Deep Water HIIT Workout

Sunday, September 02 2018

Discover high-intensity water exercise with zero impact.  This 55-minute deep-water workout features a full Tabata (interval) workout complete with 8 rounds, a warm-up and a stretch.  A flotation belt is required for this intermediate/advanced workout.  Webbed (swim) gloves may be worn.

What is Tabata?  Tabata is a specific type of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) that features very short bursts of high intensity work followed by even shorter recovery times. Tabata training was invented by Izumi Tabata in the 1990's and was mainly used by athletes, but it has gained widespread popularity by the general population.  Tabata combines the best of both worlds – similar to combining cardio and strength. 

The timing of the Tabata intervals is as follows.  Each round contains 8 exercises or sets.  Each set features a work cycle with 20 seconds of the exercise performed at high intensity and a recovery cycle with 10 seconds of rest.  Each round is 4 minutes and there is a longer 30-second recovery between each of the 8 rounds. 

One of the key benefits of HIIT training is that it not only improves aerobic capacity, but it also improves one’s ability to better withstand quick bursts of energy demand by improving anaerobic capacity. Anaerobic training requires working at a very high intensity/heart rate and thus is only realistic for short durations.  Keep in mind, Tabata training was NOT developed for regular exercise and therefore modifications have been made to make this popular training more doable for regular populations.   In this workout, the exercises have been designed for longer duration aerobic training.   If you like to exercise in the deep and you like to work hard – this pool workout is for you!  And the added bonus is that HIIT training is purported to burn more calories and elevate the metabolic rate more effectively. 

As mentioned above, this workout includes 8 Tabata rounds (4-minutes each) and a warm-up and cool down.  The exercises selected for each Tabata round have been varied by muscle groups and exercise themes.

Round 1
The exercises in this round feature intense movements of the arms to target and tone the major muscle groups in the upper extremities. 

Round 2
Get ready to move!  This round features traveling around the pool by jogging in various directions and with various arm patterns

Round 3
The body parts targeted in this round are the inner thigh and the core/abdominals. 

Round 4
Let’s go on a ski trip!  This round features cross-country ski movements performed with varying arms, travel and intensity.

Round 5
Perfect posture is the goal in this round as the body parts targeted are the rear shoulders and the chest.

Round 6
Get more from your core! This round is entirely devoted to core training exercises.

Round 7
Targeting the legs, this round features powerful movements of the lower body for both strength and cardio.  

Round 8
Finish with a round that maximizes the neutral buoyancy provided by the belt by altering body positions for optimal core recruitment and abdominal training. 

Flotation belts are required for deep-water workouts.  Not only are they a necessary safety requirement, but they enable better core engagement by keeping the body vertically aligned and thus freeing up the arms to exercise as oppose to simply sculling for alignment.  Please do not attempt to exercise in the deep without a belt and as always, avoid exercising alone in the pool. 

Webbed gloves may be used in this workout.  Personally I love using web gloves in deep-water workouts because they give me more upward propulsion.  People with more dense or muscular body types would benefit from upward propulsion is deep water.

Enjoy the workout and be sure to check out the companion shallow-water Tabata workout – Total Body Aqua Tabata.  Please post a comment here on the blog or on the video and let us know what you think?

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.