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11 Workouts That You Can Do In an Exercise Pool
11 Workouts That You Can Do In an Exercise Pool
Written by Kimberly Giraldo
Updated over a week ago

A water workout is a fun and refreshing way to exercise without putting added stress and pressure on the joints. Pool exercises are not just for those who need to focus on joint-friendly forms of exercise. Some of today’s most advanced athletes turn to water workouts to enhance their training. Plus, there are some incredible proven benefits of water workouts for people of all athletic abilities.

This article will cover some of the best reasons to work out in the water and reveal 11 workouts that you can do in an exercise pool. Furthermore, it will cover additional topics such as recommended pool exercise equipment to increase the intensity of your water workouts and other water fitness techniques that can enhance your workout.

Reasons to work out in the water

Good health is certainly a valid reason to give water aerobics and other water exercises a try. A recent article titled, “What makes water workouts so worthwhile?” on the Harvard Health Publishing Harvard Medical School website explores how aquatic exercise can strengthen your cardiovascular system and muscles.

In the article, Dr. Aubrey Grant, sports cardiology fellow at the Cardiac Performance Laboratory at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital, calls swimming “one of the best forms of cardiovascular exercise.” Grant further explains in the article that “swimming is a full-body exercise that uses nearly every muscle in your body to propel you forward. And because you’re horizontal in the water, blood doesn’t pool in your lower body like it does when you’re exercising upright.”

That combined with the pressure of the water on your body increases blood flow from your extremities toward the center of your body and your heart. Through this, your heart becomes more efficient, according to Grant. Another plus the article states: “Moving your body through water provides far more resistance than moving through air, which means swimming strengthens your muscles and cardiovascular system simultaneously.”

1. Swimming

Naturally, swimming is an excellent workout you can do in any type of pool. Doing it in an exercise pool or swim spa can enhance this workout even more. A swim spa is a hybrid between a hot tub and a swimming pool. They offer dual temperature options and jetted seating around the perimeter for relaxing as well as a central area in which you can exercise. Swim spas are designed for fitness training and feature strong jets that create a current for you to swim again.

The added benefit of swimming in an exercise pool or swim spa is that you don’t have to turn around once you reach the edge of the pool. Instead, you are consistently swimming against that current, which can be adjusted to be more or less challenging as you increase your strength and endurance.

2. Water Walking

As simple as it sounds, walking in water provides an excellent workout without putting too much pressure on your joints. As with swimming, you get the added benefit of resistance to enhance your walking.

3. Lunges

Just as you might do a standard lunge on dry land, lunges can be done as a part of a water workout. Keep your feet hip-width apart, place one foot in front and one behind, then lower your body, remaining centered between your legs.

4. Squats

Another common weight room exercise, squats are a great part of a water workout too. Squats work your multiple muscle groups including your quads, hamstrings, glutes, abs and calves. Keep your feet parallel, slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, then bend your knees and come up, squeezing your muscles as you return to a standing position.

5. Push-ups

Push-ups can be done in an exercise pool much like you might do a wall push-up. Steady your hands along the edge of the swim spa, ensuring it’s not slippery and angle your body behind you. Keep your arms parallel, then bend your elbows as far as you can before returning to the starting position.

6. Arm exercises

Simply raising your arms to the side, called a lateral raise, and in front of you, called a front raise, and doing bicep curls can be effective exercises in the water thanks to the added resistance. Using foam dumbbells or water weights can further increase the intensity of these workouts.

7. Leg raises

For this workout, place your back flat against the edge of the exercise pool and brace yourself with your arms along the edge. Keeping your back to the surface of the swim spa and your legs tight together, lift them slowly to waist height, then lower them.

8. Paddling

You can paddle in an exercise pool by propping yourself against on edge of the exterior and kicking backwards. The use of a standard kickboard can also help you do this in the center of the swim spa.

9. Jumping Jacks

Doing jumping jacks in the pool is much easier on your joints than if you were doing them on dry land. The water works in your favorite for added resistance without the harsh landing of a typical jumping jack.

10. Bicycle

With your back against the interior of the exercise pool, move your legs in motion as if you were riding a bike. You can alternate between forward and backward movements.

11. Jump Tucks

For a challenge of high-intensity cardio, incorporate jump tucks into your water workout. Ensure you have enough area surrounding you in the swim spa. Then bend down into a semi-squat and with a burst of energy, bend and lift your legs towards your middle.

Thanks to tools like YouTube and digital apps, a myriad of water aerobics videos are just a smart device away. While it’s certainly not suggested to bring your smart device into the water or too near it, accessing these videos can give you additional inspiration for your next water workout. According to the Harvard Health Publishing Harvard Medical School website, “there are more mellow alternatives that mimic other popular forms of land-based exercise, such as water-based Zumba, yoga, tai chi and Pilates.”

Water workout equipment

There are a multitude of accessories that can help enhance or switch up your water workout including the following:


-Water weights or foam dumbbells

-Buoyancy belt

-Hand paddles or resistance gloves

-Wrist and ankle weights

-Form Smart Swim Goggles, wearable technology calibrated specifically for Jacuzzi® PowerPro® Swim Spas

Three Tips for working out in an exercise pool

1. Stay Hydrated — Because you’re partially submerged in water during a water workout, you may not be hot or sweating as you might be during a traditional workout. However, it is still important to stay hydrated during a water workout. According to an article on John Hopkins University HUB at Work website, “Water is essential to the body during exercise. It dissolves electrolytes—minerals that include sodium, potassium, and magnesium—and distributes them throughout the body, where electrical energy triggers muscle contractions required for movement.”

2. Warm up and cool down — Stretching before and after any workout is a key aspect of your entire workout and essential for your workout recovery. An article on the Mayo Clinic states that stretching “may help you improve your range of motion and decrease your range of motion... [and] improve flexibility.”

3. Start slow — When starting any new form of exercise, it’s important to start slow, and build your strength and endurance. If you’ve never used a swim spa and are unfamiliar with the power of its current, this is especially important.

Taking it easy at first can help you avoid feeling sore after the workout, according to an article titled, “Exercises to try in the pool right now” on the Harvard Health Publishing Harvard Medical School website. In the article, Jessica Hildebrandt, a physical therapist at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women's Hospital, and former competitive swimmer and water polo player, states: “The water supports you, so you feel good and can do more than you’re used to. But you can overdo it without realizing it. She advises water exercise novices to start with easier exercises and shorter durations, then gradually increase the intensity.

If you’re interested in exercise pools, Jacuzzi® Swim Spas are designed to support the needs of high-endurance athletes and can help increase your ability to train, recover, relax and perform. By harnessing water’s natural ability to heal the mind, body and soul, the Jacuzzi® company takes the concept of an exercise pool to the next level.

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Medical disclaimer: This information is not intended to prescribe a particular diagnosis or course of action. We are not medical professionals. Please contact your GP or other medical professional for advice if you have any concerns about your current health or well-being.

Affiliations: Jacuzzi® is a registered trademark of Jacuzzi Group. All rights reserved.

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