Katy’s Go-To Subbing Routine

Wednesday, February 15 2023

Join Katy and discover the routine she uses every time she subs an aquatic fitness class. Easy to teach and easy to follow, this simple but challenging class format is designed with aquatic fitness base moves and standard equipment, such as noodles and foam dumbbells. Built with intensity options, you can easily regress or progress the exercises.  Best of all, you can teach  this routine in both deep and shallow water.

It goes without saying that subbing other instructors’ aquatic fitness classes is always a struggle.  Often you have no idea what the participants’ ability level is, what their instructor normally does, what the pool depth is like and what kind of equipment is available at the facility. The inspiration behind AquaFIIT – I Need a Sub, was Katy’s experiences over the years subbing classes.  According to her, this routine has been tweaked over the years and is now her go-to subbing routine that works every time.   

Focusing on HIIT, strength and core training, this class format includes a warm-up, cool down and 7 working segments. Three of the working segments feature strength training, one with hand buoys, one with noodles and one using water’s drag resistance. Three of the segments include HIIT rounds with a hard, harder, hardest theme.  These three HIIT segments were intended to be filmed as ONE segment but we had some light rain that kept forcing camera shut-downs and restarts. The last working segment features a core burnout with a noodle. 

What makes this subbing routine successful?
Multi-level fitness programming is designed to accommodate a wide range of fitness levels.  Katy comes prepared in this routine to offer progressions and regressions of each move. The moves are kept simple, with the assumption that the participants will OWN the intensity and the effort that they put into it. This is hugely important in group fitness classes. Instructors should encourage participants to avoid playing “monkey see- monkey do” by attempting to mimic everything the instructor does. Less advanced class members need to use common sense and modify moves that are too difficult or uncomfortable for them. More advanced students should take it upon themselves to intensify the moves if they want to work harder. Equally important is precise cueing so that the students perform the exercises with good alignment, core stability and a full range of motion. Watch Katy talk more about her go-to subbing routine. 

Additional inspiration for this video came from Katy’s collaboration with Jenni Lynn Patterson LaCour.  AquaFIIT and S’WET joined forces to create a program called Turf to Surf, which was designed to encourage land-based instructors to give aquatic fitness a try.  The theory behind this was that land instructors already know how to teach and with some aquatic fitness training they could fill in as subs and help remedy the shortage of aquatic fitness instructors. If you are interested in finding out more about this program, and possibly hosting this training at your facility, please visit the S’WET Website and learn more about details in hosting a workshop.   

Fitmotivation extends a big thank you to Katy for her passion and content contributions.  Stay tuned for three more pool workouts from Katy in Spring 2023.  Watch a fun behind-the-scenes look at Katy’s 2022 Florida filming adventures. 



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.