The 15-Minute Approach
Core training and flexibility often get the short shrift in fitness classes. At least in mine! I tend to get caught up in my cardio choreography, traumatizing the students with an elaborate finale and leaving precious few minutes for core and stretching. Recently a subscriber provided a content suggestion requesting an extended ab workout and an extended stretch routine that they could add on to other full workouts. I thought this was a brilliant suggestion and hence the 15-Minute Water Exercise Ab Workout and 15-Minute Water Exercise Stretch. Fitmotivation welcomes content suggestions and strives to accommodate them if we can.
Vertical/Horizontal Core Training
Abdominal/core training techniques have drastically changed over the years. In the past, the prevailing attitude was that you had to lay on your back to properly train the abs. This premise crossed over to water and we mostly did ab training in a modified supine position on a noodle. Times change and so do prevailing protocols. Current fitness trends include a more vertical and functional approach to core training in both land and water fitness. Training abdominal/core muscles in this manner is actually more effective in the water thanks to the upward forces of buoyancy. Buoyancy allows the body to more effectively reposition from vertical to horizontal allowing for creative core training.
Spinal Flexion & Rotation
Abdominal muscles, including the abdominis rectus and the obliques are recruited with spinal flexion and rotation. For example, as knees tuck upward from a vertical position the spine flexes. Examples of rotation include twists and ankle reaches. It doesn’t matter if you are vertical or horizontal when you perform spinal flexion and rotation. The core is recruited in both positions. Flexing and rotating the spine from vertical to horizontal for 15-minutes is a huge core challenge for participants AND instructors. This ab workout is a blast to do IN the pool, but teaching it on deck...not so much. For this reason I have included a separate video showing how I would teach each of the moves in this routine on deck. WATCH deck instruction.
The 15-minute Water Exercise Ab Workout is ideal for deep water training. The flotation belt provides neutral buoyancy and allows the body to reposition from vertical to horizontal with minimal sculling. Performing abdominal movements in a modified supine position with a flotation belt is equally if not more effective than doing so with a pool noodle. Even if you exercise in only shallow water, an investment in a flotation belt can pay off over time when it comes to using it for ab/core training. A flotation belt should always be worn in deep water fitness activities. WATCH this video to better understand why a belt should always be worn for deep water fitness.
This extended ab workout can very much be performed in shallow water without a flotation belt. However, we are labeling that as advanced for those with high muscular density and/or low body fat levels. Denser body types sink and would require extreme sculling to transition from vertical to horizontal or stay in horizontal position for extended periods of time. Extreme sculling can be taxing on the upper body extremities and is not recommended for people with shoulder issues. Healthy and reasonably fit individuals with normal to higher body fat levels should be fine doing this ab workout in shallow water without a flotation belt.
This 15-Minute Water Exercise Ab Workout is ideal for those times you want to treat the students to an extra long core finale. Stay tuned – the 15-Minute Water Exercise Stretch is also posting.
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.