Making Waves with Aerobic Exercise

Thursday, June 20 2019

Get ready to bust a move and make some waves.  Workout Waves 1 is all about cardio and burning calories.  Part 1 of this video features aerobic training with Mark as he leads you through 10 water exercises using the add-on method.  Part 2 features Miff and a fun cardio routine that includes four pyramid combinations.   


Exercising aerobically on land can be uncomfortable and downright painful for some aging bodies.   Avoiding impact and afraid of injury, exercise participants often to hold back and conserve their movement.  Not so in water!  The forces of buoyancy cleanse much of the impact out of movement allowing people to feel more confident in exercising like their more youthful selves again.  The resistance of the water also provides extra opportunities to increase the aerobic challenge AND improve muscular strength and endurance. 


Teaching group fitness for the past 24 years, one of my favorite ways to instruct movement is with the add-on method.   This form of choreography is where Move #1 is introduced and performed for several repetitions and then Move #2 is introduced and performed.  The two moves are then combined and performed together.  The sequence expands as more exercises are introduced and then repeated after each new move.  Predictable sequencing such as this is a great way to build confidence in the exercise experience because a participant can anticipate the next move, which helps to improve form, flow and focus.  In the first half of the video, I will lead 10 water exercises using the add-on method.   My favorite part is the grand finale when all 10 moves are taught, but with descending repetitions. 


Speaking of descending repetitions, another favorite instructional method of mine is pyramid choreography.   Repetitions of exercises are either increased or decreased with pyramid instruction.   For example, in a combination of four exercises, the intensity decreases if repetitions are INCREASED.  The reason is because moves are held on to for a longer period of time and the lack of change lessens the intensity.  The intensity increases when repetitions are DECREASED because the exercises change more frequently, requiring more energy output.  The descending repetitions also increase the fun factor because it feels like you are on an exercise rollercoaster with the frequently changing moves.  In the second half of the video, Miff Hendriksen, teaches four combinations of four exercises using pyramid instruction. 


The beauty of exercising aerobically in the water is that no extra equipment is needed.  The water’s resistance is all the equipment you need.   However, over time if you feel you want to increase the water’s resistance, you can try using drag equipment.   Drag options include webbed gloves or specialized upper or lower body equipment, such as the Aqualogix Training System.  Appropriately sized drag equipment can be inserted into any aerobic routine because this type of equipment allows for the natural movements of your arms and legs.   Other equipment, such as foam dumbbells, noodles or wrist & ankle weights should NOT be used for this workout.   This type of equipment should only be used in workouts that are specifically designed for their use. 


Safety should always come first and that is why you should avoid inserting foam dumbbells into a workout that wasn’t designed for them.   Other safety considerations for a workout in the pool include the use of water shoes.  Exercising aerobically in chest high water means that you are still bearing 25-30% of your body weight.  Water shoes can help absorb some of that impact.  During high impact moves such as cross country skis and jumping jacks, participants should also consider lowering shoulders down to the water’s surface because it will reduce weight-bearing impact to 0-10%.    


And don’t forget to drink plenty of water during your workout.   Enjoy and stay safe!



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.