Please note, workouts suggested on this website are not to be interpreted as treatment plans or substitutes for medical consultation. Before undertaking any exercise program, please consult a physician or healthcare provider for appropriate safety precautions. If at any point during a workout you start to feel dizzy, faint, short of breath, or experience physical discomfort, discontinue your exercise immediately and consult a physician.
Water workouts are often overlooked, that is until you get injured. Physical therapists regularly recommend injured athletes train in water. The advantage is less stress on the injury while still maintaining even resistance. But why wait for an injury to get the benefits of water training?
Water is 784 times the density of air; that’s the magic of water workouts. The resistance is why water workouts leave you more exhausted. Working against such steady resistance works more of the muscle, plus the core. Almost any workout that can be done on land can be done underwater. Be sure to have a friend with you in case you accidentally suck in water. Never do underwater workouts in water over your head.
A quick tip before you dive in:
It’s a different world down there so don’t make it more challenging by keeping your eyes closed. Get a snorkeling mask. The added visibility you’ll have, plus keeping chlorine out of your eyes, will make the workout safer and more enjoyable.
Ready to give it a try? Start with these exercises:
Running – Make sure you’re in deep enough to keep the full motion of your arms underwater, including as much of your upper arm as is safe. Change it up by getting your knees as high as you can. Compare this kind of no-impact running to a workout on Octane’s Zero Runner elliptical.
Weight sprints – Put a dumbbell or NuBell in water about 4 feet deep. Take a deep breath; squat down under the water; grab the dumbbell and do a quick squatted sprint for about 20 feet. Then come up for air. Note: get a solid grip – weights hurt your feet when they fall on them, even underwater.
Lunges – Drop a weight to the bottom in the pool. Jump in; squat down over the weight, grab it and jump up to the surface for a quick breath. Drop back down into a squat position; touch the bottom with the weight. Hold the weight firmly and jump for the surface again. Repeat.
Treading water – A simple, yet effective exercise that works your quads, glutes, abdomen, arms, and core.
Tread water with fins – Snorkeling fins are a great low-impact way to increase resistance on your legs. Try to kick hard enough to get your chest above the surface as long as possible; push onto your back to rest; then do another interval.
Side of Pool Kicks – Hold onto the side of the pool, either face-up or face-down. Kick your legs like you’re swimming.
Side Leg Lifts– Stand in chest-deep water with your side against the side of the pool. Lift your outside leg as high as you can, then back down. Vary the speed and intensity to feel the water’s resistance.
After you do a workout in the water, give yourself time to rest. The kind of exhaustion you’ll feel is very different than workouts on dry land. The lack of pounding from running or lunging can fool you into thinking you’re not tired. Trust us, you will be.