Aqua Strength & Endurance Training

Friday, September 14 2018

USA Aqua Expert, Stephanie Thielen, shares a body-conditioning aqua workout that features simple, yet powerful exercises that tone muscles and burn calories.  This pool workout targets all of the major muscle groups with exercises that target both muscular strength and endurance. 

Ready S.E.T. Go 2! is a 38-minute workout that replicates a format similar to the popular Les Mills BODYPUMP™ classes offered in health clubs.  The action is pre-formatted and segmented by major muscle groups.  The aqua twist here is that the format expands beyond the traditional strength training to include exercises that target muscle endurance.  Muscle endurance is defined as a muscle or a muscle group’s ability to sustain repeated contractions over a period of time.   It is near impossible to build muscular strength without first having muscle endurance.  Muscular endurance is what allows us to lead busy lifestyles that include lots of walking, chores and activities.   S.E.T stands for strength and endurance training.  The first video in the Ready S.E.T Go! series appeared on the Fitmotivation website as an instructional video and online course for fitness professionals.  The program was so popular I asked Stephanie to create a second video as a follow-along workout. 

If you have ever attended or seen a Les Mills BODYPUMP™ class in the studio, you have probably noticed that class is consistently jam-packed.  Why?  BODYPUMP classes are popular because they deliver results and appeal to non-traditional group exercise patrons who eschew classes that require rhythmically gifted skills.  Body Pump is plain, simple weightlifting that leaves participants feeling accomplished, toned and yes…pumped up. Variations of the same exercises are performed week after week, month after month and year after year. Class participants don’t get bored; instead they get results.  The Aqua S.E.T. workout is designed to do the same in the pool.  Exercises are designed to target the muscular strength and endurance of the major muscle groups, which helps people move better and live better.

Unlike a Body Pump class or other studio pre-formatted muscle conditioning classes, the only equipment used in the Aqua S.E.T. workout is WATER!  Thanks to the water’s viscosity and drag forces, all submerged movement is resisted which means muscles on both sides of a joint are targeted with every movement.  This is a huge sell for water fitness as it leads to improved muscle balance, which is crucial for joint integrity.  However if desired, the addition of webbed gloves would be ideal for maximizing the water’s drag resistance.   Due to the class structure of strength followed by endurance, without a rest between sets, or a rest between muscle groups, Stephanie feels that incorporating equipment such as foam dumbbells could jeopardize the flow and the outcome of the exercises.  “The use of equipment such as noodles and hand buoys can place a limit on which muscle groups can be targeted and can place excessive strain on the upper body due to the continuous flow of exercises with no built in break or recovery,” says Stephanie.  The Aqua S.E.T. format could be adjusted over time to allow for eventual inclusion of various equipment types once participants develop proper form and alignment.

This workout includes a warm-up (S.E.T. Prep) designed to mobilize the joints of the shoulders, elbows, hips and knees in order to prepare them for the work to come.   A short flexibility segment featuring one stretch per muscle group is included at the end of the workout. 

Main Workout:  S.E.T. Timing & Format 
Two Strength exercises performed back-to-back for 15 seconds each for 4 sets. (A, B, A, B, A, B, A, B) followed by…Two Endurance drills performed back-to-back 15 seconds each for 4 sets.  (C, D, C, D, C, D, C, D)

S.E.T. Pre-Designed Sequence - Muscle Groups
Legs (quads, glutes, hamstrings)
Legs (inner and outer thigh)

PoolFit extends thanks to Stephanie Thielen for sharing her signature Ready S.E.T. Go! workout with PoolFit video viewers.  Check out Stephanie’s other video workout – Aqua Body Blast.   Visit Stephanie at her website to find out more about her. 

Author: Mark Grevelding is the founder of Fitmotivation. He is also a training specialist and consultant with the Aquatic Exercise Association’s (AEA). Mark has been active in the fitness industry for 22 years as a group fitness instructor, personal trainer, international presenter and a continuing education provider for AEA, AFAA & ACE.