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Pool Exercises

A pool provides everything you need to get in a great workout, whether you’re an experienced fitness enthusiast or just getting started on your journey to health and wellness. The water supports your body weight, making it easy to complete exercise movements that might otherwise be challenging, like push-ups and squats, and the water’s resistance helps tone muscles you can’t see easily—like the abdominal wall or glutes—when standing on land. To use your pool as part of your workout routine, incorporate these eight exercises into your weekly regimen.

The benefits of pool exercises

Whether you’re looking to improve your swimming or just want a great workout, these eight pool exercises are perfect for anyone and everyone. Swimming is a low-impact activity that’s easy on the joints, and the water provides natural resistance to help build strength. Plus, the pool is a great place to cool off on hot summer days. So dive in and give these exercises a try!

Pool Exercises

1) Water walking or jogging (forward, backward, and sideways).

Walking or jogging in water is a great way to get your heart rate up and improve your cardiovascular fitness. Plus, it’s low impact, so it’s easy on your joints. To get started, simply walk forward, backward, and sideways in the shallow end of the pool. As you become more comfortable, you can increase the depth of the water and the intensity of your workout.

2) Forward and side lunges

Start in a standing position with your feet hip-width apart and your arms at your sides. Step forward with your right leg and lower into a lunge, keeping your right knee over your ankle and your left leg straight. Push off your right leg to return to standing, then repeat on the other side. You can also do lunges side to side instead of forward and back.

3) One leg stand/balance

Start by standing on one leg in the shallow end of the pool. Use your arms to help balance yourself as you raise your other leg up so that your thigh is parallel to the floor. Hold this position for 30 seconds before switching legs. As you get stronger, try holding the position for 60 seconds.

4) Sidestepping.

Start by standing in the shallow end of the pool with the water at waist level. Step to your right with your right foot, then quickly follow with your left foot. Continue sidestepping until you reach the deep end of the pool. You can increase the intensity of this move by picking up the pace or by holding dumbbells at your sides.

5) Hip kickers.

Start by holding on to the side of the pool with both hands. Kick your legs up and down, making sure to keep your hips level the entire time. You can make this exercise easier by keeping your knees bent, or challenge yourself by straightening your legs. Do 20 reps. Bridge. Lie flat on your back with your arms at your sides and feet in the water, heels at the edge of the pool’s steps. Push off against the steps to raise your hips into a bridge position (i.e., butt raised off the ground). Hold for 10 seconds, then lower back down to start position. Complete 10 reps before taking a break or switching exercises.

6) Deep water bicycle.

The deep water bicycle is one of the best pool exercises because it works your entire body. It’s also great for toning your legs, arms, and core. To do this exercise, you’ll need a floatation device like a noodles or dumbbells. Start by holding on to the edge of the pool with your hands. Then, kick your legs out in front of you and pedaling as if you were riding a bike. You can make this exercise more challenging by pedaling faster or adding resistance with the noodles or dumbbells.

7) Arm raises.

Start by holding on to the side of the pool with both arms. Raise one arm up overhead, keeping your elbow close to your ear, and then lower it back down. Repeat with the other arm. Do 10 reps total. Make sure you do this move slowly and deliberately so that you don’t hit the water too hard. Single leg press.: Begin in a shallow end of the pool, facing the deep end.

Plant one foot firmly in front of you so that your knee is bent at about 90 degrees and place the heel of your opposite foot on top of it (also bent at about 90 degrees). Extend both arms out straight in front of you as if you were trying to touch an imaginary wall or someone who was standing there behind you; keep them shoulder height and parallel to each other as if they were glued together in that position.

8) Standing knee lift.

Start by standing in the water with your feet shoulder-width apart and holding onto the pool edge. Bend your right knee and raise your leg until your thigh is parallel to the ground. Hold for two seconds, then slowly lower your leg back to the starting position. Repeat with your left leg. Do 10 reps on each side.

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