WE all usually think of pool workouts as place to rehab injuries mostly. But working in the pool is one of my favorite add ins to any strength training program. You can totally build your fitness levels while safeguarding yourself from overuse and injuries.
Water workouts are favored by seniors, pregnant women, beginners and super advanced athletes. The water really does offer something great for all levels and people.
When standing in chest deep water, an athlete only weighs 10 percent their body weight, which means they can work out harder at higher intensity levels, several days in a row.
When I have a client that needs to get in specific shape for certain event, (ie. an actor client for a film) we can safely train back to back days by adding in pool workouts in between for high intensity training but with less risk of serious injury, as opposed to doing “two a days” which will only tear the client down and make them immobile and debilitating sore. What good is all the training, if you can’t function and move properly? yuck-
Also, the resistance in the water is 12 percent more than air.
Working out in a pool for 30 minutes is similar to working out on land for 2 hours.
You just get more bang for buck and in less time too.
Water also forces to athletes to work their muscles both eccentrically and concentrically. This allows the equal ratio of strength and reciprocal contraction and relaxation of the muscles.
I like to apply the same principles I have with my land workouts to my pool workouts. A warm up, some cardio, some functional training, some strength training, and some flexibility work.
Almost any exercise you do on land can be done in the water. For both upper and lower body exercises, you can use additional equipment for extra resistance such as water weights, hand paddles, leg resistance, boots, and bungie cords.
For functional and sports specific training, I love to use athletic equipment in the water. For instance, with my golfers, I use a golf club and we will work on swinging through the water. Not only will the golfer get to work on the mechanics of their swing, but core stability and balance as well.
Keep in mind, just like on land, proper body positioning and form is important in the water too.
An example of a 30 minute pool workout
Standing in the shallow end or in chest deep water.
1 minute jumping jacks (just legs, no arms)
1 minute high knees
1 minute running in place football drills
Walk the shallow end of the pool from wall to wall.
Jog the shallow end of the pool from wall to wall.
repeat both with resistance (hand paddles or water hand weights)
Swim full laps with any stroke.
(can be done with extra water resistance or no resistance at all)
In chest deep water
Lunges to a front kick: Standing on your right leg, lunge back on your left leg, then bring your left leg forward and perform a kick. Use your arms for balance and push the water forward when lunging back. Push the water backward when front kicking. 15 reps each side.
Hamstring curls: Stand on one leg and perform a hamstring curl with the opposite leg. Alternate while standing still.
20 reps each side
Skateboards: Imagine that you are standing with your right leg on a skate board and pushing off with your left. Stand on right leg, knee slightly bent. Left leg should be forward. Push with the left leg, pulling it through and behind your right.
15 reps each leg
Heel clicks: Jump and click your right heel to your left. You can perform these while moving forward then backward.
15 reps each leg
Upper Body (you can add resistance here with hand paddles/gloves or water weights or no resistance at all):
Sweep in/out: Stand with one leg in front and one back like a split stance. With arms held out to the side, hold hand paddles or water dumbbells just below the surface, sweeping your arms forward, then back to the starting position.
Breast stroke arms: Using a split stance hold hand paddles or dumbbells just below the surface of the water with arms relaxed. Extend arms directly in front of your body then sweep them out to the sides simulating a swimming breast stroke.
Curls: With elbows bent and arms at your side, alternate pushing down with one arm and pulling up with the other. Palms can be up or down. (or do one set of each)
Push ups: While standing in the pool by the pool side, place arms shoulder width apart on pool edge. Press weight through your hands and raise your elbows slightly bent. Hold 3 seconds and slowly lower back into pool.
10-15 reps (working your way up to more with every workout)
Stick swings: With a tennis racket, baseball or softball bat, golf club, or hockey stick in hand, move the object through the water as you would in the game. Use forehand and backhand stokes, swing the bat both left and right, practice your golf swing, or take shots on goal with hockey sticks.
Upper Back, Hamstrings and Calves Stretch:
Put your feet in front and stand on your heals. Reach forward with straight arms while holding on to the side of the pool (or a pool noodle) and lean your torso forward. Feel the stretch in your lower back, hamstrings and calves. Hold for 30 seconds.
Upper Back and Inner Thighs:
In standing position, separate your legs wide enough to feel the stretch in your inner thighs. Hold on to the side of the pool (or a pool noodle) with straight arms. Lean your torso all the way forward and reach with your arms until you feel the stretch in your upper back as well. Hold for 30 seconds
In standing position, hold the side of the pool (or a pool noodle) with one hand. Bend your far knee and pull your foot up toward your bottom until you squeeze your hamstrings and feel the stretch in your quadriceps. Close both knees together and keep your back straight. Hold for 30 seconds on each side.
Start in a lunge position with the left leg on a low step. Bend the right knee and shift your body weight forward so your hips drop down. You’ll feel this in the front of the left hip.
Hold for 30 seconds on each side
Hip and Lower Back
Stand on your left leg in chest-deep water. Grab your right knee with both arms and pull it tightly to the chest while maintaining good posture.
As with any program there are precautions you should take. If you’re not the greatest swimmer, but you still want to get the benefits of a pool workout, don’t attempt the lap swimming and stay in the very shallow end. I’m a safety girl, so I advise my clients who use their home pools to either leave the pool workouts for us to do together, or suggest they do them when someone else is nearby. If you don’t have a home pool, you can find a community center or fitness center that does (usually they are indoors for year round use).
Keep in mind, its safer to not utilize a pool alone.
Be smart. Be healthy. Be fit.
Looking out for you…