Are you sick of the same old gym workouts and classes but still want a great workout to blast the calories? With the weather heating up there is no better time to get into the pool with a new kick butt workout routine. With water being a great exercise tool you will learn the benefits of aquatic training and I am sure I will have you questioning why you didn’t think of getting in the pool earlier!
Before we get into the exercises I’d like to tell you two fun facts about water that you may not know. Why only two? Good question! There are so many and I am sure I will have more in future articles but today I will tell you my favourite two. Let’s talk about weight first; if you are in water that is chest depth then your weight decreases to 30% of your land body weight. Here is the cool thing: being in water where you cannot stand decreases your body weight to only 10% of your land weight. Someone pass me the scales quick, I will now be weighing myself in water! The other fun thing is what the water does to your heart rate, being in a pool that is colder than 30 degrees lowers your heartrate by up to 15 beats per minute. That means that if you were to work at the same VO2 (volume of oxygen) as you would doing land based exercise then your heartrate will be lower in the water vs on land. So you may be thinking why does this matter and trust me it does… this is important because it means in the water you can train harder with less stress and you get fitter faster. I mean, who doesn’t want that!?
Ok so let’s get to the exercises…
This is probably the most obvious and easiest form of aquatic training and I can say this is one that I don’t do often as I am more of a high intensity girl when it comes to water. In saying that, though, there are still so many benefits of swimming, some of which include: Keeping your heart rate up while causing minimal stress on your joints, it builds endurance, muscle strength and cardiovascular fitness, helps maintain a healthy weight, heart and lungs, it is great for toning muscles and provides an all over body workout. There are many varieties of swimming so here are some ideas; if you don’t have access to a pool here are other alternative options, beach swimming, lake or river swimming, there are even these amazing things called swim spas which are incredible. You can set your goals for your swimming workout which might include: time, how many laps, intervals, or using different strokes, the options are endless.
Don’t swim? No worries we got you covered.
Deep Water Running
One of my many favourites but I just love running in water. This is my saviour if it’s raining outside and I don’t want to run on the treadmill, it’s also great if you’re injured or suffering from some muscle soreness. You want to run in a pool where you can’t touch the bottom and use a flotation belt so you don’t sink. It’s a simple exercise and is very similar to running on land minus the impact on your joints. Incorporate intervals or different speeds to intensify your workout.
High Intensity Interval Training
High Intensity interval training (HIIT) – this type of training is huge in the fitness industry right now and is super effective in increasing your fitness as well as burning a ton of calories. Different types of intervals include: Tabata which is 20 seconds of high intensity followed by 10 seconds of rest and repeated 8 times to total 4 minutes. For a 45 minute workout you need 8 rounds, including one for cooldown and stretch. Fartlek training is also a popular choice for athletes. This type includes continuous training or steady state with speed intervals. There are many different ways to complete this training but one example is Jog for 4 minutes, sprint for 2 minutes and continue as long as you need to. You can do this with a wide range of exercises including agility and power training (also known as plyometric training), jumps, cross country skiing, running, boxing and swimming. Another example includes a pelter workout, this one I enjoy doing with boxing movements. A pelter is 4 minutes with 3 exercises performed for 20 seconds each, they should all be high intensity moves to ensure the heart rate gets up. A simple example could be 20 seconds of straight punches followed by 20 seconds of alternating front kicks and 20 seconds of uppercuts but you can make it more complex and add in more combination moves for variety. There are many other types of intervals to use but these ones are my favourite.
Looking to do some athletic training in the water then why not use plyometric and power training?
Plyometrics is a type of training that involves fast, explosive movements. This training helps to improve power output and sports performance. Because your movements are slowed in the water, using power training helps increase the resistances of exercises so when you perform them on land you can perform them with more speed and endurance. Plyometric exercises in water include: tuck jumps, power lunges, single leg hops and split jumps. Depending on the purpose of your workout will depend on your workout time, repetitions and intensity. for example the more intense the workout the shorter it may be or the more rest you may need to encorporate. See your local aquatic training expert for more information or another great resource is Rick McAvoy aquatics. He is a leader in the aquatics industry and is always posting great articles about aquatic training.
And finally number 5. This is probably the one that I am most passionate about. It has a reputation for generally being for older adults but the trend is quickly changing. Aqua aerobics is generally a 45 minute workout and it’s not just for the oldies. It can also improve your strength, endurance, power and help with weight loss. With minimal stress on your joints you are able to push harder than on land. It is an all over body workout and if you are into group classes then this one is for you. Normally set to music, it will get your heart pumping as you have fun and enjoy your workout. As a group fitness instructor, this is my favourite class to teach and I often have clients surprised by how hard they are able to work. But they are even more surprised at how fun it is. Classes are offered almost everywhere there is a pool and in Australia we have some incredible instructors.
So there you have it. I hope I have inspired some of you to get into the water and get the blood pumping. There are almost endless options to vary each workout and no chance you can get bored with so many interval options and variations on exercises. With the weather heating up I hope you can get outside or indoors for those that prefer the heated pools, and get creative with your workouts. The key to a good fitness routine is to always keep your body guessing!
Illustration: Lexi Keelan