Tuesday, July 02 2019

(Above video preview is for Aqua Vertizontal – posted March 30, 2015)


Aquatic fitness classes held in deep water provide the perfect canvas for creating synchro inspired routines.  Choreography that goes from vertical to horizontal and back to vertical – with a few spins and twists in between – not only churns up the cardio and burns calories, but it also provides for a really fun water fitness experience.


Synchronized swimming used to be known as ‘water ballet’ and has been largely dominated by female competitors due to the exclusion of men in the Olympic and World Championship competitions.  But in recent years it has gained popularity as required skills have amped up and the routines now feature more athletic feats of strength and flexibility. 


Synchronized swimming is essentially defined as athletic movements performed in water and choreographed to music.  Sound familiar?  This is OUR wheelhouse.  Aquatic fitness instructors improve the health and fitness of people by getting them to do athletic movements in water while maybe, somewhat, hopefully choreographing those movements to music.  (Just a personal preference!)


A little performance never killed anyone.  And so in today’s blog I am suggesting that maybe you could add some “synchro flavor” to your deep water classes.  “And how I do that,” you ask?  Easy!  Watch the video, Aqua Vertizontal, which was just posted to the Fitmotivation website (Premium plan).  This oldie but goodie was probably my most all time most popular deep-water workshop and DVD.


The Vertizontal routine was created because I was feeling bored with my deep-water classes.  In 2009, I taught at a convention in the U.K with Steph Toogood. I took one of her sessions where she moved a jog vertically towards the surface – both linear and lateral.  This one move set off a light bulb in my head.  Upon returning home, I immersed myself in my ‘laboratory’ and started creating moves that transitioned from vertical to horizontal and back to vertical. 


And thus Aqua Vertizontal was born.  In the workshop, I highlighted three essential components for building this kind of a routine. 


·      The routine requires traditional deep-water vertical movements because each combination is first demonstrated in vertical position before offering the challenge of working the combination horizontally up to the surface.

·      Transitional movements are needed to get you from vertical to horizontal and vice versa.  Some of my favorite transitional movements are jogs, ankle reaches, skis, jacks and tucks.

·      Once you make your way into horizontal position you will need movements to perform at the water’s surface in horizontal position.  Let your creativity roam!  Swim-inspired movements and abdominal/core exercises work beautifully in horizontal position. 


The transitional and horizontal movements require the use of a flotation belt.  There is not much leeway here because many of the combinations will stay at the surface for a period of time – thus requiring neutral buoyancy for flotation.  The beauty of incorporating horizontal movements in a deep-water class is that they provide a whole new category of creativity. 


The first draft of Aqua Vertizontal was strictly linear, lateral and horizontal, with moves simply moving up and down (forward and back and sideways).  The horizontal moves were performed exclusively in modified supine position.  Like everything I do, I fussed and mussed with it.  The second and final draft featured turns, spins and twists on the transitional and horizontal moves – thus creating a more synchro inspired fitness experience.


Aqua Vertizontal is near and dear to my heart because it is bold and it made me feel empowered by doing something different.  It is definitely not everyone’s ‘cup of tea’ but that is okay.  The aquatic fitness industry is more than adequately served with older adult programming; we need bold and we need different.  A new generation cometh to the pool…


“Make a pact with yourself today to not be defined by your past.  Sometimes the greatest thing to come out of all your hard work isn’t what you got for it, but what you became for it.  Shake things up today!  Be you…be Free…Share.”

Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth and Being Free


Truth be told, I have always wanted to do an Aqua Vertizontal 2, an Esther Williams spectacular featuring twisting, turning, spinning aqua students in flawless synchronized formations.  Unfortunately I don’t have a deep-water class anymore.  I did – but no one paid any attention to the schedule and 15-25 people would always be in the shallow end during my ‘deep’ classes.  Rats!   Maybe someday…




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.