9 Pool Exercises for a Great Full-Body Workout
Turn that summer fun into function with these pool exercises that help you target all the major muscles in your body!
Water workouts are fantastic since they are so easy on the joints. In addition, the water both supports your body, making aspects of your workout easier than it would be on dry land, and also more difficult as you have to move through the water in all directions, thus creating a lot of resistance.
This body-friendly big calorie-burning workout is a must for pool time, and you may even find yourself enjoying it a lot more than you thought you would!
Exercise Equipment for the Pool
While you can certainly do a no-frills pool workout, it can be a lot of fun to open your horizons with a few simple exercise tools for the pool.
Pool Edges—those pool edges are more than just another pretty addition to the great outdoors. You can use them to work your upper body, and the boost from the water will help you lift your weight as you do the exercises. Pool edges are a match made in heaven when it comes to working chest, shoulders, and triceps.
Noodles—yes, it’s a silly name and an even sillier-looking apparatus, but noodles can come in handy when you’re doing various pool exercises! What’s a “noodle”? Noodles are the long skinny pieces of foam that give you just a little bit of extra float in the pool and can help support your body weight in the water.
Kickboard—this essential tool will help you add resistance to all your underwater training. It’s also a fabulous tool if you want to do laps to get in some extra cardio.
Water or Pool Dumbbells—these can help you work your arms and upper body. There are many styles to choose from, including rubberized and foam dumbbells.
Hand Paddles—these will add just a little more resistance in the water than you would normally create with just your hands.
9 Pool Exercises for a Full-body Workout
1. Pool Side Pushups
You can do these pool exercises in two ways. One way is to get into the deep end of the pool and place your hands on the edge of the pool. Keep them about shoulder-width apart. Next, push up through your hands, chest, and shoulders to propel your body up and out of the water. Once your arms are fully straightened, allow your elbows to bend again and return your body to the starting position.
You can start by using flutter kicks to help propel your body out of the water if you aren’t yet strong enough to move through the water. Then as you get stronger, try to use less and less momentum.
The second option for pool-side pushups is to go into the shallow end where your body will be less supported by the water. Place your toes on the floor of the pool and your hands on the pool edge, again, about shoulder-width apart. Most of your upper body should be out of the water. Do the same pushup movement you did in the deep end, although this version should be more difficult as you won’t have the extra boost from the water.
2. Flutter Kicks
These will work both your core and your lower body. Facing the pool, wrap your arms around the railings of the stairs (the ones you use to step in and out of the pool). Let your legs float out in front of you until they are straight. Scissor kick your legs as fast as you can for ten seconds. Rest for ten seconds and repeat.
3. Underwater Punches
You can do these with or without the use of pool accessories, but if you do decide to make these harder, try adding water dumbbells or hand paddles to the exercise.
Start by standing in water that covers you up to chest level or slightly higher. Then, using your fists (or dumbbells or paddles), thrust your right fist forward as fast as you can and then retract it as fast as you can.
4. Pool Crunches
Sit on the noodle and hold onto the sides. With your knees bent and together, lift and lower your legs repeatedly to engage your core muscles. To make it a little more difficult, try to keep your legs straight as you lift and lower them.
5. Noodle Planks
Using the noodle to help you stay afloat, straighten your arms and legs fully. You’ll have to tighten your core to keep your body straight, just like a regular plank on land. Hold this water plank position for as long as you can.
6. Kickboard Lifts and Lowers
Stand in shoulder-deep water and hold the kickboard in front of you with outstretched arms. Next, raise and lower the kickboard in a waving motion as fast as you can for ten seconds (this will be difficult as it will be submerged). This type of movement will work your entire upper body and your core as well.
7. Kickboard Cardio and Leg Training
Next up: laps. You can do any type of kick you like, including your typical scissor kicks (used in freestyle swimming), your breaststroke kick (to help work inner and outer thighs as well as glutes), a dolphin kick (which essentially works your whole body as you keep your feet together and kick with a wave movement). Try to do a full lap of kicks by holding the kickboard out in front of you or resting your chest on it as you kick. Then, work your way up to multiple laps of the pool.
8. Shoulder Lifts and Lowers
Here is another great place to use either the hand paddles or the underwater dumbbells. Start with your feet about hip-width apart in neck-deep water and grasp a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing your body. Lift your straight arms out to your sides until they are parallel with the surface. Return to start. Note: both directions of movement will require force.
9. Underwater Biceps and Triceps Curls
Using just your arms or adding water dumbbells, stand with your feet about hip-width apart in neck-deep water. Bend your arms to bring your fists (or the dumbbells) up to chest level while squeezing your biceps. Next, straighten your arms fully and contract your triceps on the downward movement.
Now that you’re done with your water workout, take a few minutes to play and splash around if you want. Or, if you prefer, you can ease any muscle soreness in a hot tub, steam room, or sauna before you hit the showers.