Water Workout for Legs

Tuesday, August 18 2020

It’s Leg Day!  Poolfit is recreating a lower body gym workout in the pool.  Join Mark for some intense lower body circuits that deliver cardio and muscular endurance by blending leg exercises with non-stop movement.  Equipment is not necessary, however experienced exercisers can consider using the Aqualogix Ankle Fins for maximal drag resistance. 

Leg day is infamous in gyms across the globe.  Dread it or love it, legs are by far the most demanding workout of the week.  Why is lower body training so much more taxing than other workouts?  Think about your legs.  They comprise 50% of your muscle mass and include more larger muscle groups than anywhere else in your body.  Training legs requires the heart to pump greater levels of oxygenated blood to these large working muscles.  The end result is a workout that jacks up the heart rate, leaves you feeling more tired and takes longer to recover from. Sounds fun huh?  Resist the temptation to blow them off. Skipping leg workouts can lead to muscular imbalance, a slower metabolic rate, lower functional fitness and a risk of injury. 

Leg day in the gym invariably involves squats, lunges, leg presses, extensions, curls, calf raises and more. Many of the same muscle actions are used in both land and water resistance training.  However, the difference between training with gravity, as opposed to submerged resistance and buoyancy creates some notable differences in outcomes for the lower body.  Squats and lunges are less effective in water due to the absence of gravity.  But many other lower body muscle actions, such as knee flexion (hamstrings) and extension (quadriceps), hip flexion (iliopsoas) and extension (glutes), and hip abduction (outer thigh) and adduction (inner thigh) are used similarly in land and water training.

As mentioned in the Water Exercise Upper Body Circuits blog, resistance training involves doing sets and repetitions of the SAME exercises.  It is unlikely that anyone will invent a leg exercise never before seen in the world of fitness.   There are only so many anatomical movements that can target lower body muscles.  Creative variations of basic leg exercises can be achieved, as can a variety of training techniques.  WATCH Mark explain basic resistance training principles.

The key to understanding leg training in the water is the importance of directional force.  The amount of force you put in the direction of a leg movement will determine the emphasis on a specific lower body muscle.  For example, when more force is applied to the downward movement of the legs, the hamstrings are the targeted muscle. To target inner thighs, more force is applied when moving the legs inwards.

The length and surface area of the legs displaces enough water to create ample resistance.  However, if you want to add more resistance and progress your leg workouts, consider investing in a pair of the Aqualogix Ankle fins.  The ankle fins come in three sizes and add tremendous resistance to leg day in the pool.  WATCH Mark talk about directional force and the Aqualogix ankle fins. 

Whether or not you use the extra drag resistance, just please understand that fitness results depend on the force and effort you put into the workout.  The more water workouts you do, the more experienced you will become at “MOVING” water.  Enjoy the Water Exercise Lower Body Circuits workout.  And be sure to pair it up with the Water Exercise Upper Body Circuits workout for a total body training system in the water.  

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.