Expanding Equipment Options with Quartered Noodles

Tuesday, July 02 2019

Cutting up old noodles into quarters is a cost-effective way of recycling equipment and expanding your library of exercises and choreography.   Belgian Aqua Training Specialist, Martine Flamen shares ideas for muscle conditioning, cardio, balance and core. 

Equipment options can be rather scarce at some facilities due to limited budgets.  Pool noodles are one of the most common types of equipment because of their affordability and versatility.  The cheaper, colorful “Dollar Store” noodles tend to take a beating thanks to the avid affections of children.  Instead of tossing them out when they get worn, try chopping them into quarters, transforming them into handheld buoyant and drag equipment.   

Cutting the noodles into shorter pieces provides completely different exercise options for resistance training.  The noodles can be held and plunged down for buoyant resistance or pushed and pulled horizontally in the water for drag resistance.  As Martine demonstrates in the video, the drag resistance is significantly increased by fully submerging the quarter noodle and by presenting a larger surface area with a vertical hold.  The quarter noodles introduce opportunities for creative arm patterns, destabilizing drag forces, creative core challenges and much more. 


The quarter noodles are similar to hand buoys (foam dumbbells) in that they are both hand-held equipment, however it should not be assumed that the hand buoys can be substituted in this workout.   Some of the exercises in this video could be performed with small hand buoys, but many cannot.  The size, shape and density of quarter noodles is NOT the same as hand buoys.  Most hand buoys are too large and bulky to be pushed and pulled in the water the way that quarter noodles can be.  Doing so could risk injury.


Similarly, the larger, dense noodles cut up into quarters would also present challenges with gripping and with too much density/buoyancy.  Exercising with quarter noodles is best with the cheaper, low density noodles.  Gripping these smaller noodles is achievable for most people, however hand breaks should be incorporated frequently.  Martine demonstrates incorporating hand breaks into the routine by simply floating the noodles to the surface and rolling the wrists and hands on the noodle. 




Segment 1:  Warm-up
Various push and pull arm patterns are introduced, demonstrating the concept of increasing drag resistance with full submersion and larger surface area. 


Segment 2:  Scissors
Cross country skis are performed using the quarter noodles as ski poles, changing positions from Level 1 to Level II to Level III.   The quarter noodles are also performed unilaterally with the skis for a core challenge. 

Segment 3:  Jumping Jacks

Different arm patterns are performed with the jacks, exploring options for increasing buoyant and drag resistance.  Finally, a jack combination is introduced with arms positioned both in front and in back.


Segment 4:  Kicks
Front, side and rear kicks are taught with a variety of arm patterns.   Get ready to challenge your motor skills. 


Segment 5:  Balance Challenge
The same combination that was introduced in the jack segment is performed again with a one-foot landing and additional balance challenges. 


Segment 6:  Grounded Core
Get ready to “stir the pot” with some arm patterns that will challenge an anchored stance on both one and two feet.


Segment 7:  Core Calisthenics
This segment is all about suspended core movements.


Segment 8:  Cool Down
The noodles are used in this cool down to provide some stabilization while performing “destabilizing” dynamic stretching. 


Fitmotivation extends a big THANK YOU to Martine Flamen for once again sharing her talents and passion with subscribers.  Martine has become known as somewhat of an “influencer & innovator” on Fitmotivation.   In 2016, her video, Aqua Ball Workout, caused a mad rush to the Dollar Store to buy small plastic balls.  In 2017, she introduced “parachuting” to video subscribers with her video, Aqua Plastic Bag Workout.  In 2018, she showcased a hybrid swim and aquafit class in the video, Aqua Fit Swim

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.