3 Ways To Use Water As The Ultimate Training Tool

by | Feb 26, 2024 | At Home Workouts, Coach Tips, Exercise Tips, Move Better, Water Exercise

Whether you already workout in a pool or not, the benefits are clear: by moving your limbs against the resistance of water, you engage multiple muscle groups, improving overall cardiovascular fitness and strength simultaneously. But sometimes it can feel challenging to know how to best use your most valuable training tool—moving against the water itself.

In this post, I’ll share 3 ways to connect with the water that’ll improve strength by challenging your muscles through their entire range of motion. These approaches, by focusing on how movements feel, will lead to improved muscle tone and endurance. Let’s dive in. 

1. Target Practice

Target practice is a movement exploration drill that helps you to learn the variable directions of natural body movement and feel the unique sensations of moving against the resistance of water.

Try it with a Single Arm Swing exercise: 

  • Round 1: Single arm swing front to back
  • Round 2: Single arm swing side to side
  • Round 3: Single arm swing right and left rotation
  • Round 4: Self-selected direction

After 3 rounds, ask yourself: Which of the three moves do you feel you need more of? Front to back, right to left, or right and left rotation—you choose. This is your self-selected exercise for the fourth and final round. By paying attention to how each direction feels, your body will show you the exercise you need to repeat. No more guessing, “what exercise do I need?”. Your body will show you if you’re prepared to listen.


2. Wear Gloves

The use of gloves increases your surface area; you’ll be able to move more water and get stronger by doing so (discover the benefits with this video).

But there’s more: not only will you increase strength, wearing gloves provides an immediate connection to the water. Instantly, you get better awareness of your body moving in the weightless environment. Being more aware of how each movement feels, gloves give you more stretch, engage the core, and improve bone health. Sure, you can do all of these things without gloves, but wearing gloves is a quick route to upping your gains in every single pool workout.

(Need gloves? Check out my favourite from H2O Wear here.)


3. Close Your Eyes

It’s time to strengthen your connection with water. By doing just that, you’ll find your movement awareness heightened—the perfect next step after points 1 and 2 connect you to the water. 

This approach can be applied to any of your favorite exercises, but I recommend starting with upper body exercises, keeping two feet on the ground. To maintain balance, we organize information received from visual input, proprioception (sensory information from muscles and joints) and the inner ear (detects motion). As soon as you close your eyes, you’ll know how much we rely on vision for balance; that’s why two feet on the ground is the best place to start. For this activity the goal is not to challenge balance but rather to remove visual input and focus in on the feel detected by joints and muscles.

Repeat the same target practice activity. This time really question your movements; how does this feel? How does that feel? As you move, relax, go slow; soften the knees and hips, lowering shoulders under the water. With the shoulder immersed the joint is free to move with greater ease. Does the move feel easy? Is there any tightness or restriction? Find your biggest feel-good range. 

Did you notice how target practice just became more effective? Is it easier to notice the one that your body wants to repeat? Yes, it might feel awkward at first, but with practice, it becomes second nature, and will unlock improved body awareness.


The takeaway

Feeling the body move is the big difference here. No more guessing, “am I doing this exercise right?” Simply pay attention to the body’s response to each exercise, make small adjustments needed to get the change you want, and you’ll be on your personal path to feeling your way to best results.


Laurie Denomme

Laurie Denomme

an exercise coach dedicated to helping you move better and be your best everyday.

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