Aqua fitness – power exercises in the water

Aqua fitness – power exercises in the water

Water has long been used for therapy after injuries. However, aqua fitness has also established itself in the wellness and fitness area because fitness gymnastics in the water is a gentle and effective full-body workout. Water is an ideal medium for movement training, as strength training builds muscle and increases endurance and general fitness. Here, you can find out what is behind aqua fitness, which types of sport and which exercises are suitable.

Aqua fitness: training, prevention and rehabilitation

Aqua sport combines stretching, strength training, endurance training and relaxation. Aqua fitness is ideal for strengthening all muscle groups and is optimal cardiovascular training accessible on the joints. The movements in the water appeal to health-oriented people, fitness-oriented, healthy people, and those with previous illnesses. The sport is also ideal for rehabilitation, for pregnant women or if you are overweight.

The positive effects of water on the human body can be easily combined with practical training. As with other sports, joint loads are primarily offset by the water. Balance, coordination, mobility and performance can be trained.


Training in the water for physical ailments

The fun in the water element and the more accessible exercise options promote well-being. Weight relief is also highly healthy for overweight people who still want to be physically active. Walking in water also benefits people with joints already showing signs of wear, such as osteoarthritis.

Aqua Fitness suits almost everyone, even those who have not played sports for a long time. However, the contraindications are severe cardiovascular diseases, balance problems, epilepsyhypertension or inflammatory diseases in an acute phase.

Seven positive effects on physical health

Muscle building, fat loss, coordination training or increasing general fitness are possible training goals. Aqua fitness has various positive effects on health:

  1. The buoyancy in the water protects tendons, ligaments, joints and the spine.
  2. Exercising in the water also strengthens our immune system.
  3. Water aerobics offers the opportunity to become more flexible, get fit, and stay gently and healthily.
  4. The respiratory muscles are trained, the metabolism stimulated, and mobility improved.
  5. Since the muscle tone is reduced in the water, the muscles relax – including the often tense abdominal and back muscles.
  6. Training in the water strengthens the cardiovascular system and helps to increase strength and endurance.
  7. Increased blood flow promotes tightening of the tissue.


Fitness in the swimming pool: This is how aqua fitness works

Aqua sports use water’s physical properties because water’s density is about a thousand times greater than the density of air. Therefore, this medium opposes all movements with an apparent resistance. These four factors play a role in aqua fitness:

The water buoyancy

Your body weight appears lighter as the gravity in the water is reduced. The buoyancy of the water allows the body to weigh only about 10 per cent of its weight. Water therapy’s gentle and relieving effect on joints, ligaments and tendons is due to this buoyancy.

Hydrostatic pressure

Water pressure is significantly higher than air pressure. Water, therefore, exerts pressure on the superficial blood vessels. The increased hydrostatic pressure leads more blood to the heart, increasing its stroke volume by up to 20 per cent, which means that the blood supply to the heart increases. Water pressure and resistance put more significant strain on the heart and circulation, strengthening them in the long term.



When the body tries to move forward against the water, drag forces act back on the body. The water resistance increases with the speed of movement and, above all, with the body’s position in the water. Swimming offers the least resistance and running the most resistance in the water, and working against the water resistance results in a strengthening effect on the muscles and a massage effect. This also increases calorie consumption.

thermal conductivity

Water has a high conductivity – the body gives off about three to four times more heat to the water than to the air. The body has to compensate for this heat loss with an increased metabolism. To keep the heat loss as low as possible, the blood vessels in the water contract and expand again when they leave the water. The temperature change and the body’s adaptation strengthen the immune system.

Aqua fitness: when and how often to train?

The best training effects are achieved if you train two to three times a week for half an hour to three-quarters of an hour. The ideal water temperature is between 28 and 30 degrees Celsius.


What types of aqua fitness are there?

Aqua fitness is the generic term for various sports in the water, such as:

  • Aqua aerobics/water aerobics
  • Aqua-Aerobic (Aquarobic) / Aqua-Power
  • Aqua-Jogging / (Nordic) Aqua-Walking
  • Aqua-Boxing
  • Aqua-Balancing / Aqua-Relaxing
  • Aqua-Dancing / Aqua-Zumba
  • Aqua-Cycling / Aqua-Spinning
  • Aqua-Step
  • Aqua-Jumping

All forms of aqua fitness should be learned with the support of experienced trainers. The training usually takes place in groups.

Some forms of aqua sports and typical exercises are presented below.

Aqua jogging: what should be considered when training?

While swimming aims for the lowest possible water resistance, aqua jogging is precisely the opposite: the more resistance, the better the training effect for muscles and the cardiovascular system.

The equipment, therefore, includes a buoyancy belt and equipment to generate more water resistance. The head stays above water, and arms and legs move underwater, like running or gymnastics. While in some forms of aqua jogging, there is still ground contact because the training takes place in chest-deep water, in other forms, the feet do not touch the ground.

You should note that:

  1. Maintain an upright posture (not leaning too far forward but not too far back).
  2. Maintain a slight forward lean (like jogging on land).
  3. The deeper the water, the more strenuous the movements. Advanced practice in the depths.

Aqua jogging: exercises to get you started

The following two aqua jogging exercises are essential parts of the training:

  • Exercise 1 – continuous running step:  Small steps with slight knee joint bending are essential. The individual phases – raising the knees, swinging the lower leg forward and pulling phase – are deliberately emphasized. After pulling your lower leg forward, straighten your foot and step back with your leg. The sole pushes water away and thus provides propulsion.
  • Exercise 2 – walking step:  The walking step is characterized by stretched arms and legs oscillating offset against each other. The execution of the movement is similar to the diagonal step in cross-country skiing. The arms determine the clock speed.


Aqua-Power: Aerobic im Wasser

Aqua power is the name for a holistic training that can be considered an intensive form of water aerobics. Alternative names are aqua aerobics or aquarobics. In addition to the training effects of the water, training equipment is also used in the exercises, for example, pool noodles, swimming boards, special gloves or dumbbells. Music shouldn’t be missing, either.

Aqua Power Exercises

Water aerobics and aqua power include a variety of different exercises. In the following, we present various examples:

  • Exercise 1 – loosen the shoulder girdle: You start in a comprehensive, secure stance for this exercise. A rope or band is gripped and tightened at the end with your hands. Then, you swing the band alternately to the right and left in front of your body, whereby the upper arm leaves the water and is stretched sideways upwards. Then, swing the band behind your body.
  • Exercise 2 – Strengthening the shoulder muscles: The starting position is a stable, wide stance. On the one hand, you hold a buoyancy aid, such as a small swimming board. This is slightly pressed under the water surface. The exercise is performed alternately with both arms. It is important not to twist your upper body too much.
  • Exercise 3 – Strengthening of the arm muscles:  In a stable, wide stance, the arms (still in the water) are raised from the front of the body to shoulder height. Then, you box alternately with both arms against the water resistance. Exceptional dumbbells intensify the training effect.

Aqua Boxing – boxing in the wet

As with other variations of aqua fitness, water resistance is an essential aspect of training in aqua boxing. Special boxing gloves further increase this resistance.

With movements borrowed from boxing and Thai boxing, you train responsiveness, body control and mobility, but endurance and strength are also trained. Since the water slows down the movements, they can be carried out in a much more controlled manner, which trains coordination skills.


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