Cardio Challenge in the Pool

Sunday, January 12 2020

Progressive Ladders is a pool workout that proves simple is sometimes best.  Featuring just 8 exercises, the first block starts with two exercises and then every block after adds another exercise and 10 seconds to the time each exercise is performed for.  This pool workout is perfect for fans of water exercise who want an easy-to-follow cardio challenge without the complicated choreography.

Progressive Ladders is the fourth PoolFit video to post by AquaGym Fitness (AGF). AGF team member, Alexis Casey, takes the helm in leading the video workout.  “I really love teaching this format in my AquaGym Fitness classes because of the repetitious nature,” say Alexis.  In addition to appealing to her students who want to be pushed hard, Alexis says the Progressive Ladders template is also perfect for new clients.  “New participants do better when they learn one new move at a time and each move is repeated throughout the entire workout.” 

AGF Founder, Stephanie Newberry, says she is always looking for new ways to keep AquaGym Fitness classes fun, fast and effective.  Below, she explains the inspiration behind Progressive Ladders and some of the science to support the template. 

Fitmotivation:  What was your inspiration for creating the Progressive Ladders template?

Stephanie:  This workout follows our philosophy of simple - but powerful interval style training. I want these classes to be challenging for the participant - and easy for the instructor to present. With a workout of 8 moves, the client can continue to work on form and technique as they challenge themselves to power through each timed set. As the instructor I always ask my clients to work at 90% of their personal maximum effort - but the way these classes are structured, anyone can pick a pace that works for them. That is the beauty of our classes. I often prompt our participants to modify as necessary. If a particular move does not work for them, then simply replace it with something else that does. Our repetitive pattern in our workouts allows each student to "Get out of it what they put into it."

Fitmotivation:  Can you explain some of the science behind the benefits of progressive training?

Stephanie:  The “secret” in HIIT lies in the effect that it has on your body and its need for oxygen. Since the work periods are performed at a very high intensity, your body requires more oxygen than usual and quickly ends up in an “oxygen deficit.” Once the high-intensity interval is over, your body is left working hard to make up this oxygen shortage. In fact, your body will continue to work long after you exercise session is complete. This process is called the EPOC (Excess Post Oxygen Consumption), and is the primary reason you’re able to burn more calories in a shorter amount of time when you perform such intense interval training.  This workout starts with very short sets where one can push super hard. This is going to tap into EPOC. We add maneuvers and time, How long each participant can maintain a high intensity push is dependent on the individual. This workout starts with HIIT and then progresses to long endurance sets. This taps into all the cardio-respiratory and muscular benefits that come with repetition.

AquaGym Fitness Workout #4:  Progressive Ladders Template

Block 1

:20 Move #1

:20 Move #2

Block 2

:30 Move #3 

:30 Move #2

:30 Move #1

Block 3

:40 Move #4

:40 Move #3

:40 Move #2

:40 Move #1

Block 4

:50 Move #5

:50 Move #4

:50 Move #3

:50 Move #2

:50 Move #1

Block 5

:60 Move #6

:60 Move #5

:60 Move #4

:60 Move #3

:60 Move #2

:60 Move #1

Block 6

:70 Move #7

:70 Move #6

:70 Move #5

:70 Move #4

:70 Move #3

:70 Move #2

:70 Move #1

Block 7

:80 Move #8

:80 Move #7

:80 Move #6

:80 Move #5

:80 Move #4

:80 Move #3

:80 Move #2

:80 Move #1

Work at your own pace
As this pool workout progresses, the time in each block increases.  By the last couple of blocks, the timing may be too long for less advanced water exercisers.  Simply rest as needed or work at whatever pace is comfortable for you. 

Adding in Equipment
The equipment used in this workout was that amazing force called WATER.  As mentioned in other blogs, Water exercise enthusiasts should become skilled at using the water’s resistance before attempting to add in other equipment.  With that said, drag equipment, such as Aqualogix or Webbed Gloves, would be ideal for this workout. 

Refreshing the 8 Moves
Aqua Enthusiasts who have been exercising in the pool for years probably have some of their favorite moves.  Feel free to add them in.  Progressive Ladders is simply an 8-move template for you to follow along with in the pool.  However, if you start getting bored of the moves, or you don’t like some of the moves – replace them with some of your favorite go-to water exercises. 

AquaGym Fitness is an aquatic fitness company based in northern Florida in the Jacksonville area offering private training and classes in resort communities, county clubs and recreation centers.  Check out their other three videos streaming on Fitmotivation, Run2Strength, Partner Drills and Combat Basics

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.