For those wanting to build muscle and tone while putting a low impact on the joints, many turn to water aerobics. Aquatic exercises are a great way to achieve various fitness goals including strength training and cardio in a safer approach that is still effective. While water dumbbell exercises mainly target the upper body, there are various exercises that can work out different areas for building muscle.
The key to strength training in the water is choosing the right resistance level. Beginners will want to start off slow with a lighter water dumbbell set then progress to heavier, thicker dumbbells that offer more resistance. Water dumbbells come in various shapes and sizes to accommodate fitness goals.
Water Aerobics Exercises
For water exercises to be effective in strength training you must be able to submerge the dumbbells completely under water in order to create the ideal resistance. Here we’ve listed some effective exercises to do using your water dumbbells in a swimming pool or open water where you can stand at least chest-deep.
With a dumbbell in each hand, bring your arms to your sides. Keeping your elbows tight against the sides of your body and your upper arms remaining in place, turn your hands so that your palms are facing up. Bring the dumbbells up using your forearms until your elbow is at a 90-degree angle. Turn your hands with your palms facing downwards then push against the water as you bring your arms back down at your sides. The recommended number of repetitions for this exercise is 10-12 times for at least 2 sets.
For this exercise you will stand with your feet placed shoulder-width apart. This will provide better balance to do the exercise. With a water dumbbell in each hand, place your arms straight out in front of you but keeping your elbows slightly bent. Bring your arms out to your sides with palms facing forward, pushing the dumbbells against the water and squeezing your shoulder blades together. Pause for a brief moment then pull your arms in front of you back to the starting position.
Stand in the pool with your feet placed hip-width apart in water at waist-deep. Hold a dumbbell in each hand with your arms at your sides and palms facing inward. Lower your body bending at the knees, ankles and hips to a squat. Be sure to keep your back straight and don’t over flex your knees past your toes. Hold position for about 5 seconds then return back to standing position, pushing with your legs.
This exercise is performed much the same as on land with traditional dumbbells and is ideal in water at shoulder-level. Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart with one foot in front of the other for stability. With a dumbbell in each hand bring your arms down in front of you with the dumbbells placed in front of your hips, palms facing towards you. Lift the dumbbells straight up to your chest until the dumbbells are at water level. Hold
Hold a dumbbell in each hand with your arms at your sides and elbows flexed at a 90-degree angle. Jog through the water just as you would on land, keeping the dumbbells submerged. If you don’t have ample room for jogging from one end of a pool to the other you can jog in place and still achieve an effective workout.
Tips for Aquatic Exercises
While aquatic exercises can be safer than land exercises with traditional weights, there is still a risk of injury if not done correctly. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when performing water exercises.
- Don’t overextend that would pose an uncomfortable position or strain on the joints. Remember to keep proper form of spinal alignment, don’t lock your joints, and work with your range of motion throughout the exercises.
- Perform warm-up exercises prior to starting aquatic dumbbell exercises and use slow fluid motions.
- Always have someone accompany you while doing exercises in the water. Even advanced trainers can experience accidents or spasms that could be dangerous in the water.
- For optimal results, you want to always keep the dumbbells submerged to create resistance and work against the flow of the water (if there is movement)
Aquatic exercise is an effective workout for various muscle groups of the body and many enjoy it over working out in a gym. Also check out our section on recommended dumbbell exercises on land using traditional dumbbells to mix it up.