Off the Deep End: Exercises You Can Do in the Pool

Image from a Studio SWEAT onDemand pool workout

Ah, summertime — a perfect opportunity to get outside, soak up those delicious rays, and dive headfirst into that glistening, endless refreshing pool! Now, you could spend your time sipping on mai tais and working on that tan, but here at Studio SWEAT onDemand, we’re always looking for new and exciting ways to get in some exercise. And a pool is one of the best places to do just that! 

Woman working out underwater in a pool

The Benefits of a Pool Workout

Temperature Regulation: The lovely cooling effects of water will keep you from overheating during your workouts. 

Increased Resistance: Normal, land-based exercises are much harder to do in the pool, which means more work for your muscles to do, and better results. 

Lower Impact: Because you’re not dealing with hard surfaces and punishing gravity, the buoyancy of a pool workout is a perfect low-impact option that’ll support your joints.

Total Body Conditioning: There are a plethora of exercises you can do to get in an amazing workout on your arms, legs, back, and core.

More Flexibility: By making subtle adjustments in your workout, like staying in longer, pushing harder, and moving faster, you can gradually increase the intensity of your workout. 

Ok, now that we’ve talked about the benefits, let’s dive right into some of our favorite pool exercises!

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Underwater Walking

An underwater walk can be an effective warmup, and you can turn that into a jog for a full-on cardio explosion. Start in water that’s level with your shoulders, and take 20 steps forward, and 20 steps back to your starting position. Increase your speed gradually to build some resistance, and go into a full-on jog to really get your heart pumping. You can also modify this movement by taking it side-to-side, crossing one foot in front of the other, and reversing the order on your way back. 

Front and Side Lunges

We love the lunge, and taking these into a pool adds some gradual resistance on your way up and down. Do these in waist-high water so you can dig deep without submerging. You can do these alongside the pool wall with a hand on the ledge for added support. Try ten forward lunges and then ten back-stepping lunges. After that, go from side to side, while still facing the pool wall. Just remember to not extend your knee past your front toes. 

Standing One-Leg Balance

Balance exercises are a great way to work your core. Start in chest-high water, standing straight up. Place a pool noodle or other floaty under one knee, and lift it up as high as comfortable. Hold this position for 30 seconds, and then switch to the other side. Try this for five repetitions on each side. If you’re having trouble keeping your balance, do this holding onto the pool’s ledge, and try letting go for longer and longer periods to help increase your balance.

Woman in a swim cap working out underwater

Jumping Jacks

Great for both the upper and lower body, underwater jacks are a low-impact exercise that definitely delivers. Starting in chest-level water, with your feet together and your arms at your side, spring your legs out and your arms up to the surface of the water, bouncing on the balls of your feet. Return to the starting position and repeat for 5 sets of 10 jacks. 

Kicking Round Robin

The pool lends itself to all manner of leg-kicking goodness, and this round-robin utilizes each of those. Starting with your back against the wall of the pool, rest your arms on the ledge behind you for support. Then perform ten flutter kicks (up and down), ten scissor kicks (side to side), and ten breaststroke kicks (knees together, separate legs outward, then snap both together). Try three sets of these. 

High Knee Leg Extensions

This is a great pool exercise that strengthens your lower body, core, and balance. Standing straight up with one hand on the pool’s ledge, lift one knee up to your hip height, and hold for three seconds. Extend your lower leg as high as you can, holding for another three seconds, return to starting position, and then switch sides. To increase the resistance, hold the extended position for 5 seconds, and then 10. To boost your balance, do this exercise without holding the wall. 

There you go! Be sure to try this underwater workout the next time you set foot in your nearest pool. And while everyone around you may be splashing around and lazing the day away, you’ll be burning calories, building muscle, and turning you into an all-around healthier person. Have we just wet your whistle? Well here’s how to take your fitness even further — sign up for a 7-Day Free Trial with Studio SWEAT onDemand! We’ve got a huge library of onDemand fitness classes that you can do from anywhere, with workouts like Indoor Cycling, TRX, HIIT, Yoga, Pilates, Kickboxing, Barre, Bootcamp, and tons more! We’ve even got group fitness classes set in the water, like this Pool Party Pump Up or Water Aerobics class. Sign up today, and dive into a better you!

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