"Muscles have memory-- meaning they can get accustomed to the same workout," says Peggy Brower, a certified Aquatics Instructor. "By changing your water workout, you are shocking your muscles."
Brower says, "I have seen very fast results with water workouts because water automatically works the opposing muscle group unlike a land-based exercise program where you have to work the opposing muscle group separately. Water is constantly giving a massage to the body. It really is a liquid weight room. You will burn fat and many calories in a water exercise class."
However, those results will peak as your muscles develop memory of your workout. "If you are seeing results taper, or are just bored, it is a great time to change your water workout."
One way to switch things up is by taking a class at your local pool. "Many pools offer classes like Aqua Kick-Boxing, Aqua Sculpt, and Abs/Glutes. These classes offer the opportunity to workout specific muscle groups and target areas," says Brower.
Brower recommends taking classes two to three times per week and mixing up the different types of classes you take. You can even mix up the instructors, because not all instructors teach the same way.
If you cannot take classes, here is a simple structure to help you design your own workout:
- Warm up - 2-3 minutes of easy movements. Focus on the entire body, head to toe. Flex and extend all the joints, keeping movements at a low to moderate speed.
- Main Session - 20-40 minutes of continuous aerobic activity. Workout within your personal fitness level and established medical guidelines
- Strength Water Workout (optional) - 5-15 minutes of abdominal and/or arm exercises using strength resistant equipment like DeltaBells, X-Cuffs, and Web Pro Gloves.
- Cool Down - 3 minutes of easy fluid movements in the water. Decrease speed and perform movements which emphasize those muscle groups worked during the session.
- Stretch - A thorough stretch is always a good idea after (and before) your workout.