BY: LBL Team

The 12 Best Pool Exercises That Sculpt Your Body

12 water aerobic exercises that seriously tone your body

Did you know that swimming and water aerobics are one of the best ways to get in shape without putting pressure on your joints? Water exercises are especially great if you don’t like working up a sweat but still want to get a cardio workout. And you’ll probably be able to exercise longer than if you were running or swimming. Check out these twelve water exercises that tone and strengthen your body:

1. The bicycle

This water exercise targets your abs and works your core, shoulders, and legs. To begin this exercise, rest your elbows on a pool noodle or the edge of the pool, and begin to kick your legs up and down as if you were riding a bicycle. Try to do it for a few minutes straight and then rest.

2. Leg lift

To start this exercise, lean back on the pool edge and lower your legs straight down. Then raise them as high as possible, making sure you keep your legs perfectly straight and together. The water provides resistance, helping to strengthen your leg muscles. If you find this exercise to be too difficult at first, try sitting on the edge of the pool and perform the exercise from there.

3. Jumping jacks

With jumping jacks, not only do you have to push through the water, which provides resistance, but you also have to keep your balance. So this exercise is great for building strength and flexibility. You can try a full suspended jumping jack by doing the whole jack without touching the bottom of the pool.

4. Flutter kick

To begin this exercise, hold onto the edge of the pool or a noodle and kick your legs as fast as you can behind you. You’ll get a more intense workout if you keep your legs under the water and focus on moving them faster.

5. Frog jump

To perform this exercise, start with your heels together, knees bent outward, and your behind tucked under. Then jump as high as possible out of the water, returning to starting position as you land. Remember that the deeper you go in the water, the harder your quads and butt will work to propel you.

6. Knee tuck

This exercise engages your abs to help stabilize your body. To perform this exercise, stand up and perform a tuck jump by bringing both your knees up to your chest. Make sure you keep your chest up and shoulders back. To perform this exercise, jump your legs out but don’t allow your feet to touch the bottom of the pool when you bring them back to the center.

7. Cross country skiing

To start this exercise, jump your legs forward and back as you move your arms in opposite directions. Aim to move with this exercise and not just stay in one place by moving to one side of the pool, turning around, and returning. Remember, the deeper you go in the water, the more challenging it will be.

8. Noodle crunch

To begin this exercise, place a pool noodle under your shoulders, pull your abs in, and perform a crunch as you normally would. Doing this type of crunch in the pool is great because the water provides resistance, which forces you to work your abs laterally as you stabilize your body in the vertical and horizontal planes.

9. The otter roll

To start this exercise, hold a beach ball to your chest and lay on top of it so you are facing the water. The larger the ball you use, the more vigorous your workout will be. Throw your weight to one side and spin around the ball until you return to the top. For a whole new challenge, reverse directions.

10. Water marching

To begin this exercise, you’ll want to stand up straight in the water, making continuous strides as if you were marching on the spot. Be sure to extend your arms and legs as far as possible. You’ll also want to stretch your limbs as much as you can, pointing your toes and pulling your arms back and forth. Do this for several minutes.

11. Leg kicks

This exercise works the muscles in your core and legs. To start, hold onto the pool ledge or hold a kick board. Flutter kick your legs and then scissor kick your legs open and closed. Then, do a breaststroke kick with your legs followed with dolphin kicks. Do each kick for a minute or so.

12. Arm lifts

Use foam dumbbells to add more resistance. First, stand in water up to your shoulders. Hold the dumbbells at your side, with your palms facing up. As you lift your forearms to the height of the water, draw your elbows in close to your torso. Rotate your wrists to turn your palms facedown. Lower your arms back to starting position. Do one set of 15 reps for each exercise.

Get wet, get fit

Swimming and other water exercises are medium intensity — they primarily target your lower and upper body muscles for a steady workout. In particular, water exercises work your core, arms, legs, glutes, and back. Plus, you’re able to build up your flexibility and strength.

  1. “These 10 Pool Exercises Make for a Surprisingly Difficult Full-Body Workout,” Women’s Health, March 21, 2021.
  2. “The Best Pool Exercises for a Full Body Workout,” Shape, June 25, 2020.
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