7 Refreshing and Fit Pool Workouts for Summer

Summer is finally here, making now the perfect time to jump into the water for an invigorating pool workout. Not only do pool workouts provide a chill way to beat the heat—but exercising in the water offers numerous health benefits, like reduced joint stress, improved muscle tone and amplified movement intensity with added resistance. It’s also a cool way to break up your typical gym routine and get your sweat on at any fitness level.

 

What You Will Learn:

Estimated reading time: 12 minutes

 

The Benefits of Exercising in the Pool

Discover the benefits of pool workouts that make it a smart choice for anyone looking to level up their summer fitness routine:

Joint Safety

One of the most significant benefits of exercising in the pool is the reduced strain on your joints. The buoyancy of the water supports a portion of your body weight, alleviating stress on your joints and reducing the risk of injury. This makes pool workouts excellent for anyone with joint and mobility issues like arthritis, recovering from an injury, or seeking a low-impact exercise. Water’s gentle resistance can also help strengthen the muscles around your joints without adding excessive pressure.

Total-Body Workout

Aquatic exercises are incredible for building total-body strength and endurance. The water’s resistance makes every movement require extra effort, providing a comprehensive workout that enhances strength, endurance and flexibility. This helps to tone muscles and can lead to improved overall physical conditioning. Water also creates a uniquely constant and multidirectional level of resistance. So, as you push and pull against it, your muscles are challenged more than they would be by gravity alone.

Enhanced Cardiovascular Health

Beyond building muscle, water workouts are fantastic exercises for heart health. The natural resistance of water requires your heart to pump harder to supply oxygen to your muscles. This results in a healthier cardiovascular system by lowering blood pressure, enhancing circulation and boosting your heart’s overall functionality. The cool environment of the pool can also help you achieve longer and more intense cardio sessions without the risk of overheating.

Keeping Cool

One of the most appealing aspects of pool workouts is staying cool while exercising, even on the hottest summer days. Whether in an indoor or outdoor pool, the water helps regulate your body temperature, preventing overheating and making workouts more enjoyable. This cooling effect is especially beneficial during the summer when traditional outdoor exercises can become uncomfortable or unsafe due to high temperatures.

 

Equipment Needed for Pool Exercises

Many pool exercises require nothing but yourself and some water. However, the right equipment can maximize water workouts by providing targeted resistance and extra support while diversifying your routine. Here’s a guide to some of the best equipment used in water exercises:

  • Water Dumbbells: These foam dumbbells build upper body strength by adding extra resistance. Typical exercises include water bicep curls, triceps extensions and lateral raises.
  • Aquatic Noodles: Often used in core-strengthening workouts like leg lifts, abdominal crunches and floating planks, the versatile pool noodle provides support and resistance during exercise.
  • Kickboards: Kickboards are primarily used to strengthen the lower body. They are ideal for flutter kicks, leg lifts and scissor kicks. Holding onto the kickboard and kicking can strengthen your legs, glutes and lower abdominal muscles.
  • Ankle Weights: Ankle weights add extra resistance to lower body exercises, such as water walking and jogging, leg lifts and flutter kicks.
  • Resistance Bands: Perfect for adding a challenging twist to your aquatic exercises, resistance bands can be anchored to pool rails or used freely in the water to perform various strength training, endurance and flexibility exercises.
  • Flotation Belt: A flotation belt, also known as an aqua jogging belt, provides additional buoyancy and support during water workouts. Made from foam or neoprene, the belt is worn around the waist and helps keep people afloat while allowing for a natural range of motion.

 

7 Pool Exercises from core to cardio

Let’s explore seven versatile pool exercises that range from core-strengthening weight training routines to high-energy cardio sessions. For an extended fitness session, combine several exercises into one complete workout:

#1 Water Aerobics Workout

A water aerobics workout is the perfect way to stay fit and have a blast. Great to do as a group, water aerobics brings a variety of traditional movements into the pool. The added water resistance enhances your flexibility and strength without impacting your joints. To pump up the fun, perform the workout to an upbeat playlist!

Here’s a basic water aerobics workout to get you started:

    1. Jumping Jacks: Stand in the water with your feet together and arms by your sides. Jump your feet to the sides while raising your arms above your head. Return to the starting position. Perform two sets of 15 reps.
    2. Cross-Country Skiing Motions: Stand in the water with one foot forward and the other back, arms opposite the feet. Jump and switch the position of your feet and arms in a skiing motion. Perform two sets of 15 reps.
    3. High Knees: Stand in the water and lift your knees to your chest alternately as if running in place. Perform two sets of 20 reps per leg.
    4. Water Boxing: Stand in a stable position and punch forward with alternate hands, keeping your core engaged. Perform three sets of 20 punches per arm.
    5. Leg Lifts: Hold onto the pool’s edge or use a noodle for support. Lift one leg to the side, then bring it back down and switch to the other leg. Perform three sets of 15 reps per leg.

