Aqua Cardio Challenge: HIIT to Endurance

Sunday, January 12 2020

Progressive Ladders is a pool workout that proves simple is sometimes best.  Featuring just 8 exercises, the first block starts with two exercises and then every block after adds another exercise and 10 seconds to the time each exercise is performed for.  This progressive HIIT/aerobic workout is perfect for students who want an easy-to-follow cardio challenge and for instructors who want or need an easy routine to teach. New to Fitmotivation?  The trial month has been extended into 2020!

Coming out of the holidays, it seems like everyone is falling victim to cold/flu season, including myself.  Having missed several classes over the last month I am determined to prop myself up and teach this week. Given the fact that I cannot use my voice, the Progressive Ladders routine with a simple 8- move template is ideal. Using this template, I have chosen 8 powerful cardio moves my students are familiar with.  Keeping the entire class non-verbal, I will make 8 signs with the name of each move; along with an extra sign detailing the time each move is performed for – 00:20, 00:30, 00:40, 00:50, 00:60, 1:10, 1:20.

Progressive Ladders is the fourth Fitmotivation video to post by AquaGym Fitness (AGF). AGF team member, Alexis Casey, takes the helm this time in leading the video workout.  “I really love teaching this format because of the repetitious nature,” say Alexis.  In addition to appealing to students who like a challenge, Alexis says the Progressive Ladders template is also perfect for new clients.  “New participants do better when they learn one new move at a time and each move is repeated throughout the entire workout.”  Watch Alexis explain why she enjoys teaching Progressive Ladders. 

AGF Founder, Stephanie Newberry, says she is always looking for new ways to keep AquaGym Fitness classes fun, fast and effective.  Below, she explains the inspiration behind Progressive Ladders and some of the science to support the template. 

Fitmotivation:  What was your inspiration for creating the Progressive Ladders template?

Stephanie:  This workout follows our philosophy of simple - but powerful interval style training. I want these classes to be challenging for the participant - and easy for the instructor to present. With a workout of 8 moves, the client can continue to work on form and technique as they challenge themselves to power through each timed set. As the instructor I always ask my clients to work at 90% of their personal maximum effort - but the way these classes are structured, anyone can pick a pace that works for them. That is the beauty of our classes. I often prompt our participants to modify as necessary. If a particular move does not work for them, then simply replace it with something else that does. Our repetitive pattern in our workouts allows each student to "Get out of it what they put into it."

Fitmotivation:  Can you explain some of the science behind the benefits of progressive training?

Stephanie:  The “secret” in HIIT lies in the effect that it has on your body and its need for oxygen. Since the work periods are performed at a very high intensity, your body requires more oxygen than usual and quickly ends up in an “oxygen deficit.” Once the high-intensity interval is over, your body is left working hard to make up this oxygen shortage. In fact, your body will continue to work long after you exercise session is complete. This process is called the EPOC (Excess Post Oxygen Consumption), and is the primary reason you’re able to burn more calories in a shorter amount of time when you perform such intense interval training.  This workout starts with very short sets where one can push super hard. This is going to tap into EPOC. We add maneuvers and time, How long each participant can maintain a high intensity push is dependent on the individual. This workout starts with HIIT and then progresses to long endurance sets. This taps into all the cardio-respiratory and muscular benefits that come with repetition.

AquaGym Fitness Workout #4:  Progressive Ladders Template

Block 1

:20 Move #1

:20 Move #2

Block 2

:30 Move #3 

:30 Move #2

:30 Move #1

Block 3

:40 Move #4

:40 Move #3

:40 Move #2

:40 Move #1

Block 4

:50 Move #5

:50 Move #4

:50 Move #3

:50 Move #2

:50 Move #1

Block 5

:60 Move #6

:60 Move #5

:60 Move #4

:60 Move #3

:60 Move #2

:60 Move #1

Block 6

:70 Move #7

:70 Move #6

:70 Move #5

:70 Move #4

:70 Move #3

:70 Move #2

:70 Move #1

Block 7

:80 Move #8

:80 Move #7

:80 Move #6

:80 Move #5

:80 Move #4

:80 Move #3

:80 Move #2

:80 Move #1

All interval workouts involve some kind of timed work and recovery cycles and therefore instructors will want to explore the most efficient way to keep track of time.  The timing for this workout was formatted with an app called Interval Timer.  This is an easy-to-use app for any instructor who loves teaching timed, interval workouts. 

AquaGym Fitness is an aquatic fitness company based in northern Florida in the Jacksonville area offering private training and classes in resort communities, county clubs and recreation centers.  Check out their other three videos streaming on Fitmotivation, Run2Strength, Partner Drills and Combat Basics

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.