Aqua Circuit with Inexpensive Equipment

Thursday, July 06 2023

AquaFIIT Smart Circuits with Katy Coffey showcases an aquatic fitness circuit that can be performed using inexpensive equipment and household items, each purchased for less than $3.00 each. Incorporate exercises that target upper body, legs and core using a half noodle, a small ball, plastic discs, an elastic loop and laundry mesh bags. Try the exercises by themselves or in a fun circuit. 


Fitmotivation generally avoids using expensive and specialized equipment in aquatic fitness videos. Instead, we typically use noodles, foam dumbbells, webbed gloves and Aqualogix drag equipment.  Why?  Because that is the equipment most instructors have on hand. However, in AquaFIIT Smart Circuits, Katy shows how to get creative with other inexpensive equipment.   

This 20-minute video includes a short warm-up and cool down, as well as 5 segments that showcase 5 different types of inexpensive equipment. Each segment features three exercises, one for upper body, one for legs and one for core. AquaFIIT Smart Circuits was condensed into a shorter format and the exercises are only performed for a short set. Consider expanding the amount of sets to suit your class timing and goals.   
Half Noodle
Pool noodles are the most affordable and versatile piece of equipment you could use in your classes. In this workout, Katy makes them even more affordable by cutting them in half. If your facility is on a shoestring budget, consider cutting a noodle in quarters and using quarter noodles instead of the hand buoys. 
Small Balls
Smalls balls can be purchased at the Dollar Store. In this segment, Katy demonstrates the three exercises with a ball that can be held in one hand. 
Plastic Discs
While you are at the Dollar Store, you may also want to pick up plastic picnic plates or a couple of inexpensive flying discs (Frisbees). These plastic discs provide drag resistance for upper body and core.   
Elastic Loop
The elastic loops used in this video are designed for land fitness activities. They can be used in the pool, but it is important to have students frequently check them for tears. Rubberized loops and bands break down more quickly in water due to pool chemicals.  Unfortunately, currently there are few if any fitness equipment manufacturers who provide water-resistant rubberized equipment. 
Mesh Laundry Bags
Since you are going to the Dollar Store, grab some mesh laundry bags and try the exercises Katy demonstrated in the video. If you don’t want to use the laundry bags, you can also experiment with creating upper body and core drag resistance with plastic shopping bags. Watch a 4-minute trailer of the Plastic Shopping Bag Workout

Below, Katy provide more information regarding circuit training.


Circuit Training Tips
By Katy Coffey
As your classes continue to grow in popularity, you might find the need to expand your class to incorporate circuits. Dual depth circuits will allow you to utilize the entire pool for your class, setting up a circuit class that incorporates different depths and areas of the pool. This allows for more room for each student and provides a total body workout for your students. As you design your circuits, here are some considerations to guide your preparation:

1. Shallow, Deep & Walls! Oh MY!
Take advantage of the entire space provided by the pool and be creative with each station's focus. Designate stations for core exercises, cardio, upper body, balance, endurance, and lower body workouts. Utilize different target areas of the body to provide variety and engage all muscle groups.

2. Use visual cues
Use visual cues to ensure participants know where to perform each exercise and how to follow the traffic flow. Consider using signage or numbering systems to guide students from one station to another. If you incorporate equipment or utilize the pool walls, create designated spaces for water bottles or unused equipment to keep the area organized.

3. Embrace the Rainbow
 Lay out color-coded space markers on the wall, distancing them apart, to guide students safely to their stations. These markers can also serve as a home base for students to leave their belongings or equipment. Consider assigning specific colors to each student, ensuring they always know which marker to find at each station, thus simplifying traffic patterns.

4. To Equip or not to Equip?
 If equipment is allowed at your facility, consider how it will be incorporated into your circuits. Decide whether participants will carry the same equipment throughout the entire workout or if different equipment will be used for each circuit. Designate specific areas at each station for picking up and returning equipment.

5. Learn it, Earn it, then Master it
Structure the workout as "supersets," with repetitions during sets to help students learn and master the moves. Allocate an appropriate amount of time for each station, considering how long you want students to spend at each location. Explore timing apps or music subscriptions that provide audio cues for transitions and breaks. Allow sufficient time between circuits for students to travel to the next station, learn the next set of exercises, and be ready to continue.

Fitmotivation extends a big thank you to Katy for sharing her knowledge and passion.  She’ll be back in September 2023 to film more videos.
Want to learn more about Circuit Training?  Smart Circuits is now a workshop.  You can join Katy at the following locations

 DCAC Fitcon 
Friday, August 4th (8:30am-9:45am): 

Music City Fitcon
Friday 10/27/23 (8:30 am – 9:45 am)

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.