Challenge Yourself: Perform your routine in deep water, which forces your muscles to work harder as you maintain stability. You can also amp up the intensity by incorporating aquatic dumbbells and resistance bands into your movements.

#2 Aqua Jogging Workout

Aqua jogging is gaining popularity as a year-round exercise routine, especially for avid runners. Unlike bikes and elliptical machines, aqua jogging mimics traditional running muscles and motions, making it a smart choice for low-impact training. Aqua jogging is also valuable for recovery as it facilitates muscle repair after hard workouts without adding more stress.

Proper form and technique are vital to a safe and effective aqua-jogging workout. Here’s how you can kickstart your water jogging workout the right way:

    1. Getting Started: Move to the deep end, where your feet do not touch the bottom. If you’re new to water jogging or aren’t a strong swimmer, we highly recommend an aqua jogging belt for extra buoyancy and support.
    2. Proper Posture: Maintain an upright position to keep your balance and engage your core. Avoid leaning forward. Practice lifting your knees higher while keeping your form compact. Focus on driving your foot down and back rather than forward to help keep you upright and enable better movement in the water.
    3. Leg Motion: Avoid extending your active leg too far forward. Instead, lift one knee while driving the opposite foot down and back in a smooth and controlled motion.
    4. Arm Movement: Keep your elbows bent at 90 degrees and pull them straight back. Bring your hands to your hip pocket. Move your arms forward and back, not across your chest. Make your movements large enough to engage your muscles fully. Keep your shoulders stationary and relaxed.
    5. Head Position: Find a focal point at eye level ahead of you. Stay focused on that point to keep your head level and maintain stability by preventing too much side-to-side head motion.

Challenge Yourself: Once you’ve hit your stride running laps or sprints while aqua jogging, incorporate ankle weights into your workout to increase the intensity. The added resistance will push your muscles further and enhance the effectiveness of your routine.

#3 Water Endurance Workout

Test your athletic stamina and endurance by treading water for as long as possible. Excellent for core, arm and leg conditioning, treading water provides a full-body workout while reducing the impact on your joints. It also enhances cardiovascular capacity and can improve balance, coordination and agility.

Even a few seconds focused on a controlled and balanced water tread can be ideal for beginners and advanced athletes. Here’s how to tread water in the pool for strength and endurance:

    1. Getting Started: Enter the deep enough so your feet won’t hit the bottom while you tread. Place a pool noodle under your arms for extra buoyancy. No matter your fitness level, we recommend adding flotation support for at least the first few tread workouts to allow focus on proper form and technique.
    2. How to Tread Water for Endurance: Move your legs in a scissor-like or flutter-kick motion. Move your arms in a circular motion directly below the water’s surface. Breathe steadily and with control. Always keep your head above the water’s surface. Focus on maintaining controlled and continuous motions to keep you afloat.
    3. Water Tread Endurance Workout: Begin with two minutes of slow and controlled treading. Follow with one minute of faster tread “sprints.” Alternate between the slow and fast-paced water treads three times for nine minutes. Increase the number of sets or duration as you build endurance.

Challenge Yourself: Once you master proper form while treading water and build endurance, try treading water without a flotation device for part or all of your workout.

#4 Aqua Yoga Workout

Water yoga is a calming and refreshing way to elevate your practice. Adapting yoga poses for the pool can enhance your flexibility, balance and mind-body connection in a rejuvenating environment. It also provides an entirely new and deeply refreshing yoga experience.

Here’s a guide to a short water yoga routine that can easily be expanded by adding in your favorite in-studio yoga poses:

  1. Warrior Pose: Stand upright in the shallow end with your feet hip-width apart. Place one foot forward. Bend your knee to a 90-degree angle while your back leg remains straight. Extend your arms—one arm forward and one arm back—so they are parallel to the water’s surface and aligned with your shoulders. Hold the pose for 30 seconds, focusing on your breath and balance. Switch sides and repeat.
  2. 2. Tree Pose: Stand upright with your feet hip-width apart in the shallow end. Shift your body weight onto your left foot. Slowly raise your right foot and place the sole of the right foot against your inner thigh or calf. Bring your hands together in a prayer position at your chest or extend them overhead. Hold the pose for 30 seconds. Switch sides and repeat.
  3. 3. Floating Savasana: Move to the deep end, bringing two pool noodles for support. Lie back in the water with one pool noodle under your shoulders to support your upper body and another under your knees to support your lower body. Allow your arms and legs to float freely while maintaining balance with your core. Close your eyes and focus on deep, steady breathing. Hold the pose for five minutes.

Challenge Yourself: Try yoga poses on a stand-up paddleboard (SUP) to test your balance and core strength. A SUP board adds an extra layer of difficulty by requiring you to stabilize yourself on an unstable surface, enhancing the intensity of your practice.

