What better way to spend a hot August day than sitting by the pool sipping your favorite cold beverage?
Before you grab your book and retreat under summer's heat, take the plunge and give this pool workout a try. You will burn calories, strengthen your muscles, and move your joints safely through their full range of motion - all without dripping a bead of sweat!
Get the blood flowing and slowly bring up your heart rate by jogging around the pool for 5 minutes.
Grab a pool noodle, kick board, or even a beach ball to add a bit of resistance. If you don't have any of those things, you can still create plenty of resistance just by moving your body through the water. Open your hands, hold your fingers together and push through the water.
(Please note: I am a bit above the water in the photos so you can see the movement. Keep your body submerged as much as possible to benefit from the water's full resistance.)
With resistance coming from all sides, this chest fly variation also works the upper back. Begin by extending your arms out to the side, with your thumbs pointing to the sky. Keep your arms and weights submerged to get the full resistance of the water. With your arms extended, slowly bring your hands together in front of your chest. Then reverse the movement, squeezing your shoulder blades together as you bring your arms back as far as you can.
Work your lats and the front of your shoulders with this lat pulldown. Hold the weights in front of you, with arms extended, about shoulder distance apart. Engage your lats (side of the body, below arm pits) and push the weights down toward your thighs while keeping your upper body tall (don't bend into the move). Reverse direction and slowly bring your arms back to the starting position as you push the weights up through the water.
This chest press works your pecs and shoulders as you push the weights away from your body and into the water. As you reverse the move to return to the starting position, the pull and drag of the water works the muscles in your mid/upper back.
Work those triceps with a kick back. Lean forward, bring your arm to the side of your body and hold it in position. Bend your elbow then slowly extend your arm pushing the weight to the top of the water. (Pictures 1 & 2)
A single arm row begins in a similar starting position (picture 3), but for this movement you will fully extend your arm toward the floor of the pool, directly under your shoulder. Pull the weight up toward the side of your body, bending your elbow straight up toward the sky. Push back down to full extension. The pushing and pulling actions work most of the muscles in your upper body.
Burn some calories and build strength with this quick, effective pool circuit:
There are many, many more exercises you can do in the pool. Side leg raises, front kicks, and hip extensions work the muscles in your lower body. Torso twists, knee pull-ins, and side bends target the core muscles. You might even be able to do a handstand!
Moving your workout to the water offers many benefits and is a great way to change things up a bit. Working out in the water can improve your cardiovascular fitness as moving through the water requires more power than moving on land. The buoyancy of the water reduces stress on bones and joints, allowing you to jump, run, and hop without the high-impact that occurs when doing these movements on land.
Muscles must work throughout the whole movement and from all angles as the water provides resistance from all directions. Because the water supports your body weight, most people are able to work through a greater range of motion without overstressing their joints.
Jump in the pool, stay cool, and get that body moving. Then, sit back, relax, and enjoy a cold one - hey, it is summer after all!
Want some water weights? Try these:
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Pool noodles also work. Cut a noodle into two pieces and use one in each hand, or modify the movement to use the whole noodle.