow on your body to touch your opposite knee, hold your core, and then change sides. Yeah, you’ll look like you’re dancing in the pool, but if anyone asks, just shout “the lucky charm is after me!” and they will leave you alone. Make the most of the pool and do this by going to the deepest part and bouncing slightly off your feet between each repetition.
Leave the row, paddle, paddle your boat to the preschool kids (though it’s a great workout too) and assemble your noodles like a bike pedaling your legs to propel it through the pool. First, you will feel the burn in your legs, but the cardio will catch up quickly.
This is one of the best water exercises on this list. Use a weight, make a normal bicep curl. The water resistance makes you work harder in both directions, especially if you use a special weight like the Aqualogix bells. With the fins, you can isolate different muscle groups by adjusting the water resistance.
Extra Tip: Be sure to keep the entire range of motion underwater.
Water Exercises For Lower Back Pain
Holding the edge of the pool, mark your legs from side to side (one at a time) like a swinging pendulum. These leg lifters are much easier than the Jane Fonda version because you have to push in both directions against the water. Make sure you relax and enjoy the gentle water massages your back.
Extra Tip: Raise your leg as much as possible to work the outer thigh. Also, if you feel any pain in your lower back, stop immediately.
Hold the noodles in front of you, push down until you are in a board position with your body in a straight line and your fingers at the bottom.
Extra Tip: This movement is much easier than the terrestrial version, because water helps to keep your weight, which means you can keep it longer!
Water Exercises For Knees
While the butterfly stroke is one of the best exercises for the shoulder, not many of us can do it. The next best way to get a good delta massage is pool weights, kettle-bells (yes, you can go to the water, do not just drop them or you can break the pool tiles), or even two noodles from the pool. Pool and lift it up and lower it directly from the sides.
Extra Tip: Keep the entire range of motion in the water to make the most of the extra resistance.
Pasta Table with Knee Brace
Noodle plank too easy for you? Try to bend your knees to your chest and then pull your legs back to the position of the board. The water will really push against you, so kick hard or you just turn around.
Extra Tip: If you turn the noodles, pretend you did it on purpose, like a seal in the zoo. Do not ask for fish, you don’t want to look greedy.
Water Exercises For Arthritis
Stand with both feet, jump from one side to the other as if you were a ski mogul. Water provides extra resistance, but also protects sensitive joints from shocks.
Extra Tip: Work with your arms as well, placing them at your side while you move.
Lie on the edge of the pool, open your legs like a V and bring them quickly with an ankle on top of each other. Open the legs again and connect them with the other ankle up. Make small quick movements to manipulate your quadriceps and inner thighs. In addition to footwork, your core needs to be engaged to prevent it from floating or sinking.
Extra Tip: If you aim for your toes, you will look like a synchronized swimmer, but it will also help you to get a better grip on your butt and quads.
Starting from a wide position, jump from side to side, touching your toe on the floor behind the leg on each side. On land, this cardiovascular movement works with the legs in jump and landing, but in the water it is a continuous move from side to side.
Water Exercises For Obese
Pasta Press down
Hold the noodles in front of you, push them down until they touch your legs, and then release them. If you need more resistance than the offerings of noodles, go to a Kettlebell or Aqualogix bell to really work your forearms.
Extra Tip: Imagine you are an ancient washerwoman. Or that you hate someone underwater.
Mount the noodles out of the pool like a bicycle, but this time use your arms to move back and forth to move it back across the pool. You will feel this through your chest, shoulders, upper back and even abdominal muscles.
Extra Tip: If it’s too much for your arms, do not hesitate to ride your legs on a bike.
Kick your legs on the water as you make a bag with your arms underwater at the speed of the boxer (or the “bus wheels” if you are more familiar with the lullabies than Mohammed Ali). It’s a race to see if your arms or legs will burn first! If this is too difficult, start by stepping on water for 1 minute and then with the speedbag for 1 minute.
Extra Tip: This is like when someone asks you to stroke your head and rub your belly, it just requires practice, but once you get it, you will feel good about it. (Although you may look like a “hyperactive 5 year old”).
This is not only for older people or people who are undergoing rehabilitation because of sports injuries, running through deep water is a big challenge.
If you have not tried it recently, start with a slow pace.
The deeper the water is, the harder it is. You can even use a deep water swim belt without touching the ground.
Extra Tip: There are 3 positions where you can do this (and all the plyometric moves listed here): neutral (both feet down), hanging (without touching your feet), and jumping (slightly bouncing from below)). Everyone has their own unique challenge, so try them all out!
Also consider getting water resistance training equipment to help you more effectively do these water exercises.