Working out in the pool doesn't have to be just swimming laps! You can still beat the summer heat and get in a great workout that burns calories and tones your muscles by taking several "dry-land" workout moves and doing them in the water, giving you extra resistance without straining your joints. Below are several fun, low-impact pool exercises you can do that don't involve laps, but will still shape up your muscles and give you a great cardiovascular workout.
1. Pool Plank
Planks are one of the most well-known core-strengthening exercises around, but many people struggle with them if their arms aren't strong enough to hold up their body. With pool planks, the water becomes the great equalizer, allowing you to perform planks with much less demand on your arms. Simply stand upright in the water, and hold a foam pool noodle horizontally across the surface of the water. Your arms should be extended forward (elbows slightly bent) and your hands should be gripping the noodle palms down, like you're riding a motorcycle. Now push the noodle down vertically into the water, and then lean forward until your entire body is at an incline. Your head should stay above the water during this exercise. Try to hold yourself stable in this position for 30 to 90 seconds.
2. Spiderman Climb
Just like Spiderman is known for being a wall-crawler, this exercise will have you crawling the pool wall like a superhero. Stand close to the side of the pool, and briskly walk up the pool wall, waving your arms in a back-and-forth motion in order to stabilize your upper body. Walk back down in the same manner, and then alternate your starting leg for your next set. This exercise works wonders for strengthening your core, as well as your hamstrings, quadriceps and calves.
3. Chest Flyes
This exercise is a great example of using the water as resistance to help build up your muscles. Stand in a lunging position, with your left leg bent slightly forward and your right leg extended straight behind you. Make sure that your lunge is low enough to have everything but your head under the water. Extend your arms out to your sides, with your hands open but fingers close together. Now act like you're clapping your hands by bringing your arms together (at chest height) and having your palms touch together with thumbs up. Now open your arms back out to your sides again to complete the movement. Perform about 4 sets of 10 to 15 reps, alternating your forward leg with each set. This exercise works your chest, shoulders and back muscles, and also contributes to better posture.
4. Core Ball Run
You can use a small rubber ball (roughly 6 to 8 inches in diameter) for this exercise. Using both hands, hold the ball directly in front of your navel while running as fast as you can from one side of the pool to the other. Take about a 30-45 second rest, then repeat the movement, running back across the pool to your starting point. Perform 3 to 4 sets, and see if you can increase your speed each time. This is an excellent cardio/core-strengthening workout.
Some Additional Pool Tips
It's a good idea to follow these general tips when it comes to workouts you can do in the pool:
- Stay in waist-deep water. If you try to do these pool workouts too far into the deep end, some of them will be much more difficult while others won't be feasible at all. Keeping your feet on the pool floor will enable your legs to bear some of your weight, and ultimately give you more control over your movements.
- Stay hydrated! The ironic thing about exercising in a pool is that although you're surrounded by water, you can actually become dehydrated just as quickly as if you were working out on dry land. Keep some bottles of water handy at all times.
- Consider wearing water shoes, because they can give you better traction, and can keep your feet from being scraped or scratched (some pool floors are made of a rougher, less skin-friendly material).
Now hit the pool and have fun!