Pool Workouts: Use The Aquatic Gym

At any time of day, nothing sounds better than a refreshing dip in the pool. The sight of your lanai, the blue waters and peace of the outdoors create a serene setting meant for relaxation and entertaining. While a sight to behold for friends and family alike, a pool can also be a helpful workout partner!

When owners are looking for a break from their usual workout routines, a pool workout can be an exciting alternative! While the sun is beating down, the water will keep owners cool, providing the perfect opportunity to burn calories in their personal paradise. Whatever the fitness goal is, pools are ready to assist!

Ready to dive into aquatic fitness? We’ll look at the main benefits of a water workout and our five favorite exercises that work major muscle groups.


Why Exercise in a Pool?

When it comes to the gym, the thought of using a pool may not swim to the surface. Gyms have plenty of machines and equipment needed to work muscle groups, how can a pool do the same?

As a matter of fact, pools already have one extremely versatile tool a person would need for any kind of exercise: water. Water has heavier resistance than air, so any kind of movement in water will require more effort. This can engage muscle groups more fully, adding a challenging but fun element to any exercise one might do outside of the pool. The additional resistance can also increase the calories burned in a single exercise, which is another bonus!

While gyms offer plenty of equipment for specific workouts, a pool workout can do just as much with less. When it comes to strength training, foam dumbbells are a perfect option. While lightweight compared to regular dumbbells, these become heavy underwater due to their increased resistance, making swimmers truly feel the burn. The resistance can also be increased by going into further depths in the pool. For those looking to better engage their upper body and core areas, a pool noodle is all that is needed. For those looking to up the intensity after a few sessions, ankle and wrist weights can increase resistance of movements in the water.

When it comes to a pool workout, you need minimal equipment, but foam dumbbells are a must.

Another benefit of pool workouts is how they minimize the risk for injury. The buoyancy of water can support a person’s weight, making it easier to move and improve flexibility. Furthermore, this buoyancy takes a load off a person’s body, making pool exercises perfect for swimmers facing any kind of joint issues. While pool water puts less impact on the body, swimmers are actually able to work out harder and push themselves more!


Workouts to Feel the Burn Underwater

From full-body strength training to cardio, a pool is a gym tailored to each individual’s personal needs. While there are plenty of exercises you can do, here are a few pool workouts we found particularly effective:


1. Walk in water: To strive for success in the water, take proper steps. We really mean that; walking in water can help swimmers understand how the resistance can feel on their bodies. This exercise targets arms, core and the lower body while performing some light cardio.

Begin this exercise in waist-high water in order to gain proper footing. With every step, apply pressure to the heel first and then toes for maximum impact with the lower body. Swimmers also need to stand tall and straight, as the resistance faced in each step can lead to a loss of balance. Swimmers should do this for 5 – 10 minutes at a time. To increase the intensity, make use of ankle weights or move towards chest-high water. Jogging in place is another effective alternative.


2. Incline push-up: Push-ups can actually be more effective when done on an angle. They can become even more of a challenge when in pool water! This exercise is great for the upper body, targeting the triceps, shoulder and chest in particular.

To do an incline push-up, stay in the water, facing the side of the pool and place both hands (shoulder-width apart) on the edge. Keep arms and legs straight for proper alignment with the pool wall. Users will then perform the same movement as a standard pushup, bending elbows to 90 degrees and then pushing back up. What makes this incredibility effective is the water’s resistance. When pushing out of the water, swimmers now have to fight this opposing force, requiring muscles to exert more energy!


3. Bicep Curls: When it comes to strength training, equipment such as dumbbells are a classic item, allowing people to really focus on specific muscle groups. One common movement is a curl, which focuses on the bicep (front arm muscle). This exercise can be taken to the next level in a pool!

 For a pool bicep curl, foam dumbbells are strongly encouraged as they add more resistance in the water. Stand in shoulder-high pool water and hold the dumbbells underwater, palms facing up. Lift the forearms to the top of the water and then bring down.


4. High-knee lift extensions: This exercise is well-known for its ability to strengthen muscles and help with balance. While simple, a lift extension becomes more effective in the water, forcing swimmers to fight resistance as they raise knees and stretch their legs.

Knee extensions are the ideal pool workout for your core and balance

Since this is a lower body/core exercise, swimmers only need to be in waist-high water. Once ready, lift one leg, bending the knee until level with the water surface and hold for a few seconds. The leg then needs to be extended straight out, holding the position for a few seconds. Lower the leg and repeat with the other. For those wanting to increase the difficulty of this pool workout, ankle weights can help.


5. Jumping Jacks: Jumping Jacks are the perfect warmup as it works the entire body, preparing it for the day’s workout routine. When underwater, a Jumping Jack becomes a real full-body workout!

For effective Jumping Jacks as a pool workout, be in the water at chest level. Jump and move your legs out while bringing your arms above your head and bring everything together when going down. Due to the rapid-fire movement, swimmers need to exert more force to successfully complete one rep. For more of a challenge, wrist and ankle weights are encouraged.


Versatile gym, entertainment space and private paradise, pools offer a stylish aesthetic while maintaining maximum function. As one of Southwest Florida’s premier pool builders, we want to create a beautiful space that can suit your every need while outside. If you’re ready to create the pool you’ve always dreamed of, contact us here.