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Ultimate Pool Workouts for an All-Inclusive Body Training.

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  • Post last modified:September 25, 2023

Ready to create a splash? This swimming pool workout includes a plethora of aquatic exercises and water aerobics movements—and you don’t even have to swim laps.

Immerse Yourself and Give These Effective Pool Exercises a Try


Why endure scorching summer temperatures when you can find one of the most effective ways to get in shape below the water’s surface? “The crucial element is that water provides substantial resistance,” explains Igor Porciuncula, the co-founder of Boot Camp H20 in Los Angeles—precisely 12 times the resistance of air. This means that these pool exercises activate more muscle fibers and burn more calories in less time. The best part? You don’t need to be skilled at swimming laps to have a fantastic workout in the pool. (If laps are your thing, consider trying one of these swimming workouts for all fitness levels instead.)

How to perform this pool workout: Complete Porciuncula’s pool exercise circuit two times for strong arms, abs, and thighs.

You’ll need: a kickboard

Water Teaser

This water aerobics move, inspired by Pilates, targets your shoulders, abs, and arms while also challenging you to stay afloat by treading water.

A. Stand in the shallow end and simultaneously lower yourself into the water while keeping your hands extended to the sides. Lift both legs together, folding at the hips to form a wide V shape. Your head and toes should remain just above the surface.

B. Quickly bring your knees towards your chest or extend your legs as straight as possible towards your chest to make the V shape narrower.

C. Extend your legs to return to the V position.

Complete 15 to 20 repetitions. Continue treading water with your hands for 1 minute.

To make this pool exercise less challenging: Skip the knee tuck and simply hold the V position for 1 minute.

Pool-Edge Side Burpee

You might detest doing burpees on land, but trust us, they’re far more enjoyable as a water aerobics move. Moreover, this pool exercise will elevate your heart rate without the high impact of regular burpees.

A. In the deep end, hold onto the edge of the pool with your right hand so that your body is perpendicular to the edge.

B. Bring your knees towards your chest, placing both feet flat against the pool wall, as high as you can manage (with the right foot stacked above the left).

C. While maintaining your grip on the edge of the pool throughout the exercise, jump off the wall, extend your legs, and engage your abs to bring your body as parallel to the water’s surface as possible, resembling a side-plank position (with the left hip now stacked above the right).

D. Return to the tucked position and continue for 1 minute.

Perform for 1 minute on each side. (Discover the proper way to execute a burpee.)

Aquatic Cab

For a comprehensive challenge, attempt this water-based aerobic maneuver utilizing a kickboard. You will experience the exertion in your upper limbs, midsection, and hip as you combat the water’s resistance in order to traverse the pool.

A. Occupy a seated position on the kickboard with your knees together, allowing your legs to hang or gently skim the bottom of the pool.

B. Extend your arms forward, with palms oriented away from each other, then proceed to sweep your arms out to the sides (similar to executing a breaststroke).

C. Maintain the stroking motion across the pool for a duration of 30 seconds, then transition to the opposite direction of the stroke.

D. Position your arms out to the sides, with palms facing forward and elbows slightly flexed, then bring your arms together by sweeping them in front of your body.

E. Continue this pattern for 30 seconds, focusing on contracting your shoulder blades throughout the aquatic exercise as you propel yourself forward and backward.

Complete a total of 1 minute; allocate 30 seconds per direction.

Gravestone Kick

By employing the kickboard in an upright stance, you will subject your body to increased resistance. If you feel at ease, submerge your face in the water while kicking and simply turn your head to the side for respiration.

A. Position yourself facing away from the pool’s edge, gripping the kickboard with both hands so that it stands vertically (with the rounded edge facing upward) and half of it remains submerged beneath the water’s surface.

B. Initiate your movement by propelling yourself off the wall using your feet, maintaining the tombstone grip on the kickboard, and exert maximum force while kicking in the opposite direction of the pool.

Continue for 1 minute.

Intensify this aquatic exercise: Hold the kickboard horizontally and fully submerge it.

Mermaid Fin

If you ever engaged in imaginative play as a youngster, pretending to be a mermaid during your summer vacations, this water-based aerobic maneuver is tailored for you. It concentrates on strengthening your core and lower limbs, demanding continuous movement for the entire minute.

A. Remain afloat in the deep section of the pool, extending your arms sideways and positioning your legs stretched out beneath you.

B. Activate your abdominal muscles, bringing your legs together and performing a sweeping backward motion, slightly flexing your knees, then swiftly extending them forward (emulating the motion of a dolphin’s tail). Counterbalance this action by sweeping your arms through the water in the opposite direction of your legs.

Continue for 1 minute.

Aquatic exercise tip: Your entire body should ripple like a whip; initiate the movement from your core, rather than relying solely on your legs.

Subaquatic Row and Biceps Curl

Lacking dumbbells? No need to fret — incorporate this water-based aerobic maneuver into your pool workout to engage your upper body muscles.

A. In chest-deep or waist-deep water, stand with feet wide apart, gripping each end of the kickboard with thumbs on top.

B. Lean forward from the hips at a 45-degree angle, keeping the back straight and bending the elbows by the sides so that the board is positioned in front of the chest.

C. Push the kickboard diagonally downwards into the water, extending the arms and engaging the abdominal muscles.

D. Flex the elbows to bring the board back up to the chest, resembling a biceps curl.

Continue for 1 minute.

Pool exercise tip: Minimize splashing to prioritize core and arm engagement.

Vertical Breaststroke

This advanced water aerobics movement requires treading water with the hands held above the head to target the core.

A. Tread water in the deep end while grasping each end of the kickboard and holding it above the head.

B. Extend the legs downwards.

C. Using flexed feet, bend the knees to bring the heels towards the buttocks, and swiftly press the legs down and diagonally outwards to propel the body slightly out of the water, keeping the toes pointed.

D. Extend the legs downwards, then repeat the movement.

Continue for 1 minute.

Make this pool exercise easier: If holding the kickboard overhead is too challenging, simply lift the hands above the head or allow them to float by the sides.

Deck Triceps Dip

Perform a triceps dip by the side of the pool with this water aerobics movement.

A. Begin with the back facing the side wall of the pool and place the palms on the edge behind you, with fingertips facing forward.

B. Bend the left knee to position the left foot flat against the wall, and raise the right leg straight to hip height in front of you.

C. Straighten the arms to lift the body out of the water (similar to a land-based triceps dip); lower back to the starting position.

Complete 10 reps for each leg.

Make this pool exercise easier: Keep both knees bent and both feet flat against the wall. (If your buttocks scrape the edge, you can also perform this exercise in a corner of the pool.)

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