Aquatic Fitness Strength Training

Wednesday, January 04 2023

Get ready to Drench your aquatic fitness class members with a 45-minute water fitness strength training format. Drenched with Katy Coffey is a shallow water workout that can be performed with Aqualogix equipment, webbed gloves or no equipment at all. 

Fitmotivation subscribers love teaching HIIT water workouts, but if your class members always do what they always did they will always get what they always got.  Sometimes you need to you need to skip the HIIT and add in some strength training in order for your students to see optimal fitness results.   

Do you have to use equipment?
In the video, Katy uses the HydroRevolution Aqualogix upper body bells and lower body ankle fins.  If you do not have Aqualogix equipment available at your facility, your class members can substitute webbed gloves for the bells, or simply perform the workout without equipment. Foam dumbbells are NOT an acceptable substitute.  Drenched focuses on drag resistance, as opposed to buoyant resistance. When using drag equipment or no equipment, all movement is resisted and all muscle actions are concentric, shortening contractions. When using foam equipment, only downward movement is resisted and concentric.  The upward movements are assisted, eccentric, lengthening muscle actions. Therefore, the exercises in this video are not designed for foam dumbbells.

Drenched Workout-at-a-Glance
Three working blocks.  Three body parts – upper body, legs and core.  Three moves.  Three descending timing ratios that demand hard, harder and hardest effort. Drenched is a virtual trifecta of water fitness strength training.  This 45-minute format includes a warm-up that preps the working muscles by focusing on moving the joints that move those muscles. The main portion of the workout includes three working blocks.  Each block targets upper body, lower body and core with a different exercise.  These three exercises are performed three times for 60 seconds, then 45 seconds and finally 30 seconds.  As the time decreases, the expectation is too work the muscle harder with a larger range of movement and more velocity. Each working block is finished with a 60-second high intensity cardio burst to keep the pace brisk.  Watch Katy talk more about the format in the video below and then read more about the inspiration behind Drenched.

Drenched Inspiration
By Katy Coffey
My first video through Fitmotivation was the debut of AquaFIIT, which was my attempt to bring strength training principles into the pool that incorporated HIIT Intervals. Over my time of teaching and training, I saw a need to create a strength conditioning specific class. To achieve this, I watched and evaluated some of our most popular strength classes in the group fitness studio. The Inspiration behind my AquaFIIT workshop series was about the “Aquafiitcation” of popular land-based exercises. In other words, adapting the fitness principles found in popular land-based classes and bringing them to the pool to be AQUAFIED.
Drenched was created by utilizing strength training through quality drag gear. Let's review quickly how training with drag equipment affects the muscles. Drag works the muscle with concentric contractions in every direction. If you increase the frontal surface, you are going to have to work harder to move the water. For strength training in the pool, some of the best equipment to use would be Hydrorevolution Drag Bells and Fins.
In the Drenched workout we are going to decrease the time of each move, as we increase the intensity of the move. But remember the focus is strength training not HIIT cardio.  At the end of each block of work we will sneak in a 1-minute cardio burst to keep the heart rate up, and trickle in some HIIT principals.
This style of teaching became popular in both my small group training and soon enough transferred into my larger aquatic fitness classes simply by implementing the use of drag gloves instead of the Aqualogix equipment.   The key to success in this program is to always remember the focus of this class is strength not cardio.  So be sure to zone into alignment, length of the level and form form form.

Katy Coffey is an AFAA Certified Group Exercise Instructor, an AEA Aquatic Training Specialist, Aqua Body Strong Master Trainer and holds a collective of 15 additional fitness certifications for both land and aquatic fitness training. Working in aquatics since 2002, she spent several years as the senior aquatic director for multiple YMCAs in Massachusetts. Most recently, she became a master trainer for S’WET Fitness.  Watch a fun behind-the-scenes video of Katy’s 2022 filming adventures in Florida. 



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.