5-Minute Aquafit Challenge

Wednesday, July 20 2022

Help your class members get fit in 5.  Aqua Fit in 5’s is an epic compilation of nine 5-minute mini workouts that target different muscle groups and fitness components.  Deep or shallow, this 50-minute total body class format includes segments for cardio, arms, back, chest, core, legs, joint ROM, stretching and more. 


  • The inspiration behind Aquafit in 5’s
  • Tips for emphasizing specific upper body muscle groups 
  • Equipment options for Aquafit in 5’s
  • Watch video on hand & equipment positions
  • Music recommendations
  • Summary of the 9 segments in the workout

Video Inspiration
Aqua Fit in 5’s was my first time filming a video after suffering a bad shoulder injury at the end of February.  The original plan was to film several 10-minute minis targeting different muscle groups and fitness components.  These mini workouts were supposed to serve as a launchpad for a new feature for Fitmotivation’s sister site, Poolfit.  This new feature will allow app users to create playlists of videos for continuous play so that they can customize longer workouts without stopping and searching for a video while they are exercising in the pool.  However, the feature has been delayed along with Fitmotivation’s new site launch.  Like many other small businesses, we are shorthanded and lack the manhours to do all the things we WANT to do.  Therefore, I decided to move forward with the project as a full video with 5-minute mini workouts for each body part.  I figured it would be good content for instructors because they could cherry pick out a 5-minute segment for their classes if they wanted to. 

Tips for Emphasizing Specific Upper Body Muscle Groups
Aquafit in 5’s includes three segments for upper body – chest, back and arms.  Putting an emphasis on particular upper body muscle groups in submerged resistance requires specific positioning of the hands and arms.  Movement in water is resisted in all directions and therefore it is important to know how to maximize one direction while minimizing another. For example, the arms would move forward or inwards with a full palm to target chest and other anterior upper body muscle groups. They would then be directed back or out with a sliced hand to take the emphasis off the opposing muscle groups. These hand positions would be reversed when targeting muscles in the back of the upper body. Understanding and teaching frontal resistance is an important skill set for instructors.  

Equipment Options
Equipment was not used in the filming of this video in order for me to better demonstrate the hand positions. Webbed gloves or Aqualogix Upper Body Belles are recommended if you want to maximize the water’s resistance. If using the Aqualogix belles it is important to know whether to present the flat side or seam side for frontal resistance. For anterior muscle groups the flat side should be up and the seam side down. For posterior muscle groups the seam side should be up and the flat side down. The concepts of frontal resistance are better viewed than read. Watch Mark demonstrate these concepts for hand & Aqualogix positioning in this video.

Music Recommendations
Aquafit in 5’s is a resistance training workout with a cardio pace. The BPM should be kept moderate to ensure full range of motion.  The recommendation is 128 – 132 bpm. The music used in the video was 130 bpm.  Rhythm & Funk 130 is available to download at Muscle Mixes Music for $20.00

Aquafit in 5’s Class Format
This 50-minute class format includes nine 5-minute segments.  Below is a summary of each segment and the time code it appears in the full video.
Warm-up (00:58)
The warm includes several base moves that are performed “in 3” to provide active stretching with a combination of dynamic and static movement. Different arm patterns are used to provide limbering for the upper body muscles and joints.
Cardio (6:06)
The theme of this 5-minute cardio combination is “in in & out out.” The five base moves in this segment are first taught in and then wide. 
Chest (11:45)
Hand positions and Aqualogix placement become important in this segment. For Aqualogix belles, the flat side should be up and seam side down. For hands, full palm is used with movement that goes forwards (up) and inwards. 
Back (17:26)
In order to target the back, the Aqualogix belles should be used with seam side up and flat side down. For hands, a full palm should be used with movement that goes backwards (down) and outwards. 
Arms (22:50)
For triceps, the Aqualogix belles should be seam side up and the hands should be full palm as forearms extend down. For biceps, the Aqualogix belles should be flat side up and the hands should be full palm as the forearms extend up. 
Legs  (28:29)
This segment includes exercises for quads, hamstrings, glutes, hip abductors and hip adductors. The Aqualogix ankle blades can be used for this segment and for the entire workout if you wish.
Core  (34:08)
Challenging movements performing spinal flexion and rotation or utilized in this segment.
Joint ROM (39:32)
AEA Arthritis Foundation Aquatic Program Exercises are used to provide a 5-minute total body joint tune-up. 
Flexibility (45:05)
This 5-minute muscular flexibility routine blends together rhythmic and passive stretching.

Aquafit in 5’s was a blast to rehearse in the pool.  Whether you use the entire routine, or 5-minute segments, I hope your class participants enjoy it as much as I do. 

Author: Mark Grevelding is the founder of Fitmotivation. He is also a training specialist and consultant with the Aquatic Exercise Association’s (AEA). Mark has been active in the fitness industry for 22 years as a group fitness instructor, personal trainer, international presenter and a continuing education provider for AEA, AFAA & ACE.