Toning Water Exercises
How It Works
"This water workout burns tons of calories but feels like play," says Greg Moe, a master trainer for Rough-Fit outdoor fitness programs in Tustin, California, who created these insanely trimming moves (just see what they do for your abs!) exclusively for FITNESS. Simply treading water vigorously can zap 11 calories a minute, same as a six-mile-per-hour run. "Plus, water's continuous resistance forces you to engage more muscle fibers through a larger range of motion," says Moe, so you'll firm from every angle.
Perform as many reps of each exercise as you can in 30 seconds, rest, then repeat. (As you get fitter, aim for 45 to 60 seconds.) Do this workout on nonconsecutive days and emerge with a body to dive for!
What You'll Need: A beach ball (the larger the ball, the tougher the workout)
Targets: Arms, back, chest, abs, butt, and hamstrings
- In the deep end, tread water, making small circles with cupped hands, and lift right leg straight in front of you at hip level while reaching toes of left leg toward bottom of pool. Hold for 5 seconds.
- Switch legs quickly, bringing right leg down as you raise left leg, and hold for 5 seconds. Continue for 30 seconds, alternating sides.
Tip: Squeeze your glutes and quads to keep your legs straight.
Targets: Back, abs, butt, and legs
- Hugging beach ball to chest, float on back, legs extended, feet together.
- Roll toward left and over top of ball (like an otter spinning in the water), using entire body — shoulders, back, core, legs — to make a full revolution, returning to start. Take a breath. (Beginners can rock from side to side with head above water throughout.)
- Continue for 30 seconds, alternating direction of roll.
Tip: Really drive your leading shoulder and hip into the water to get rolling.
Targets: Shoulders, back, triceps, and abs
- Holding beach ball with arms stretched straight in front of you, float facedown in chest-deep water so legs are extended behind you, feet together.
- Keeping arms straight, pull ball underneath you, drawing it as fast as you can through water toward thighs in an arc. (As the ball is pressed underneath, it will lift you out of water to take a breath; beginners can keep head above water throughout.)
- When ball reaches thighs, bend elbows to bring it back to surface and press it forward to return to start position. Continue for 30 seconds.
Tip: Keep your arms as straight as possible and your body straight and stiff to get the most muscle sculpting.
Targets: Abs, hips, and arms
- Standing in shallow end of pool, simultaneously sit back into water, treading with hands by sides, and lift both legs together so that you fold at the hips (like a jackknife) and your body forms a wide V, with head and toes just above surface.
- Maintaining V position, move cupped hands in small circles by hips to tread water and propel yourself forward (sculling) down length of pool for 30 seconds.
Tip: If your toes start sinking under the water, widen the angle of the V and tighten your abs.
Targets: Back, abs, butt, and legs
- Facing pool wall in chest-deep water, hold on to edge of pool deck with left hand and place right palm, fingers pointing down, against wall just below water line for stability.
- Extend legs behind you at water level with both feet and knees together, then kick like a dolphin: Initiate the motion with abs and hips and transfer it through thighs to knees and finally to feet. Kick as hard and as fast as you can for 30 seconds, trying to make the biggest waves possible.
Tip: If you can't make waves for a full 30 seconds, don't stop! Separate your legs and do flutter kicks.