Water Exercise Workouts – Are they For You?

There’s a new wave of water workouts taking over gyms in the many areas of the country, especially the northeast.

More gyms around the country are offering water exercise classes, getting people in the pool and signing up for a challenging workout.

Now, don’t start thinking this is a bunch of seniors in a pool barely moving and obviously not getting much of a workout!

The level of intensity, the tools that they’re using, the toys that they get to play that’s what makes it different.


This is not your grandma’s water aerobics class.  NOT

Instructors say water exercises aren’t just good for your joints but they also help restore sore muscles.

When you take serious exercising into the pool, you can still have the intensity without the same level of compressive forces to the joints, so you can do it more frequently and not feel as beat up.

There are also yoga classes that can almost do the same thing, but the water creates a more supportive environment.

It can be a very tough workout even for an athlete.

The class in the Tri-State area of New York uses yoga boards and it’s meant to supplement traditional land based workouts, while still working key muscle groups.

It appears many gym goers are having fun diving into these new routines.

Gyms are now riding the popularity wave of water-based exercise. Mountain climbers, jogging in place, and squats are all high-intensity exercises usually done on land but are now being brought to the water. It’s water aerobics taken to a new level.

Many serious workout guys are looking at this as an alternative once a week workout or done during the summer months when it’s nice to be in a pool.

This is not a total substitute for all your gym workouts.


More gyms around the country are offering water exercise classes, getting people in the pool and pumped up for a challenging workout.

Seems like a lot of people are having fun diving into these new water routines. It’s a nice change of pace.

Many gyms say its aqua classes are up in enrollment 10-percent year over year with more classes in development, and the Aquatic Exercise Association reports the number of certified aquatic fitness professionals has jumped by over 50-percent since 2009.


The Best Way To Start.

Cardiovascular: The Warm-Up

Swimming laps is one of the best things you can do to strengthen your heart and lungs. If you’re a decent swimmer and enjoy swimming laps, spend a few minutes a day warming up before you do your strength training.  You could throw in some stretching, also.

Lots of big gyms have a pool, so it would be easy

Otherwise, walking or running in the pool is just as effective. It may sound easy, but just try it!  If you go in up to your shoulders and run, you’ll get your heart rate up with no problem.

It may be very difficult to sustain at first, but try to build up your time to at least twenty minutes.

One very important thing to remember is to keep your feet as fully planted as possible while you do your pool exercises, especially when walking and running. If you tiptoe , your calves will be killing you the next day. Keep your heels down!



There are exercises you can do for every muscle group, and your risk of injury is extremely low.

Think about exercises you do with free weights. The beauty of resistance training is that it is very easily modified. Anything that you do with dumbbells can be taken into the water and made into a water exercise.

If you already have a routine with free weights, you can create your own water exercises based on the exercises that you do at the gym.  They essentially will achieve the same results and challenge you more and in different ways.


    •  For the quadriceps, hamstrings and your butt muscles:
      Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart in shallow water with your arms bent at your sides, hands out flat with fingers together and palms up.
      Slowly bend your knees into a squat position, sticking your butt out behind you.
      Do not allow your knees to extend beyond your toes, but try to simulate a sitting-in-a-chair position. Cupping your hands, keeping your back neutral (not arched) and abs tucked in, exhale and stand up straight.
      Turn your hands to return to the starting position. Be very careful to maintain perfect form throughout this exercise.


Hips & Glutes

  • For hips and butt muscles:
  • Facing the edge of the pool, hold on with both hands and slowly bring one leg out to your side, keeping your back straight.
  • Exhale while you bring it up as high as you comfortably can without turning your ankle.
  • Bring it back down and repeat, doing a full set for each leg.


  • For glutes:
  • KICK! You can breeze around on a kickboard or hold onto the side of the pool, but the scissoring motion is great for the butt and hamstrings, and it indirectly tones the abdominals.


Back & Shoulders

  • For the back, shoulders, and arms:
  • Do pull-ups. Grasp the side of the pool and lower your body as far as your arms will allow.
  • Keeping your knees bent, exhale and pull yourself up as high as you can.

  • For the chest:
  • Standing in water up to your neck, reach your hands out to each side, with your elbows unbent and your palms forward. Slowly bring them together, clapping your hands, and then turn your hands to return to the starting position.



  • For triceps:
  • Stand straight, with your open hands palms-down on the surface of the water.
  • Keeping your elbows locked at your sides, exhale and push down until your hands are beside your hips.
  • Turn your hands and bring them back to the starting position.


  • take some water weights into the pool.
  • Stand neck-deep in water
  • Do kick-backs



  • For biceps:
  • Bring your open hands to the side of each hip, palms forward, with your fingers close together.
  • Exhale as you slowly bend at the elbow to bring your hands toward your shoulders.


  • Take water weights into the pool and do curls like you would at the gym.  Just do them in the water with you standing in neck-deeep water



  • For abs:
  • you can do crunches on the deck next to the pool,


  • stand with your back to the side of the pool, holding onto the rim with your elbows.
  • Keeping your knees unbent, slowly bring both legs up to a sitting position and hold it for ten seconds. Do not hold your breath, though.
  • Then bend at the knee to bring them down, repeating this as many times as you’d like to. Be careful to keep your back straight throughout this exercise.



Here is a video that shows you a few more good exercises for the pool.



I got all these ideas from articles I found after seeing an article on the new intensive water exercises that are being introduced across the country.  I would not have written this article if it was about all the traditional water exercises you often see where everyone is barely moving and you can’t imagine that they achieving any benefit.

This new style of water exercising emphasizes strength and not just flexibility.  I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a change in their routine workouts.

See ya at the pool!