All along if you thought pool workouts are good for rehabilitating healing muscles and joints only, you might have misunderstood or been misinformed. Hydro power workouts are good for your cardiovascular stamina, strength and flexibility. All exercise you do on land can be done in the water too! When adapted to the pool, hydro power workouts help burn twice the calories of land exercises. It is a fun change of pace from the gym, boot camp or running track!
But hitting the pool to workout is not merely splashing around and bobbing up and down. A lot depends on structuring hydro power workouts. You can make hydro power workouts as primary exercise or an adjunct. From kids to teens, families, middle-aged and older adults – everybody jump in to get wet and fit.
Hydro-power workouts – Key points
More specifically for first-timers, here are few things to know while exercising in the pool.
- Water creates a natural resistance 800 times greater than air
- Frequency, intensity and volume determine results.
- Deep water is best for cardio work
- Chest deep water is best for interval, power and plyometrics.
- Arthritis, fibromyalgia, back pain, joint replacements, neurological and balance conditions - before taking the plunge consult health care provider.
- To join in, you need to know how to swim.
- Choose a safe pool to do hydro-power workouts.
- Hydro-power workouts classes are held in shallow water, or deep water with the aid of a buoyancy belt.
- Hydro-power workouts look hard. But they are fun and functional. Water can also feel relaxing.
- You will tone up, build strength and endurance, and beat cellulite.
- 30 minutes hydro-power workouts gives similar benefits of a 2 hour land based workout.
- Risk of injury is extremely low.
- Great option to exercise even with mild injury as water has a cushioning element and offers support to muscles and joints.
- If the water is warm, hydro-power workouts can even have a soothing effect on aching joints and muscles.
- If the weather is hot, hydro-power workouts can keep you cool while you burn calories, shed extra pounds and get in shape.
- Hydro-power workouts reduce wear and tear of muscles and joints.
- Hydro-power workouts are based on time rather on repetitions or numbers.
- Due to the buoyancy and cooling effects of water, your heart rate will be lower in water.
Hydro power workouts – Prepare for the pool
No special equipment is required for hydro-power workouts. All that you need is your favorite one-piece suit designed for aquatic fitness. Optional requirements are a pair of goggles, a swim cap and the water shoes. For guys wearing a jammer (similar to bicycle shorts) is best.
Typically you need 5-10 minutes of warming-up to get your body ready for hydro-power workouts. Remember, the warm-ups should loosen up your muscles and joints, get the blood flowing, acclimatize to water and get the heart rate pumped up (it would back down soon).
Pool rules you need to know for your safety:
- Wear water shoes and swim cap.
- Begin by practicing the upper and lower body moves separately.
- Do hydro-power workouts in chest-deep water.
- Buy water exercising accessories like water gloves, water paddles, aquatic hand buoys from pool stores and sporting good stores only.
Begin with simple water walking. Take slow strides in waist-high water. Walk back and forth in water. Swing along your arms. Tighten your abdominal muscles. Don't slouch but hold your spine straight and walk with your feet flat against the pool floor. Continue few strides at the same speed. Gradually increase the intensity of water walking. Stretch your legs straight to take long, swift strides. You may take few strides at this pace and end up with a minute or two of water jogging so as to get the heart rate up. In total, spend 5-10 minutes.
Here are very easy ones to gain confidence and get a hang of exercising in water.
The skips – Hydro power workout
- Skip forward, the full length or width of the pool
- Then skip backward till the starting point
- Repeat 10 times or 50 seconds.
- Rest for a minute and repeat.
The side kick – Hydro power workout
- Stand in waist to chest deep water.
- Recollect your karate kicks.
- Stand on right leg and kick out to the side with left leg.
- Repeat 5 times with right leg and then switch legs.
- Return to start position.
- Continue swinging right leg forward and back for 30 seconds.
- Reverse position and repeat the exercise with left leg.
The Lunges – Hydro power workout
- In chest deep water, keep upper body straight
- Keep shoulders back and relaxed and chin up
- Step forward with one leg
- Lower hips until both knees are bent at 90 degree angle
- Ensure front knee is directly above your ankle
- Let not the other knee touch the floor
- Try high kicks in all directions
- Incorporate water dumbbells.
The Jump Lunges – Hydro power workout
- Stand in water up to your waist
- Be in a static lunge position
- In a single movement, hop off the pool floor
- Switch position of the front and back legs before landing
- Ensure movement is quick and precise
- Keep core tight.
No. of times: 2 to three times per week
- Stand in water with feet shoulder-width apart
- Hands on hips.
- Move slowly clockwise and anti-clockwise
- Make eight large circles with hips
You are ready for the side leap hydro-power workout
- Keep feet together and arms down by your side.
