Deep Water Choreography 360

Wednesday, June 15 2022

Rolling in the Deep with UK Aqua Fitness Specialist, Haylley Pittam, features deep water choreography that moves the body in 360 degrees, while challenging cardio, core and more. Unleash shock and awe in the pool with moves that could never be done on land.  And yes, your students will literally be rolling in the deep.    


  • What is zero gravity and how does it affect a fitness workout?
  • Enjoy benefits that are unique to deep water fitness.
  • Do flotation belts really matter in deep water exercise?
  • Instructor hacks that can make deep water instruction easier.
  • Music recommendations for deep water

Exercising in Zero Gravity
Deep water is similar to outer space in that both environments lack gravity. If you have ever seen astronauts doing somersaults in their space capsule, that is the effect of zero gravity.  In deep water there is zero gravity and so the body is free to perform amazing acrobatic feats that could never be done in land fitness.  The end result is an exercise experience in which you can work at high intensity with no impact to your joints while contorting your body in fun and challenging ways.   

The Unique Benefits of Deep Water Fitness
Aquatic fitness instructors can testify to the fact that deep water exercise has hardcore fans, no pun intended.  As mentioned above, many aquafit enthusiasts prefer to exercise in the deep end because they have joint impact issues.  Fully submerged in buoyancy with zero gravity, they can exercise at high intensity without pain or discomfort.  Hate jogging?  Me too!  The good news is that in the pool you can jog or run like an athlete and experience benefits that could not be achieved jogging on land.  Watch this 4-minute Fitmotivation video to learn more about the unique benefits of water jogging.  Additionally, the spine is a cartilaginous joint and when freed from gravity the spinal cord elongates and stretches, which can help alleviate pain caused by compressed spinal discs.  Deep water fitness also provides a superior core workout as the  muscles of the midsection work overtime repositioning the body in 360 degree movement.  Watch Haylley talk more about this workout

Why are Flotation Belts Important in Deep Water Classes?
As Haylley mentions in the above video, a properly fitted flotation belt is crucial for deep water comfort and results.  First and foremost, a flotation belt is an important safety requirement for deep water fitness classes. However it is more than that.  There is an “urban legend” that you get a better workout if you skip the belt. Not true. The “better” workout that people perceive is really just exertion from excessive sculling to stay vertical and to participate in the workout.   What these people don’t understand is that a flotation belt frees up the arms and legs to perform bigger movements of the limbs that intensify the aerobic output and produce better results for muscular conditioning.  In this workout, the belt is essential for performing 360-movements with proper form.  Form and alignment would devolve into a kinesthetic mess without a belt given all of the topsy turvy action.  Still not convinced on the belt?  Watch Mark make the case for wearing a belt in deep water exercise.   

Teaching Deep Water Classes:  3 Instructor Hacks
Chair or Stool
The most important instructor hack for teaching deep water classes is a chair or stool. Over the years, I prayed for levitation skills, but I never got them.  A chair or stool is essential for teaching the 360 range of possibilities in deep water choreography.  They also come in handy when you need something to stand next to and hold on to while balancing
Noodle Legs
Good news!  There is no need to kill yourself cavorting around on a stool demonstrating vertical to horizontal movement. Just cut a pool noodle in half and you have noodle legs to demonstrate movement with.  You can even put a pair of baby shoes on the end of the half-noodles to make them look more like legs.  Lighted baby shoes are the bomb! 
Shoes on Hands
Noodle legs work especially well for longer lever moves such as skis, jacks and kicks.  But sometimes you need to demonstrate flexion and extension of the hips and knees.  The ability to bend at the elbow joint mimics the ability to bend at the knees.  This is where an old pair of shoes comes in handy.  Placing shoes on your hands is a strong cue that you are using your arms as legs. 

Music Recommendation
The recommended music bpm for deep water choreography is 128 – 135bpm.  The music used in this video was Instrumental Fitness Mix (135 bpm), available to download at Muscle Mixes Music for $20.00.  One of my favorite deep water custom mixes is this 130 bpm custom playlist from Yes! Fitness Music that I call Girls Night.  It is available to download for $15.00.

Fitmotivation would like to thank Haylley for sharing her deep water passion with subscribers.  Coming later this summer, two more videos with Haylley will be posting, including an aquanatal class format and a flexibility program that targets fascial movement.  Both videos will include an additional AEA approved online CEC quiz and handout.  Stay tuned!

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.