Liquid Resistance Training
By Carolyn Collman, M.S.
Easy to learn and virtually injury- free, “pumping water” in the pool with webbed gloves and foam dumbbells is quickly replacing lifting weights in the gym. Women are leading the way with this new workout that uses the water’s natural resistance to achieve many of the benefits of traditional strength training, including body fat loss and greater muscular endurance. Recent research even suggests that water workouts maintain bone integrity to help prevent osteoporosis.
Resistance training in the water is as efficient as it is effective. Rather than requiring an hour in an aerobics class and another hour in the weight room, water workouts offer both cardio and resistance training in one 45-minute pool workout. Participants in my water fitness classes are always amazed at how challenging the workout is, but yet how good it feels.
Water provides 12 times the resistance of air in every direction and allows you to determine the intensity of your workout by the size and speed of your movements. Exercising in water requires that you work both sides of each muscle pair (i.e. hamstrings/quadriceps) equally. Every time you push against the water’s resistance, you have to pull back in the opposite direction which balances the strength of the opposing muscle groups.
Furthermore, by moving through the three-dimensional resistance of the water, your muscles are worked in virtually every direction (including diagonally) which results in the conditioning of the minor as well as major muscle groups. Water exercise particularly enhances muscular endurance, enabling you to perform everyday tasks such as carrying the kids or loading with greater ease.
Maintaining a vertical posture in the water requires that you use your abdominal and back muscles for balance and support, developing trunk stabilization and reducing low back pain in the process.
Whereas resistance training on land initially results in stiff, tight muscles, the water’s soothing massaging qualities reduce this typical post-workout soreness. Water exercise also enhances flexibility so muscles remain supple as they become conditioned.
Water is an incredible medium for increasing all aspects of fitness without risk of injury, and the pool is a refreshing new resistance training environment with unlimited possibilities.
Carolyn Collman, MS. is a certified water fitness instructor and a competitive marathon runner (PR: 2:52). In addition to working at Canyon Ranch Health Resort in Tucson, Arizona as a fitness instructor and aquatherapist, Collman has a personal training business, DuoFit, specializing in deep water exercise and therapy.
Canyon Ranch health resort in Tucson, Arizona and Canyon Ranch in the Berkshires, in Lenox, Massachusetts, are award-winning luxury vacation destinations that promote healthy living through fitness, nutrition and lifestyle education and awareness. The facility offers an extensive range of water fitness programs, indoor and outdoor fitness activities, hiking and biking programs, spa and beauty services, as well as private consultations and workshops with wellness experts.
AquaJogger®’s Webbed PRO gloves are the first to feature AM MicroStop polyolefin–an advanced material combining durability with chlorine, bacteria and fade resistance properties in a comfortable four-way stretch fabric.
The dynamic webbed design allows for adjustable workout intensity with a variety of movements including fisting, cupping, or flexing the fingers. Webbed PRO gloves for men and women have a $18.95 suggested retail price.