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 Why Do We Do the Moves

We Do?

Author By Mark Grevelding


Teach the “Why Water Workout” to educate your participants.

Attend just about any water fitness class across the globe and you will see variations of the same moves, such as jumping jacks, cross-country skis, jogs and kicks.   Understanding the “why” behind these base moves can improve performance and increase overall fitness results.  Consider teaching a baseline water workout that showcases the primary exercises, while educating the muscle actions for each base move.  Empower your participants with knowledge while challenging them with a total body cardio workout.

Fitness instructors should always strive to increase their knowledge through continuing education.  More importantly, they should pass that knowledge on to their students.  Doing so will help their participants exercise more efficiently if they understand the purpose behind the movement.  Connecting mind and body is important for achieving fitness results.  Simply put, if you know what muscle you are working you can exercise with greater precision and intention.   

All fitness programs have their primary exercises.  These are the base moves that best achieve results depending on fitness goals, programming and equipment used.  In aquatic fitness, the equipment used is the water itself.  Therefore, the primary exercises are those that best utilize the properties of water.  The Why Water Workout is designed to show WHY the base moves deliver fitness results by explaining the muscles being targeted in each movement. 

Years ago, I created the “Why Water” presentation and encouraged instructors to offer this seminar at their facilities to encourage more people to try water fitness.  The presentation included a power point, a handout and a video depicting 10 reasons why you should exercise in water.  Recently, I developed a workout for the PoolFit App that would serve as a baseline fitness program, an introduction to water exercise, explaining the base moves and their muscle actions.   The Why Water Workout was created, transforming the theory of the Why Water presentation into an action-packed workout promoting the benefits of water exercise. 

How can the Why Water Workout be utilized?  This baseline program would be ideal to teach at the beginning of seasonal sessions when you have new participants.  If your classes have been paused due to the coronavirus, consider teaching this workout when classes resume or anytime you feel your students could benefit from a refresher regarding the purpose behind the base moves.  Additionally, you can set up a mini seminar promoting water fitness at your facility and include the Why Water Workout as a master class.

After the warm-up, the first 10-minute segment in the Why Water Workout showcases eight lower body base moves.  The moves are first taught individually with education.  The eight moves are then taught with add-on instruction to demonstrate how base moves come together in a workout.

Block 1:  Lower Body Base Moves

1.High-knee jogs/knee lifts  

2.Front kicks

3.High-heel jogs/leg curls

4.Swing kicks R & L (unilateral)

5.Cross country skis

6.Jumping jacks

7.Jumps forward & backwards

8.Jumps side-to-side (moguls)

Keep in mind, there are less than 25 base moves in water fitness.  If an instructor only taught these 25 moves, exercise sessions would become tedious, and results would plateau.  Therefore, one of the most essential skills an instructor can possess is the ability to create endless variations of base moves using a variety of techniques.  Travel is just one technique for increasing intensity in water fitness workouts.  The second 10-minute segment in the Why Water Workout showcases basic upper body base moves, first taught stationary and then with travel.

Block 2:  Upper Body Base Moves & Travel

1.Elbow flexion & extension with knee-high jogs

2.Travel sprints forwards & backwards

3.Shoulder flexion & extension w/ rear leg lifts (unilateral)

4.Travel front Kicks forwards & backwards

5.Shoulder abduction & adduction with skis

6.Travel skis laterally

7.Transverse shoulder abduction & adduction w/ jacks

8.Jacks with breaststroke forwards and reverse breaststroke backwards

The last eight base moves in the Why Water Workout focus on exercises with a core emphasis, as well as techniques for getting more core involvement.  Techniques include increasing range of motion for spinal flexion and rotation, as well as removing the arms and legs from an exercise to force more core stabilization. 

Block 3:  More Base Moves & Core

Alternating rear kicks

Knee tucks

Frog tucks

Alternating ankle reaches

Alternating side kicks R & L (unilateral)

Power jacks with neutral arms

Core twist

Horizontal arm sweeps with no leg movement

Aside from educating the primary muscle groups targeted in each move, the Why Water Workout was also created to demonstrate how base moves can be linked together to form an effective and engaging workout.  Building a class with base moves ensures that the exercises are purposeful and provide muscular balance. Participants often attend classes because they bore easily with self-directed fitness activities, such as walking and swimming.  Classes are simply more fun because they contain a variety of movement and teaching styles that keep participants excited and engaged with the exercise experience.

The Why Water Workout was designed to be performed in both deep and shallow water. Why?  Designing a workout where people can choose the depth they prefer is simply good customer service.  Also, dual-depth programming may be a necessity if you want to maintain spacing among participants.  Most base moves work in both depths as evidenced by this workout.

The Why Water Workout is streaming on Fitmotivation.com and includes an optional online program that includes an 11-page extended education handout and a quiz worth 2.0 CECs.  If you are interested in this online video & quiz, take advantage of the free trial month and just pay for the quiz, $10.00 or $20.00 depending on the plan you register with.  There is no commitment, you can cancel anytime.

Knowledge is power and both you and your students will benefit from understanding WHY WE DO THE MOVES THAT WE DO. 



Mark Grevelding is an AEA Training Specialist and the founder of Fitmotivation.com, a video streaming resource for aquatic fitness professionals and Poolfit.tv, a video streaming resource for fitness consumers. 

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