Exercise is a big topic these days. There are lots of options readily available. Some people might cringe at the thought of using the family pool for that purpose, because swimming laps feels dull or cramped in a small pool. But wait – there are a lot of other options!
When working out in the pool, Lifescript.com suggests standing in water about waist deep. It will give your feet good contact with the pool floor, and your legs will still be able to support some of your weight. Also, wear water shoes to improved traction, and webbed gloves, which can add resistance, while increasing intensity, for water movements. Make sure to drink plenty of water during and after the workout.
With that great preparation, here are 10 pool exercises that will help you get in shape:
1) Spiderman. You get to climb walls like the action hero. Stand by the side of the pool and sweep your hands back and forth, while you run your legs up the side of the pool and then back down to the side of the pool. Alternate the lead leg each time while you perform 4 sets of climbs.
2) Pool plank. This is the water version of the proven core stabilizer. While standing on the pool floor, take a noodle – a long cylindrical piece of foam which floats, and hold it vertically in both hands. Press it down into the water and lean forward with your head out of the water. Try to keep stable for 1 to 2 minutes.
3) Chaos cardio. First, make sure to run with proper alignment, just like when you are running on land, so your core does the work of keeping you upright. Run a zigzag pattern from one end of the pool to the other to create currents, then run straight through the water motion you have stirred up. Do this in 3 minute intervals.
4) One legged balance. This is a great exercise to strengthen your leg and core muscles, without the risk of a fall. Stand in waist high water, lift one leg up and place the middle of a noodle under that foot. (The noodle will float up into a U-shape around your foot). Keep your hands by your side, and balance for 1 minute. Switch legs to work out the other side. If you have kids, you can have them jog in circles around you to create current – if you’re ready to really challenge your balance.
5) Fly backs. This will work out your upper chest, back and arms, and is great for posture. Start in a lunge position – have your right knee bent and left leg extended straight behind you. Reach your arms straight out in front of you chest high. Open your arms out to the sides to get the resistance and work your upper body, then return them to the starting position, to complete one rep. Do 4 sets of 8 to 15 reps, switching legs each time you lunge forward.
6) Cardio/resistance combo. This one works out your upper body and core, while raising your heart rate. Straddle a noodle, then peddle around the pool as fast as you can, while doing the arm portion of fly backs. Sit up tall and don’t lean, to keep your core doing the work. Do this for 3 minutes.
7) Core ball static challenge. This is a great core exercise. Stand in the lunge position, with right leg bent and left extended behind you. Take an inflated ball about 6 inches in diameter, and hold it in front of your navel, to engage your core. Switch legs. Do this for 30 seconds a side.
8) Core ball – version B. Start in the same position. Hold the ball with your arms outstretched, with the ball just under the surface of the water. This will challenge your core even more.
9 ) Cardio core ball running. This is old fashioned cardio and core strength training, in one great exercise. Take the 6 inch inflated ball and hold it directly in front of your navel. Run across the pool as fast as you can for 1 minute. Rest for 30 seconds and repeat 3 more times, increasing speed each time.
10) Cardio Core ball – version B. Tuck the ball under your right arm, waist high. Run while keeping both shoulders facing forward (and don’t twist the ball). Run for one minute, then put the ball against your left arm and run for another minute. Repeat this 4 times, faster each time.
These exercises provide a wonderful cross training workout for people like runners who want a workout, but to also take some strain off overworked legs and knees.
Becky Flanigan writes freelance articles for In The Swim. She has 3 kids with her wonderful husband – two boys and a girl – and two lovely golden retrievers. She spends time cross training by performing pool exercises, and enjoys hours spent at her family swimming pool, watching the kids and dogs play and have fun. She is also a dedicated runner, and diligently training for her first half marathon. Follow her @Becky_Flanigan