Why you should swap the gym for the pool in 2018


Turbocharge your summer workout by hitting the water for one of these hot new classes.

Image: iStock

Thanks to sweaty equipment and a lack of personal space, few places are less appealing than the gym during summer.

While a run or weights session will increase your fitness, exercising in the pool won’t just keep you cool, it will also help take your workout to the next level.

In fact, because water is denser than air, it has built-in resistance that forces you to work a little harder than you would on land. There are a slew of new aqua classes kicking off around the country, so now’s the time to dive in.

Acquapole

Best for: Dance fans.

Too scared to try pole dancing in the studio? Try it in the pool instead.

You’ll be supported by the water and an anchored pole during the class, which eliminates any fear you might have of falling, and – thanks to the buoyancy of the water – you can tackle the choreographed routines without placing any extra strain on your body.

The mix of dance- and gymnasticinspired moves in Acquapole will work your core, shoulders, hips and legs, making it an effective cardio-andstrength combination.

Find a class: acquapoleaustralasia.com.au

Gymstick h2o

Best for: Total body strength.

If you want to improve your balance, up your strength, torch kilojoules and increase your endurance, a Gymstick H2O class has you covered. During each session, you’ll use an exercise band and water’s natural resistance to build strength in both your larger muscle groups (such as your biceps, quads and glutes) and your smaller stabilising muscles.

The class is designed to increase in intensity as you complete each move, but the exercise bands are adjustable, so you can control how hard it really is.

Find a class: gymstick.com.au

Aquacore

Best for: Killer abs.

This muscle-busting fusion of Pilates, yoga and high-intensity interval training (HIIT) will challenge your core strength (and concentration) as you’re forced to balance on an unstable floating board. Australian exercise physiologist and creator of aquacore Alexandra Kookarkin has ensured it’s not just your abs that will feel the burn, either; your arms and legs will be pushed to their limits with a series of bodyweight exercises (think squats and downward dog), which are designed to tone and lengthen your muscles. Be prepared to sweat, but if you need to cool down, just jump off and go for a swim!

Find a class: aquacore.com.au

BEST FOR BEGINNERS

Aqua fit

If you spent more time on the couch than in the gym this past winter, check out Virgin Active’s Aqua Fit class, which is designed for those of you who are just starting a new fitness regimen. This HIIT circuit blends cardio and strength conditioning with a low-impact, full-body workout using aqua dumbbells and noodles. As water helps reduce lactic acid build-up, you can work out with less pain, too.

Find a class: virginactive.com.au

Floatfit hiit

Best for: Increasing fitness fast.

In case burpees weren’t hard enough, you can now attempt them on water. This 30-minute floatfit HIIT class will put your coordination to the test as you complete lunges, mountain climbers and yes, even burpees, on a floating board. Due to the continuous movement of water beneath the board, both sides of your body need to be aligned to remain stable, which means any pre-existing muscle imbalances will be corrected as you progress. Once the cardio part is done and dusted, you’ll cool off with a yoga-inspired sequence that helps to focus your mind and stretch your limbs.

Find a class: aquaphysical.com

Speedofit spin

Best for: Cycling sweat free.

Take your regular spin class to the water for a low-impact cardio blast.

Unlike traditional cycling, an underwater spin session allows you to max your heart rate without placing added pressure on your joints, so it’s safe for people of all fitness capabilities.

That’s not to say it’s a breeze, though. As movements performed in water have added resistance, your leg muscles will be burning by the end.

Find a class: speedofitness.club

OLDIES BUT GOODIES

Group classes not your thing? These classic water-workouts will burn off big kjs

Swimming laps

30 min = up to 2,092kj

The low-impact nature of swimming makes it ideal for people of all ages and fitness levels. “The strokes and kicks in swimming are also great for increasing your mobility and range of motion, and allow you to build up your cardio fitness,” Victoria Burdon, strength and conditioning coach at 98 Riley St Gym in Sydney, says. As well as targeting every muscle, the repetitive motion of swimming can be meditative, so your mind will score a workout, too.

Bodyboarding

30 min = up to 1,046kj

In need of a cardio hit? Reach for your bodyboard. You’ll build up your endurance as you paddle back and forth from the waves to the shore, and you’ll also strengthen your shoulders and upper-body, says Burdon. Plus, depending on how rough the surf is, your coordination will be tested as you fight to stay on the board.

Stand-up paddleboarding

30 min = up to 1,046kj

You’d be hard-pressed finding someone who hasn’t tried stand-up paddleboarding these days, for good reason. “Because you’re standing up, your centre of gravity is higher, and this causes you to activate your glutes, hamstrings and quads so that your body stays stable,” Burdon says. Your core is sure to feel the burn as you attempt to maintain your balance, as are your obliques as you twist and paddle from side to side.

Australian rugby sevens star Charlotte Caslick hits the beach for an intense off-season workout.



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