#5 Water Core Exercises

Water core workouts are a refreshingly practical way to target your abdominal muscles, obliques and lower back. Water planks and crunches are great core exercises for the pool, perfect for integrating into a more extensive water workout routine.

Here’s how to perform water planks and water crunches with pool noodles:

    1. Water Planks: Place a pool noodle horizontally in front of you. Grip the ends of the noodle and extend your body behind you so you are in a plank position with your feet floating off the pool floor. Engage your core by pulling your belly button toward your spine. Keep your body straight from head to heels. Try not to sag your hips or arch your back. Hold this position for 30 seconds to one minute.
    2. Water Crunches: In the shallow end, place a pool noodle behind your back, just under your shoulder blades. Lean back slightly. Let the pool noodle support your upper body as your feet remain planted on the pool floor. Engage your core. Bring your knees toward your chest while curling your upper body forward into a crunch. Slowly return to the starting position. Keep your movements controlled to maximize muscle engagement. Perform three sets of 15 reps.

Challenge Yourself: Commit to a 30-day pool plank and crunch summer challenge with your workout buddy. Every day, increase the duration of your water planks by three seconds and your crunches by three reps. You’ll keep each other motivated and accountable while boosting your strength and endurance.

#6 Water Strength-Training Workout

Strength training in the pool is an excellent way to build full-body muscle. Use equipment like water weights, resistance bands and noodles to replicate traditional gym exercises while staying cool in the pool. You’ll also experience the natural resistance and support of water, which makes every movement impactful and easy on your joints.

Here’s a guide to performing a solid pool strength training routine:

    1. Bicep Curls: Stand in the shallow end of the pool. Place both feet shoulder-width apart. Hold water weights in both hands with your arms extended down by your sides. Slowly curl the weights up toward your shoulders while keeping your elbows close to your body. Lower the weights back down with control. Perform two sets of 15 reps.
    2. Tricep Extensions: Stand shoulder-width apart in the shallow end of the pool. With both hands, hold one water weight behind your head with elbows bent. Extend the arms upward and push the weight above your head. Slowly lower back to the starting position. Perform two sets of 15 reps.
    3. Leg Presses: Stand with your back flat against the pool’s edge. Place a resistance band around both ankles. While holding onto the side of the pool for support, press your left leg straight out. With control, return the leg to its starting position. Repeat this motion 12 times, and then alternate to the right leg. Perform two sets of 15 reps for each leg.
    4. Back Rows: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Hold a water weight in both hands. Bend slightly at the waist while keeping your back straight. Pull the weights toward your torso and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Lower the weights back down with control. Perform two sets of 15 reps.
    5. Chest Flies: Stand in the shallow end with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold water weights in both hands. Extend your arms out to the sides at shoulder height. Simultaneously, bring the weights together in front of your chest while slightly bending your elbows. Slowly return to the starting position. Perform two sets of 15 reps.

#7 Water Lower-Body Exercises

Change up your typical lower-body split routine by jumping into the pool. Underwater lower body exercises are an excellent way to strengthen your legs while enjoying a gentle resistance-based workout for your joints. The extra effort to maintain balance while performing these traditional exercises in the water can also improve your overall stability and coordination.

Here’s a guide to performing three lower-body exercises in a pool:

    1. Leg Lifts: Stand in the shallow end at waist level. For extra support, hold onto the pool’s edge or a noodle. Lift your right leg out in front of you. Keep it straight and engage your core. Lower the right leg down in a controlled motion. Repeat with your left leg. Perform three sets of 12 reps on each leg.
    2. Lunges: Stand in the shallow end with your feet hip-width apart. Step forward with your right leg. Keep your back leg straight. Bend your front knee to a 90-degree angle. Push back to the starting position. Repeat motions with your left leg. Perform three sets of 12 reps on each leg.
    3. Squats: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Lower your body into a squat position by bending your knees and pushing your hips backward. Keep your chest up and shoulders back. Use your arms to help balance and stabilize yourself. Push through your heels like you’re pushing the floor away from you. Return to the starting standing position. Perform three sets of 12 reps.

Challenge Yourself: After mastering the standard underwater leg lift, take the exercise up a notch by balancing the active leg on a submerged pool noodle. This added challenge can further enhance your core stability, balance and lower-body strength.

 

Stay Refreshed This Summer at an EōS Fitness Pool

Whether diving into water jogging, mastering yoga and core routines or challenging your endurance, water exercises offer fitness enthusiasts fun and impactful methods for staying in shape through the dog days of summer.

With exquisite pools at many of our gyms, EōS Fitness is the perfect place to enjoy underwater exercises this summer. Visit our Gym Location page to find an EōS location near you with a pool, plus many other state-of-the-art amenities we proudly offer. Then dive into a complimentary 7-Day Gym Pass and discover why EōS Fitness is your perfect fitness partner in and out of the water.

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