Shallow Water Noodle Workout

Thursday, December 27 2018

Exercising in a pool with a shallower depth?  Noodle Rx is just what the doctor ordered in terms of low-impact water exercise.  Discover ways to reduce impact with noodles and with one-legged grounded exercises.  What depth is ideal for a pool workout?

This low-impact workout was created to accommodate exercise participants with multiple varying fitness levels and various heights, particularly tall people in shallower water.  The first segment features powerful yet non-impact moves without equipment.  The other two segments demonstrate the use of a noodle to provide creative fitness challenges with reduced impact. 

Welcome to Noodle RX.   Sometimes people have to exercise in extra shallow water, whether by pool design or because they are on the tall side.  Jenni Lynn Patterson-LaCour, an aquatic fitness training specialist in NYC  had to reformat a few of her classes to accommodate some of her taller students in shallower waters.  Grounded one-legged moves are always the perfect solution for shallower waters, but Jenni Lynn also discovered that a noodle could be a lifesaver for rescuing a depth-challenged class. 

When exercising in water that is very shallow or below chest level, care must be taken to reduce the impact of the routine.   Even in water there is still impact on the joints because gravity is still present.
- Exercising in water at belly-button depth = 50% of bodyweight impact
- Exercising in water low to upper chest depth = 25-35% of bodyweight impact
- Exercising in water at neck depth = 0-10% of bodyweight impact

If your pool is on the shallower side and you are only submerged to your stomach, exercises like jumping jacks and cross-country skis should be avoided or modified.  These types of moves require a jump on both feet and thus would be high impact in shallower water where more gravity is present.  The way to modify them in shallower water is to perform them with one leg while the other leg/foot is anchored to the pool floor.   Performing grounded exercises in this manner eliminates impact. 

Another way to reduce impact in a shallower pool is to introduce a noodle in your workout.   The noodle can be used to target upper body muscles with hand-held buoyant resisted exercises in a standing or upright position.  The noodle can also be used for neutral buoyancy so that you can sit, recline, kneel and stand on the noodle to perform a variety of low-impact exercises for arms, legs, core and more. 

This 40-minute workout features four segments.

Segment 1 starts with a warm-up that features some impact and then transitions into lower body series of grounded/anchored moves.  When performing these moves, using aggressive arm patterns and forcefully moving the leg that is not grounded achieves the power. The noodle is not utilized in this segment. 

Segment 2 is all about the upper body.   The noodle is used in various positions to perform buoyant resisted exercises that target the upper extremities. 

Segment 3 targets the core with a variety of noodle positions and exercises.

Segment 4 features a final stretch using the noodle.

Noodle Recommendations
Jenni Lynn recommends a medium density noodle that is pliable.  In her classes, she uses a denser noodle that is available at HYDRO-FIT.   This type of noodle is a step up from the thinner, less dense noodles that can be bought in Dollar Stores and in grocery stores.  However, if you are less fit or want to avoid too much strain on your upper extremities, then the thinner, less dense noodle would be best for you.   The thicker, denser noodles can also be found in grocery stores and pool stores, or you can order them online. 

Exercising in a pool with a shallower depth?  Noodle Rx is just what the doctor ordered in terms of low-impact water exercise. 

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.