Tuesday, July 02 2019

Interested in putting a new class on your schedule?  How about a class that introduces lap swimmers to challenging vertical exercises and aquafit participants to creative horizontal swimming exercises?  AquaFit Swim is an innovative and challenging water workout that blurs the line between horizontal and vertical water exercise.

Designed by Aqua & Move founder, Martine Flamen, AquaFit Swim was introduced at her swim school in Belgium as a way to bring together lap swimmers and aqua fitness participants.   Often archenemies vying for space in a lap pool, swimmers typically view aqua fitness as a lame senior citizen activity and aquafit participants view swimmers as selfish pool hogs denying them adequate space for classes.    

AquaFit Swim is precisely structured in order to appeal to more disciplined swimmers.  There are 8 segments, each featuring a different swim techniques, including back crawl, front crawl, side crawl and breaststroke.  All moves are performed in three positions – horizontal, seated and vertical.  Variations include combinations of legs only, arms only and arms & legs – performed at different cadences and with varying range of motion.  Music savvy instructors can give the program a polished look by changing the variations with music counts – 16, 8, 4 and 2.   Buoys, noodles and kickboards are used for neutral buoyancy and creativity.   

Okay, let’s address a couple of elephants in the room.  First of all, if you teach an older adult shallow water class – like I do – most of this programming will not be usable. My students will not put their faces in the water and they will not get their hair wet.  Many of them can’t swim and they would NEVER do this.  I would be booed off the deck for trying.   The seated exercises on the noodle would likely be the only usable moves in a shallow water class with an older population.  However, if you teach a deep-water class or swim programs, this video is chock full of ideas and creative, challenging exercises.   

Secondly, you will notice that Martine is in the deep end and not wearing a flotation belt.  Should you do this?  That depends on a variety of factors, such as the participant’s swim skills, whether or not there is a lifeguard on duty and the comfort level you and your facility have with doing so.  Let’s not forget that this program is designed for SWIMMERS or people who have swim skills. 

The Aquatic Exercise Association (AEA) recommends that participants have attached flotation support when exercising in the deep end.  However, this is – not  In an effort to bring international diversity and programming variety to the site, Fitmotivation does not require video presenters to follow AEA Standards and Guidelines.  Instead, we rely on video viewers to use common sense.  The seated and vertical moves work perfectly fine with a belt.  The horizontal moves will likely have to be adjusted.  It is recommended that you follow your certification’s guidelines and always try moves on your own before teaching them to participants. 

Another point to consider is the space available in your pool.  In Martine’s swim school, a traditional lap pool is utilized for this program allowing for lengthy travel patterns.  In the video, you could clearly see the challenges of teaching these travel patterns in a smaller pool.  If you teach in a deep well, you should still have enough room to travel and do the program in its entirety if you choose to do so.   

Now that we have dispensed of those pesky issues, let’s talk about how fun this program is.  While filming and editing, I was jealous of the fact that I no longer teach a deep-water specific class.  I could have LOTS of fun with this program.  Martine presented an abundance of variations and ideas for being creative and choreographing the athletic movements.  (You know I LOVE that.)  Whether you teach this program with music and choreography like aquafit, or as a kick-ass athletic swim program, this format has lots of promise for facilities that cater to both swimmers and aqua fitness.


Segments 1 & 2
Back crawl legs and arms are taught horizontal, seated and vertical with variations of aquafit movements, ROM, cadence, repetitions and equipment (noodles, buoys and kickboards)

Segments 3 & 4
Front crawl legs and arms are taught horizontal, seated and vertical with variations of aquafit movements, ROM, cadence, repetitions and equipment (noodles, buoys and kickboards)

Segments 5 & 6
Breaststroke legs and arms are taught horizontal, seated and vertical with variations of aquafit movements, ROM, cadence, repetitions and equipment (noodles, buoys and kickboards)

Segments 7 & 8
Segment 7 features side crawl movements taught in horizontal and vertical positions with a synchronized flair.  The last segment goes full aquafit and targets abs and balance with standing sequences on the noodle, finishing with buoyant relaxation.

Fitmotivation extends huge THANKS to Martine for once again sharing her passion and creative programming with subscribers.  This is Martine’s third video on Fitmotivation.   She has become well know for her innovative approach to aquatic fitness with her two other workouts – one with a plastic shopping bag and one with a small plastic ball.   Kudos & thanks once again!

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.