Let´s talk about water exercise…

When we are in the water, no matter if it’s a lake, sea or a swimming pool, we are in a fluid (pretty obvious isn´t it?) in this fluid and depending how deep we are in it (ankle deep, waist, chest, etc.) we are subject to different types of forces, these forces qualify as a resistance so in a manner we ARE performing resistance training, and we can take advantage of this and execute a variety of drills that can report a great benefit to your health and fitness.

Ok, first we must know the benefits of doing this type of exercise right?

– Virtually injury free
– Most drills impact our CRF (cardiorespiratory fitness)
– We can cover the entire Range of Motion of the given joints
– Most exercises are multijoint (which means that more that one joint is involved when performing it)
– Burning a considerably amount of calories
– Accelerate your resting metabolic rate (if doing it consistently and at the correct intensities)

* I suggest you take these as a general guideline and always seek the advice of a specialist that designs a training program to your needs.

All drills should be measurable (by the time, distance covered, depth, etc.) I recommend start all exercises with a general warm up (10 minutes will be fine)

1. Water running.

Get slightly above the knee and run, you will find resistance not just to pull your feet from under the water but also you will experiment form drag (which results from the way a fluid presses against the front or rear of an object passing through it).

Run at an intensity of 60% to 80% of your maximal speed for 10 meters, then stop rest for a minute and repeat four times.

*Take in mind that you can always scale the intensity of the drill by walking, as long as you preserve the stimuli you´ll be okay.

2. Fist swim

The only thing you need is to swim (freestyle) doing fists with your hands, you can start covering a distance of 10-12 meters, at 70% to 85% of your maximal speed, then stop rest for a minute, minute and a half and repeat six times.

3. One, one, two

Get waist deep and do a ¾ squat (when your thighs almost break parallel) and then jump with one leg as high as you can, rest ten seconds and do it with your other leg, rest ten seconds and then do it with both legs, repeat this cycle 8- 10 times.

* The only catch with this drill is that you require a bathing suit that fits (to prevent accidents).

Again you can control how forceful is the jump; make sure that your landing surface is flat enough to not cause any injury.

swimming workoutsImage by Simply Swim UK

 4. Kicking intervals

In here I advise two drills:

a) Tabata drill: that is put your hands together or with the help of any flotation device (like a kick board or a ball), you will then freestyle kick at an intensity of 90% of your maximal speed for twenty seconds and then recovery/rest for 10, repeat this seven more times to a total of eight cycles (that is four minutes).

* You can start covering a distance that allows you to do two cycles when going and two when returning (15-20 meters it´s about right).

b) Fixated distance drill: first you want to select the distance to cover, my recommendation 20-25 meters, then with or without a floating device you will freestyle kick at an intensity of 80% to 90% throughout the entire distance (you must try and sustain the speed), then rest for 30 to 50 seconds and repeat 5 times, to a total of 6 cycles.

5. Floating intervals

This is one deep-water exercise, so get ready!

Get into the water at a depth that covers your entire body when vertical, it could be 10 inches above your height the only thing is that you can float freely.

You are going to start floating and stay in float, imagine that the part of your chest that is outside the water is your mark and you can´t by any means let that sunken.

You want to maintain this position for a minimum of one minute and a maximum of five, then rest for a minute and repeat.

If you are intending for the upper limit you should as well rest for one minute, repeat this four times (to a total of 5 cycles)

How can I scale this drill to make it more intense?  Well you could always put your arms up an only kick with your feet.

If you are willing to try this as a part of a routine, you can start with arms and legs in the first interval, in the second let your chest out while floating, in the third float only with your leg action, fourth and fifth with your arms and legs involved.

Safe training everyone!

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Pollyanna Hale Health and Lifestyle coaches
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