Swimming-Pool Swap

By John Kelley
Photo: © Can Stock Photo Inc.

Many people try to improve their physical fitness by lifting weights or performing different cardiovascular exercises. However, those who continue to do the same routines over and over will not improve. To prevent encountering plateaus and boredom, water exercises can be added to physical-fitness programs.


The goal of any workout routine is to improve various fitness components, such as strength, endurance, power, balance, and flexibility. Dense water in a swimming pool provides a natural resistance so the entire body has to work. Another advantage of water exercises is they minimize the chances of injury because of being low-impact.

The Workout Plan
Here is a workout plan that anyone can do in a pool. Participants can perform each exercise with full intensity without breaks. The workouts are designed to target specific muscles groups for strength, and then each set can finish with a cardio exercise. Participants should complete all three routines before taking a break.

Jog in place or swim for about 3 to 7 minutes.

Routine 1: Pool Dips And Hug Jumping Jacks
Pool Dips: Face the wall of the pool and place your hands on the deck. Jump up and push your hips out of the water. Lower yourself until you feel a tension in your chest, upper back, and arms. As soon as you feel the appropriate tension, push your hands on the deck to bring hips back out of the water. Repeat this exercise for 30 seconds.

Hug Jumping Jacks: Perform a squat with shoulders under the water. Open legs to a wide squat and arms as if you were going to give someone a hug. Then close legs to a regular squat and arms as if you did hug someone. Perform this movement in a dynamic manner. Repeat this exercise for 1 minute.

Routine 2: Scissor Flutters And High Knee Sprint
Scissor Flutters: Raise shoulders out of the water and place elbows on the deck with upper- or middle-back resting on the wall. Raise legs straight in the water, making an “L” shape with your body. Bring the right foot over the left foot, then the left foot over the right foot. Repeat this exercise for 30 seconds.

High Knee Sprint: Start at one end of the pool and sprint as hard as you can to the other. Raise your knees high during each stride, forcefully pushing off the ground to sprint forward. Cut through the water with your arms to assist in moving forward. Repeat this exercise for 1 minute.

Routine 3: Squat Hold With Straight Arm Flutter And Squat Jumps
Squat Hold: Squat down with arms straight and palms facing down. Maintain the squat position and only move your arms up and down. This exercise will work shoulders, abdominals, chest, and legs. Repeat this exercise for 30 seconds.

Squat Jumps: Squat down with shoulders in the water, and jump up as high as you can out of the water. When you land, squat immediately and jump out of the water as high as you can. Repeat this exercise for 1 minute.

Cooling down is just as important as warming up. Slowly jog in place for 3 to 5 minutes to assist the body in returning to normal breathing and blood circulation.

John Kelley , MSS, CSCS, CPFT, is a Fitness Coordinator for Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation at Bette Rae Thomas Recreation Center in North Carolina. Reach him at john.kelley@mecklenburgcountync.gov .