Water is amazing! Exercising in the water emphasizes every move you make and helps you get the most out of your workout. Water offers resistance in every direction, so it is the perfect place to exercise and tone your muscles.
Walking through the water is more difficult than walking on land. Try taking long sliding steps and holding your arms straight at your sides to maximize the water resistance. Remaining vertical in an aquatic environment requires considerable core strength, keeping those muscles engaged for your entire workout.
Keep your elbows pressed against your sides with your forearms horizontal. Move your arms in an open/close motion or back and forth like windshield wipers. Hands in a fist will offer less resistance than hands spread out like a paddle. Both provide significant resistance and will tone the muscles. Keeping your elbows at your sides, move the lower arms up and down in a bicep curl motion. The water provides resistance in both directions, so you will tone the target muscles and the complement muscles through both eccentric and concentric motion.
Use a buoyant aid like a noodle or set of dumbbells to keep your head above water. Sit back and lift your feet off the pool bottom like you're in a chaise lounge. In this position you can tone your abdominals and core muscles by doing small crunches and large leg movements. Stretch your legs out wide and then close them to cross your feet. Alternate which foot crosses over the top. Raise your feet and knees to the surface of the water and
hold them in position. This isometric exercise keeps the core tight.
Adding extra resistance increases the stress on your muscles and helps with toning. Add a set of buoyant dumbbells to the arm exercises listed previously to increase resistance. Stand with the dumbbells at your sides and walk through the water sideways, taking big sliding steps. Move your arms to wide angle out to the sides when you step and close into your body when you bring your feet together. Alternate bringing the dumbbells together in front of your body and behind your back to increase complexity.
Stand next to the wall of the pool and place a pool noodle under your left foot. With your right side next to the wall in water that is not much more than waist-deep, raise your left leg out to the side. Keep it straight and only go to a maximum 45-degree angle. Raise and lower your leg 10 -15 times, then repeat on the other side to tone the adductors on your inner thigh. Face the wall and put the noodle under your ankle with one leg bent behind you. Keeping your knees together, gently pulse your leg up and down. The resistance of the pool noodle will help tone your quadriceps and hamstrings. Repeat with the other leg.
Water provides resistance and can help with muscle toning while being gentle on your joints. Try your workout in the water to add a new element, ease pressure on an injured muscle, and allow your body to do more than you thought it could.