Kickboard Ideas for Aquafit Classes

Tuesday, February 07 2023

Kickboards can be just as effective in vertical water fitness classes as they are in horizontal swimming activities. Join Shelley Owens for a 45-minute aquatic fitness class that includes over 20 minutes of kickboard fitness challenges. This shallow water class format also includes a warm-up and cardio endurance segment without a kickboard.  

This kickboard cardio fitness format begins with a 10-minute warm-up that features a series of exercises that are designed to gradually increase intensity while prepping the muscles and joints for the workout to come. The next three class segments features 20-minutes of kickboard action that will challenge your class members' cardio endurance, upper body, core, balance and more. This aquatic fitness class concludes with a high energy cardio segment without the kickboard, followed by a cool down/stretch. 

Kickboard Details & Safety
Kickboards come in all sizes and shapes. It is recommended that for aquatic fitness activities that you use a sturdy board that is easy to grip. A larger surface area, or a board around 20 inches in length would be ideal for optimal drag resistance. Frequent hand breaks are important when using hand-held equipment. Gripping can be uncomfortable for class members' with arthritic conditions in their fingers. Likewise, maintaining a tight grip for a prolonged period should also be avoided by those with hypertension. Instructors should feel free to modify any of the exercises to suit their class populations' needs.  At the end of the kickboard segment, Shelley performs an exercise standing on the board. Please note, this is an advanced exercise and you should avoid doing it in classes where class members are in close proximity to each other.  If a student loses control of a board submerged that far below the surface, the forces of buoyancy could explode the board out of the water and hit someone nearby. If in doubt, just avoid this exercise. Watch Shelley and Sharlie talk more about using a kickboard in aquatic fitness classes and read below the inspiration behind Kickboard Cardio.

Kickboard Inspiration
By Sharlie Peterson, Shock Wave Aqua Fitness founder
Kickboards aren’t just for swimmers.  In fact, using a Kickboard is recommended for everyone from active older adults to young athletes to train the core and strengthen the muscles.   
Shelley (my mom) loves to use a Kickboard in her Shockwave Aqua Fitness classes, not only for the extra push of resistance training the board provides, but also for working on balance and stability. It takes some serious focus on proper form and stance when utilizing a kickboard in aquatic classes, especially when using the board for arm exercises where the feet are planted on the pool floor while pushing and pulling. It’s extremely important for instructors to demonstrate kickboard exercises with knowledge not only of the muscles being targeted, but also proper posture.
In Kickboard Cardio, the kickboard portion of class is between 20-25 minutes in length and squeezed in between a warm up of built-up cardio exercise and an ending of one last cardio push. Most kickboard exercises should be performed with slower, more controlled movement rather than focusing on how fast an exercise can be executed. Participants should focus on the effort of power behind each push and glide of the kickboard. Because these exercises are slower, the kickboard section is combined with cardio exercise without the use of the board, so participants do not get too chilled depending on water temperature. The combination of cardio and kickboard is a great way to get fit in the pool.  We hope you will utilize a Kickboard in your own classes to see just how beneficial they can be to a water workout.

Fitmotivation extends thanks to Shelley for sharing her kickboard ideas with subscribers.  Check out her other Fitmotivation video, Core Suspense, a deep water cardio & core workout.

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.