Tuesday, July 02 2019

Summer isn’t over yet.  Get ready for a challenging Tabata-style workout that features an enduring symbol of warm and sunny days – the Frisbee!   Unleash fun, frolic and fitness with Fribata, a program designed by AEA CEC Provider, Susan Abel Sullivan.  Whether you design an entire Frisbee class or add one or two HIIT rounds, Fribata will expand your horizons with an innovative concept and creative exercises.      

Featuring high intensity exercises taught for 30 seconds, followed by 15 seconds of recovery, this workout targets both upper and lower body by using the Frisbee as drag and gliding equipment. The disc is also used as a prop for playful themed activity.   Each Fribata round includes four exercises, performed twice for a total of 6-minutes.  The complete workout includes four rounds and a warm-up and cool down, all utilizing the Frisbee.  Easy to follow along with, Fribata can also be used as personal workout; an audio download is included.

Frisbees are common for recreational use, but somewhat novel in aquatic fitness classes.  Consider introducing Frisbees in a small portion of your class, such as starting with just one or two Fribatas.  Gripping the Frisbee for an extended period of time can cause discomfort in the fingers and wrists. Susan demonstrates drag exercises that alternate between gripping and flat palm so that the fingers are rested.   Shoes are a must when standing on Frisbees and using them as gliding equipment.

Classes can be progressed overtime to include additional Frisbee programming once students get more acclimated and the instructor becomes more versed in varying the exercises.   An example of varying would be to alternate the exercises or rounds between drag (holding), gliding (standing on) and prop (non-grip usage).    For additional ideas on varying the programming, consider combining Fribata with exercises from the video, Aquatic Firsbee Challenge, a program designed by Israeli Aqua Expert, Mushi Harush.   Mushi’s Frisbee workout is one of the most popular videos on

Incorporating a Frisbee into your traditional programming is fun and adds an element of progressive overload by changing things up.   The Frisbee is one of the only types of aquatic equipment that can target upper and lower body, as well as the core.  Best of all, the movements are simple to teach and easy to follow along with.  


Workout Outline
As mentioned above, this 35-minute workout includes four 6-minute Fribatas and a warm-up and cool down.  Consider adding other activities to extend the programming time to 45-60 minutes.  The exercise selection in Fribata reflects Susan’s passion for inserting theatrics in her programming.  Her joy is infectious.  My favorite parts include the Pizza Delivery segment and the cakewalk exercise.  Equally brilliant was the concept of walking with the Frisbee on the head as a cool down and balance activity. 

Timing modification
The original format for this program is traditional Tabata timing of 20 seconds/work and 10 seconds/recovery.  In her classes, Susan uses preformatted Tabata music from Yes! Fitness Music.  (See below) Unfortunately, this music cannot be used in a video production, unless of course I wanted to spend around $10,000 for licensing rights – which I don’t.  Therefore, I bullied Susan into changing the timing to 30 seconds/work and 15 seconds recovery so that video approved (instrumental) 32-count music could be used.  Essentially, 30 seconds is two 32-count phrases of music and 15 seconds is one 32-count phrase of music.   This makes timing much easier when preformatted music is not available.  However, please note that it does increase the time of each Tabata round from 4-minutes to 6-minutes. 

Music recommendations
The Tabata Gold series by Yes! Fitness Music features senior-friendly music that is verbally cued for Tabata 20/10 timing.  The same preformatted music was also referenced in the blogs of four other Fitmotivation workouts, Aqua Tabata Deep, Aqua Total Body Tataba, Bata Boom (deep) and Bata Bing (shallow). 

Frisbee recommendations
According to Susan, the best Frisbees/discs are sturdy and thick.  Cheap and flimsy discs should not be used as equipment in aquatic exercise as they can break.   “Look in thrift stores and you can often pick up heavy-weight Frisbees for a dollar or so,” says Susan.  One of her preferred brands of Frisbee is Life is Good.  Currently, they are offering 50% off on Frisbees, with a sales price of $7.99.   The Wham-O Heavy Weight Frisbees available at Walmart are another of her favorites. 

Equipment substitutions
After watching Susan film Fribata my creative juices were flowing with ideas for creating similar programming with other equipment.   If you cannot or do not want to incorporate Frisbees in your classes, consider using kickboards for the drag and prop (pizza delivery) segments.  A single foam dumbbell can also be substituted for some of the exercises. 

Fitmotivation extends a big THANK YOU to Susan Abel Sullivan for sharing her passion and talents with video subscribers.  Based in Brunswick, GA, Susan is an AEA Continuing Education Provider and has presented at IAFC and SCW Mania conferences.  Visit her website for information on hosting AEA CEC workshops.  Susan is known for combining her love of music, movement, dance and theatrics in her programming.  And THAT will become abundantly evident in Susan’s next video, Aqua Games & Themes, posting in September 2018.  Do NOT miss this video!

Like this blog?  Questions?  Please leave a comment below.

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.