Water Exercise Resistance Bands

Wednesday, September 06 2023

Just posted!  Liquid Gym helps you expand your equipment options by providing ideas for strength training in the pool with resistance bands. Join Ronnie for 17-minutes of muscle conditioning. This short water exercise video is ideal to add to a playlist on a day when you want some extra strength training. 

Training with resistance bands offers completely different muscle actions than you would get with foam dumbbells or drag equipment. If all you have is foam dumbbells or noodles, resistance bands are ideal because they tend to target the muscle groups that get missed with buoyant resistance. To better understand this, it helps to have a basic understanding of movement and muscle actions in the water.

Understanding Aquatic Movement & Muscle Actions
When exercising in the water without equipment, muscles are targeted by drag resistance. Movement in all directions is resisted as the body is submerged in the water’s viscosity. 
Resisted Movement refers to any part in the range of motion of an exercise movement that is impeded by a force, such as gravity, buoyancy, drag or specialized equipment.
Assisted Movement refers to any part in the range of motion of an exercise movement that is facilitated by a force, such as gravity, buoyancy, drag or specialized equipment.
Muscle actions in the water are primarily isotonic which means movement occurs at a joint. These actions consist of two parts or phases:
Concentric:  this is the shortening, contracting phase of the muscle action when tension is created by resisting a force.  Concentric muscle actions are resisted movement.
Eccentric:  this is the lengthening phase of the muscle action when tension is created by controlling the assisted phase against a force.  Eccentric muscle actions are assisted movement.

Buoyant Equipment vs Resistance Bands
Exercises with foam dumbbells would be resisted with downward movement and assisted with upwards movement. Exercises with resistance bands would be resisted as the band is pulled away from the anchor point and assisted as the band returns toward the anchor point. Due to these differences, bands are great for targeting biceps, shoulders and outer thighs. Foam dumbbells and noodles are ideal for targeting triceps, lats and inner thighs. 

Resistance Bands & Care
It is important to note that most rubberized equipment is not designed for the aquatic environment and they experience wear and tear more quickly. Resistance bands used for land fitness can be used in the pool with extra precautions. First and foremost, class members should always be instructed to check bands and loops for tears before use. Additionally, the loops should be rinsed with water after use and hung up to dry in an area where they are not in direct sunlight.
Watch Ronnie talk more about resistance bands below and then check out some links for purchasing bands if you are interested.


Links to Purchasing Bands

  • The band that Ronnie uses in the video is the HydroRider band. This band is one of the only bands made for water and it has loops at the end that make it easier to anchor the band.
  • In the blog video above, Ronnie also mentions the flat resistance band with handles that she uses in her classes. This Les Mills band is not made for water but can be used as long as you adhere to care guidelines as mentioned above.
  • If you are looking to explore cheaper options to get started with resistance training with bands, consider Basic Tubing with Handles on Amazon, or the even cheaper option of Flat Elastic Bands on Amazon

Poolfit extends a big thank you to Ronnie for sharing her passion of strength training with bands in the pool. Stay tuned, next month Ronnie returns with a her branded low-impact studio workout – DAT Dance.


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.