Deep Water Aerobics: Travel & Burn

Sunday, September 16 2018

Looking for a straightforward athletic workout for deep water?  Look no further!  I love exercising in my condo pool in the deep end.  My favorite way to workout is to travel a series of moves the length of the deep end – from one wall to the other.   Not all pools have that kind of space and so I showed options for doing this workout stationary or with limited travel.    

This 40-minute pool workout that features 30 simple yet powerful moves performed continuously with travel in the deep end.  Options are provided for modifying this workout for small pools or limited space.  Don’t have a deep end? Many of the moves can also be used in shallow water and the ones that can’t, can simply be modified. 

Putting on my athletic shoes and going for a run is simply out of the question for me these days.  Whether it is my heel, foot, knee or hamstring, there always seems be a messed-up body part that prevents me from participating in land-based cardio.  However, I can totally throw on my water shoes and go for a run in deep water.  Run, ski, jack, kick, jump - forwards, backwards, sideways – horizontal, vertical and seated - deep water provides an opportunity to unleash my inner athlete, gymnast, and Olympian self.   Not only do I get my heart pumping in these workouts, but I can also feel my muscles working hard against the water’s resistance.  In deep water, the entire body is submerged and so the horizontal drag forces of the water are even more prevalent. 

Deep-ish Aerobic Training is yet another video I created from my own personal workouts in the deep-end.  Other deep workouts include, Deep CardioTone and Aqua Tabata Deep.   


Workout Design
Exercise routines should provide results if designed properly.  The movements of the upper and lower extremities should be performed in all directions to ensure maximal muscular recruitment?  There should be a healthy blend of exercises that target both anterior and posterior musculature?  Too many workouts favor the front of the body and ignore the backside.   This routine features three blocks of 10 moves for a total of 30 exercises.  Each 10-move block includes:

  •        -  Mixture of exercises representing movement in all directions
  •        - Healthy blend of exercises with rear directed movements of the arms and legs ensuring an emphasis on posterior musculature
  •          -Varying travel patterns each emphasizing different musculature: forwards (anterior), backwards (posterior) and lateral (core).
  •         -One exercise without the use of arms for enhanced core recruitment
  •         -One exercise without the use of legs emphasizing upper body and core stabilization
  •         Two combination exercises (combining 2 moves) for coordination & agility
  •         One speed movement

Pool Space
Performing this workout in my own pool, I typically travel the moves along the length of the pool and turn as needed.   Traveling the exercises increases intensity and adds an extra element of athleticism and excitement to the workout.  However, not all pools are ideal for traveling.  In the warm-up, three options for performing this workout are offered.
Option 1
All 30 moves are performed stationary.  Since each move is performed for 60 seconds, consider changing direction every 15 seconds with a ¼ turn.  This will at least provide some variety.  If you exercise in a small pool this is the best option for you.  Stationary movement is lower intensity and would be more appropriate for less fit individuals.
Option 2
All 30 moves are alternated between stationary and travel.  Each exercise is performed for 60 seconds:  15 seconds stationary, 15 seconds traveling, 15 seconds stationary and 15 seconds traveling. The intensity output would be moderate to high. This option is best for pools with limited space and for filming purposes.  The entire video workout is filmed using Option 2. 
Option 3
All 30 moves are performed with continuous travel – turning as needed as per the size of your pool.  The energy output here is intense and more appropriate for advanced fitness levels.  Obviously this option would work best for lap lanes and large pools.   

A flotation belt is equired if performing this workout in deep water.  The belt does not lessen intensity; instead it provides neutral buoyancy to allow the limbs to work aerobically with large movements while keeping core muscles engaged in proper vertical alignment.  The absence of a flotation belt simply turns the routine into a poorly aligned ‘verti-zontal’ scull fest.    Webbed gloves are also recommended as they add intensity and upward propulsion.  A person with a solid, musculature frame will benefit from the upward propulsion. 

Most of the moves in this routine are basic and athletic and translate easily into shallow water.  However, there are some deep-water specific exercises that will need to be changed out.  The same variety as described in the template above should also be applied to shallow water training. 

This workout is ideal for unleashing your inner athlete in the pool. And grateful we move forward – appreciative that we can still be athletes – albeit water warriors!   How was this workout?  Please post a comment under this blog or the video.

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.