Exercising outside of a pool in a gym tends to be more high impact, so it can be risky for rehabilitation and/or injuries. At chest height in water, your body weight is approximately 10% less than normal, which makes some exercises easier, but adding resistance can make them harder! Training in a small pool means you are able to combine high resistance with low impact. A daily small pool workout can increase your strength and cardiovascular abilities- without burning-out like you could in a gym or ‘normal’ workout routine. However, you don’t need to exercise in the plunge pool everyday to experience an increase of the tone in your muscles and an improvement of your overall fitness. The best news about small pool fitness = there’s NO SWIMMING LAPS!
Try this full body circuit routine in your small pool:
For best results complete 2-3 sets of each exercise in a circuit (after you are warmed up) As with all exercise advice, please consult your healthcare professional if you have any pre-existing conditions or concerns. If you experience pain or abnormal discomfort, please reconsider the movement/action.
*There should be an element of discomfort – as you know what they say ‘No pain, no Gain’ – but be smart and listen to your body!
Warm up: Stretches and Walking/Jogging
Complete some full body stretches outside of the pool. Then when you are in the water, slowly walk a few steps forward, and then walk backwards. Repeat and increase your speed. Alternate between walking and jogging each 30 seconds for 5 minutes in total.
Upper body: Arm Circles
Once submerged up to your neck, elevate both arms to shoulder height at the sides, then start rotating them in forward circles at moderate speeds.
Complete about 20 reps (or when your arms get tired!) forwards, and then repeat in a backwards direction. You can add weights to step up the workout to the next level.
Lower body: Lunges (and/or) squats
Perform these just as you would on land. Knees to track over the toes, looking for that 90 degree bend in the knee. Add in a jump out of the water between each repetition to train for explosive /plyometric power. For lunges you can stay on one leg for 20 reps each side, or alternate between legs if you need to rest.
Upper body: Press-ups and dips
Using the edge of the pool, press yourself up and out of the water. Use your triceps (back of the arms) to reverse the movement back down. Go slowly for a more intense burn. Complete 10-15 reps- the slower the better!
Lower body: Squat pulls using a pool noodle
In the deep end, using pool noodle under your feet, bring your feet up as if you were doing a squat, then extend back down to a straight legged position. This adds an element of balance to your training. If you like you can also use the pool noodle under your arms and lean back to extend your feet out straight on more of an angle. Both exercises will engage your core as well. Complete 20-30 quick repetitions of either (or both).
Balance: Balancing with a ball
Hold a ball straight out in front of you at chest level while balancing (or bouncing) on one leg for 30 seconds and then switch legs. Complete this exercise, alternating legs for 2-3 minutes. To make it easier you can bend your arms, or to make it harder you can add weight by grabbing a heavier ball, or even holding weights instead.
Core: Hip twists
With your feet in a split-stance, keep both arms straight in front of you and just below the water’s surface. Rotate at your core from side to side. Add weights for additional resistance to make it more challenging, or stand up out of the water to make it easier. Complete 15-20 repetitions each side.
Cool down: water walking and stretches
Make sure you spend at least 5 minutes to restore your heart rate to resting, by walking slowly and breathing deeply. Then complete a full body stretch to encourage recovery (and eat/drink some protein!)
Keeping fit and healthy in your own backyard has never been easier, with plenty of variations and ideas online to keep you motivated in your small pool. Along with an exercise routine, for us all to lead healthy lives with balance, we need to ensure we are balancing our work routines, our food habits. Eat clean by adding in more fruits and veggies, take out the packaged/processed foods, and choose grass fed (over grain fed) meats. Protein will help your body recover from training, so ensure you fuel your body with a protein shake or other source of protein after you finish your workout. Another part of keeping our life in balance is keeping a healthy social life and looking after our mental health. Getting outdoors and into the pool is proven to be great for our mental health, and if you do it with a friend, you will be increasing your social life too!