Water Exercise Level Challenge

Wednesday, June 28 2023

Take your aquatic cardio workouts a notch higher with a progressive circuit challenge that mixes up bounded, neutral and suspended movement, also known as Levels I, II, and III. Level Up with AquaGym Fitness founder, Stephanie Newberry is designed to help participants build stamina and muscular endurance with bouts of challenging cardio that increase in duration as the workout progresses. 

The Level Up workout follows a template that starts out with three moves performed for 30 seconds each. The second round features three new moves and doubles in duration as the three moves from the first round are added on. Round 3 features three new moves, followed by the six moves from the first two rounds. There are seven rounds total, each increasing in the number of exercises and the duration of time spent in continuous cardio. AquaGym Fitness uses a similar three move progressive template in two of their other videos, Power Trios and Crazy Combos. The twist in this workout is that the three moves combine the three different aquatic fitness levels.

Levels when used in exercise terms typically pertain to a person’s fitness abilities. In aquatic fitness, levels mean something entirely different. Levels are used to alter impact in shallow water fitness. While there are other methods for altering impact, this workout focuses on the three levels recognized by the Aquatic Exercise Association (AEA).

Level 1 refers to moves that are performed bounded or with weight transfer. Moves are executed in an upright position in shallow water. There is still gravity present in chest-depth water and thus impact. There is a weight transfer in one-footed moves, such as jogs and kicks and this shifting of weight from one foot to the other creates impact. There is a great deal more impact involved in jumping on both feet in the two-footed moves, such as jacks, skis and moguls.

Level II is also referred to as neutral movement. The feet are still touching the pool bottom however moves are executed by flexing the hips and knees to lower the shoulders down to the water’s surface. This significantly reduces impact by removing the gravitational forces and replacing them with buoyant forces. Performing moves at Level II would be impossible to do for taller people in shallower waters. 

Level III is referred to as suspended movement. Moves are executed with feet off of the pool floor. There is zero gravity and thus zero impact. Two-footed moves, such as skis, jacks and moguls can be performed at Level III. One-footed moves, such as jogs, high heel jogs and kicks do not perform well at Level III. Important to note, a lean, muscular participant needs to expend more energy to suspend moves than a more buoyant participant. 

Level up is a 60-minute pool workout that includes a warm-up, cool down and 7 rounds of exercises. As mentioned above, round 1 starts out 1:30 minutes with just three exercises.  Round 7 is 10:30 minutes and includes 21 moves. Each round introduces three new moves. The template for the three moves is as follows: 
Move 1:  Level II or Level III movement
Move 2:  Level I movement
Move 3:  Level up!  This move can be at any level, but it is designed to be performed at a higher intensity than the other two moves. 
Stephanie shares more insight into the Level Up workout below. 

Level Up with AquaGym Fitness
By Stephanie Newberry
The term "level up" has many meanings and is used in politics, spirituality, gaming and yes, it is used in aquatic fitness. I know many instructors use the terms level I, level II, and level III, when they are describing movements in their classes. However, it is important to educate your clients as to what these terms mean. A newcomer to a pool could be very confused when an instructor yells out "level 2 cross country,” and everyone in the class reacts but they do not know what to do. I personally do not always use the terminology (level I, level II and level III) regularly in my classes. But when thinking about the term "level up", I found it important to bring back out this information. Many of my clients travel and attend classes from other instructors. Therefore, we at AquaGym Fitness decided to make a fun class that would explain the levels in aquatic fitness. But of course, we had to put our twist on it. Level up!  See you in the pool.

Poolfit extends a big thank you to Stephanie for sharing her passion and for contributing another challenging pool workout. If you enjoy this workout, check out all of her other Poolfit videos.  Stay tuned, another video with Stephanie will be posting this summer. 
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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.