Have you ever tried water training before? Here’s what you need to know to get started.

When it comes to building lean muscle, burning fat, and achieving your fitness goals, water might just be the best exercise tool you haven’t used yet.
And no, we’re not just talking about swimming: You can take in-water fitness classes, like aqua-cycling and aqua-yoga, or create your own in-water resistance exercises.

Why exercising in water is good for you

Pool exercises can provide the same health benefits as other workouts: calories burned, muscles strengthened, improved cardiovascular health, and more balanced mental health. But they also have unique benefits, most of which stem from two facts:

Water reduces body weight

The movements you make in the water are less taxing on your joints and bones because the water reduces the load on your body weight, research shows. This makes pool workouts ideal for building muscle without the stress that running and other weight-bearing exercises can put on your knees, ankles, and other joints.

This reduction in stress on the joints and bones makes pool exercises a great option for people with pain from injuries or chronic conditions that affect the joints, such as osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. Aquatic exercise is also very beneficial for older people because as we get older we tend to lose our flexibility and become more sore and stiff. A less strenuous exercise environment like a swimming pool is great for everyone, but even better for older people, whose body pains aren’t always so forgiving.

Water provides constant resistance

Horizontally, water is 800 times denser than air, giving it unique multidirectional resistance. This means that as you move through the water, your body fights the resistance of all the water around you, vertically, horizontally and in rotation. This is why it takes much more effort and time to take a few steps in a swimming pool than on dry land. It challenges your muscles in a unique way. Your muscles have to contract more to overcome the added resistance of the water. That said, as beneficial as pool workouts are, it’s important to perform them in a way that suits your swimming abilities. For example, if you cannot swim for long periods of time, it is essential to exercise in a shallow pool or with the aid of a float.

Additionally, if you have a chronic illness or medical condition that may interfere with your ability to exercise safely (or exercise safely in water) , it is advisable to consult your doctor before trying this type of training.

7 pool exercises to burn fat

Try these pool exercises that don’t require swimming and can burn lots of calories to help you reach your fitness goals. These multi-joint, multi-muscle resistance exercises help you build muscle mass, which helps you burn fat. These exercises prioritize large, compound movements to get your heart rate up and work a wide range of muscles at the same time. To start, try to do the seven exercises in order, in a circuit, doing 30 seconds of work and 30 seconds of rest. Give yourself two minutes of rest between sets. Start with two sets, then gradually increase to eight sets. Increase the frequency, duration and intensity of your exercises as your physical condition improves.

Perform this workout twice a week. This is a low-impact conditioning routine ideal for the days between other lifting and aerobic workouts (which should be done two to three times a week). There’s no minimum to how often you need to perform these exercises to benefit from them, and as long as you factor in rest days (which will promote good recovery by giving your muscles time to heal), you won’t overdo it.

1. Run

Staying in the shallow end of the pool, run from side to side (the shallower the water, the heavier your body weight will be, but the deeper the water, the more you will feel resistance to your movements). You will need to lean forward from the ankles, pump your arms and bring your legs to a high position before extending them downward to move forward. You can increase the downward resistance by holding a weighted object at chest level, or you can make the forward motion more difficult by holding a plank in front of you with your arms fully extended. Pool-specific ankle weights and swimming parachutes (a piece of fabric that you attach to your waist that creates resistance behind you as you move through the water) can also increase resistance.

2. Poolside push-ups

Place your hands on the edge of the pool, slightly more than shoulder-width apart, contract your muscles, shift your weight into your upper body so that your toes lift off the bottom of the pool, and lift your torso out of the pool until your arms are fully extended. Pause, then slowly lower your body back down and start again. If this exercise seems too difficult for your chest, shoulders, or triceps, or if you are unable to perform many reps with good form, use your lower body for support by using your legs to jump from the bottom. It can also help make this exercise a full-body exercise.

3. Squat Jumps

Stand in the shallow end of the pool with your feet shoulder-width apart and your toes pointing slightly outward. Squat down by sitting on your hips and heels with flat feet, then straighten your hips, knees and ankles by pushing off the balls of your feet and jumping as high in the air as you can. The water should be shallow enough that crouching doesn’t cause your head to dip underwater. Land on your tiptoes, then immediately squat down and repeat. Depending on your comfort level, you can crouch low enough to submerge your head underwater. To make the exercise more difficult, move faster. This will create more resistance and force you to do more reps in the same amount of time.

4. Kick to the side

Stand in the shallow end of the pool and move side to side across the pool. Be sure to keep the core of the body engaged and the toes pointing forward.
To increase the effort, hold your hands out to the side or wear a pool-approved mini resistance band around your legs.

5. Lying Scissor Kick

Start in water deep enough that your feet are off the ground. Standing on the edge of the pool or a flotation device, raise your legs so that your body is in a horizontal position, keeping your spine neutral from the back of your head to your tailbone. Keeping the knee flexible, kick from the hip (like kicking a soccer ball), whipping or kicking through the toes. Repeat the exercise with the other leg. Move your legs faster and kick harder to increase resistance (and workout!). You should create white splashes on the surface of the water. Be sure to keep your body in a straight line from the back of your head to your tailbone when kicking. This will increase the strain on your glutes (the biggest muscles in your body). You can also wrap a resistance band around your legs to add an extra challenge.

6. Squeeze to row

Start standing holding a kickboard against your chest and lower yourself into a squat position so your chest is submerged in the pool. Contract your body and stretch your arms and board forward against the water, then immediately bring your arms and board back to your chest. You should feel your back muscles working.

7. Jumping Jacks

Stand upright in the pool with your head out of the water (as deep as you want it to be), feet together and arms at your sides. Jump to both sides raising your arms above your head, then reverse the movement by bringing your feet together and bringing your arms out to the sides. If you are distracted by splashing, raise your arms only to water level. Here, the easiest way to increase exercise intensity is to increase your speed.

* criptom strives to transmit health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE, the information given can not replace the advice of a health professional.