Water Exercise for Muscle Balance

Tuesday, September 12 2023

Unilateral training is a challenging way to improve muscle balance and overall strength. Join Jenni Lynn Patterson-LaCour for a 50-minute pool workout that emphasizes single-side training with and without a foam dumbbell. You can enjoy this cardio strength workout in both deep and shallow water. 

Most traditional water exercises are performed with arms and legs doing bilateral symmetrical (same) movement or bilateral reciprocal (opposite) movement. There is nothing wrong with this, however if you have muscle imbalances between limbs, the dominant side compensates for the weaker side. Unilateral or one-sided training can isolate and focus on the weaker side, improving overall strength and function.


  • The activities we do most in our jobs and day-to-day life can leave us with muscular imbalances in our upper and lower extremities. Unilateral training can help improve muscle balance.
  • More extreme muscle imbalances can cause pain and make us prone to injury.  Therefore, single-sided exercises can help prevent injury and lessen strain and pain
  • Unilateral training activates the core even more which requires us to work harder to stabilize the body and counteract the movement generated by only one side. This emphasis on core stabilization leaves us with a much stronger midsection, which has its own set of benefits.
  • In summary, unilateral training in the water offers numerous advantages such as enhancing balance, stability, coordination, core engagement and can play a crucial role in injury prevention and rehabilitation.


This 50-minute water workout includes a warm-up, cool down and five working segments. 
Segment 1:  Cardio Ladder
Designed to expand the cardiorespiratory warm-up, this segment kicks the cardio up a notch. The movements in this segment also have an emphasis on core stabilization.
Segment 2: Unilateral Base Moves
This segment introduces a series of unilateral or one-sided moves that challenge the body with cardio and core activation. 
Segment 3:  Dynamic Plank Ladder
Featuring movement that is performed in a forward or rear plank, this segment provides a lower body and core challenge.
Segment 4:  Unilateral Buoy Moves
Showcasing a single foam dumbbell, this segment takes many of the moves shown in segment two but introduces the challenge of buoyant resistance for even greater muscle imbalance correction and core stability.
Segment 5:  Buoy Combo Moves
The foam dumbbell single-sided moves progress in this segment with some challenging buoy combinations.

Poolfit extends yet another big thank you to Jenni Lynn for sharing her passion and knowledge with subscribers.  Stay tuned, another video with her husband Chris is posting next week, along with two 20-minute water workouts with the power couple. 

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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.