- Squat down slightly
- Look to your left.
- Raise your arms to shoulder level
- Jump about two feet to the left
- Extend right leg to the side
- Land on the ball of left foot
- Bring both feet together
- Push into a standing position
- Lower arms
- Do 4/5 jumps with left leg
- Repeat with right leg.
Squat step hydro-power workout
- Stand with feet together
- Put arms down at your sides.
- Raise both arms to shoulder level.
- Step left with left foot
- Squat until thighs are nearly parallel with bottom of the pool
- Keep head above water
- Ensure chest is lifted.
- Bring right foot toward the left foot
- Stand up and lower arms to your sides.
- Repeat four times with left leg and then right leg.
- Return to starting position.
Try this proven hydro-power workout- burns about 100 calories in only 10 minutes. Provided you exercise for 3 minutes, jog for 30 seconds between exercises. For desired results, perform these workouts 2-3 times a week. These are workouts recommended by Mary E. Sanders, an exercise scientist at the University of Nevada, Reno.
The Jump and Dig hydro power workout
The lower-body move will benefit the abs. The upper body move is for your oblique, the muscles that wrap around torso.
- Focus on lower-body moves.
- Spread legs apart (a wide stance)
- Jump like a frog into water
- Bring your knees to the surface.
- Land on the pool floor
Now, move to work out the upper body.
- At surface level place hands together to form a scoop
- Reach down
- Scoop back up without breaking the surface.
- Move first left, then right.
The scissor press hydro power workout
Tone your legs and butt with the scissor press workout. It involves the legs swapping their positions while the body is in water. Aquatic hand buoys, water paddles and water buoys help in making this workout very intense.
- Take position in such a way that the right foot is at the back and left foot is in the front.
- Flex your knees
- Jump and switch legs
- >Extend arms out to the sides at the water's surface
- Keep shoulders down and back
- Let the elbows slightly bend
- Press arms down to the sides
- Back up the surface
- Get back to the first position
- Repeat a number of times.
The curls – Upper body hydro power workout
- Bend your elbows
- Position arms at your side.
- Push down with one arm
- Pull up with the other arm
- Keep palms up or down.
The pistons – Upper body hydro power workout
- Stand in split-stance position
- Hold dumbbells at your side.
- Push up
- Push down
The swings with stick – Upper body hydro power workout
- Use tennis racket, baseball or softball bat, golf club, field hockey stick or ice hockey stick
- Hold the object through the water as you would while playing the sport.
- Do forehand and backhand strokes
- Swing the object left and right.
- Take shots.
Leg Curl – A float hydro power workout
- Get your kickboard to the pool
- Jump in and float on your back
- Keep kickboard under the heels of both feet
- Bend both knees and bring the kickboard toward your butt
- Extend arms to the sides and push downward with palms to keep face above water
- Get back to start position
- Repeat 5 times.
Carioca – A cardio hydro power workout
- Stand in chest-high water with feet a litter wider than hip-distance apart
- Let the left side face the direction you would travel
- Cross right foot in front of left foot
- Move left foot out and step to the left to return to initial stance
- Use arms to balance
- Now place right foot behind left foot
- Move left foot out, step to the left and return to the initial stance
- Repeat till you travel down the entire stretch of the pool base.
- You can reverse direction and also increase speed
- Workout two 30 seconds sets in each direction
- Rest for 15 seconds between sets.
Leg pumps – A cardio hydro power workout
- Stand in chest-deep water
- Lean back against the pool wall
- Keep legs floating in front of you
- Keep ankles together
- Draw knees in towards your chest
- Extend legs straight again.
- Return to start position and repeat.
Split-stance fly – A strength-training hydro power workout
- Stand in chest-deep water.
- Keep one foot forward and the other back (split stance)
- Extend both arms straight in front of you
- Let palms face together
- Keep arms straight
- Swing arms until they extend straight out from your shoulders
- Form a 'T'
- Return to start position and repeat.
Extra challenge hydro power workout
If ready for an extra challenge, try this out. It is a harder version of water jogging.
- Check water level. Ideal level is ribcage deep.
- Bring along to the pool a small inflatable ball.
- Hold the ball in front of you in straight arms.
- Position ball six inches under the surface of water.
- Run across the shallow end of the pool.
- You can even tuck the ball under one arm.
- Reach end of pool and run back again.
Before you take the plunge, public or private pool etiquettes make hydro power workouts a safe and pleasant experience for all.
Top of the Page: Hydro Power Workout
- Pay attention to environment
- Adhere to pool rules
- Practice good pool manners
- Avoid sprinting in the same lane or splash unsuspecting swimmers
- People see what you are doing underwater. Avoid annoying habits.
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