Lower Body 101 for Water Exercise

Wednesday, July 24 2019

With decades of experience to share, Terri Mitchell shares some of her favorite leg exercises as well as a wealth of knowledge regarding cueing and proper form & alignment.  Aqualogical Legs is part workout and part tutorial and an excellent resource for instructors to expand their knowledge.   Stay tuned, a Fitmotivation Online Ed course for 2.0 AEA CECs will post next month for this video.

Anyone who has been certified with the Aquatic Exercise Association (AEA) for a long time is undoubtedly familiar with “Texas Terri” as she was an AEA Training Specialist for over 25 years.  In fact, she was AEA’s first hired trainer back in 1987, a couple of years after Ruth Sova founded AEA.  Fitmotivation detailed the founding of AEA and those first years in a blog posted last year – Looking Back on 30 Years of Aquatic Fitness with Ruth


Terri now spends her time working and playing in pools in Austin, Texas with adults of all ages, weights, abilities and function.  During her stint as an AEA Trainer she taught workshops globally using buoyant and drag equipment, the slope, the wall and anything to create fun and effective aquatic fitness classes. Many of Terri’s workshops carried the branding “Aqualogical” and she has always strived to make her water exercise programs purposeful and sensible.




Fitmotivation: What was your inspiration for creating a program called Aqualogical Legs?

Terri:  Our society is sedentary, leading to Glute Amnesia, also known as Dormant Butt Syndrome.  (Google it). In water exercise classes, we can strengthen and stretch our leg muscles to create better function on land. I saw that many aqua fitness participants had tight hip rotators and weak hip extensors. So, I focused on stretching tight muscles and strengthening weak muscles for improved posture, balance, and everyday performance.


Fitmotivation:  What kind of knowledge do you feel is crucial for instructors to develop well designed lower body movement?

Terri:  Knowledge of basic anatomy is important for instructors to understand in order to create well balanced water exercise programs without overusing the already over strong hip flexors. It’s also crucial for instructors to cue participants on proper alignment in order to target specific muscles.


Fitmotivation:  When would you recommend that someone progress to drag resistance ankle blades?

Terri:  Once someone understands how to move in the water with good form and without pain, add the blades.  They should start out moving slower, but with good range of motion, and gradually increase the intensity and force as they are able.  Increased strength will come with time. “No pain, no gain is no sense, so listen to your body!”


Fitmotivation:  Any other tips or pointers you want to share?

Terri:  Cueing is so important.  Many participants stand with their feet turned outward, indicating tight hips.  Cue participants to stand with toes straight ahead.  Cue participants to abduct their hip by keeping their toes straight ahead, ankle bone towards the sky or ceiling, and to move at the joint, not using their back.  This specific cueing will target the hip abductors, a muscle that is needed for walking, balance and stability.  I would also like to remind everyone to remember to take the time to stretch.    And most of all…remember Aquafitness is not Glute(n) free!


Fitmotivation would like to extend a a big thank you to Terri Mitchell for sharing her passion and vast experience with subscribers.   Stay tuned…Terri filmed two other videos while she was here in Florida – Aqualogical Angles and Aqualogical Abs.  Both are coming soon!


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.