New Year’s Level Challenge

Sunday, January 02 2022

Launch the New Year with a high-energy cardio workout that will challenge your class participants with a gauntlet of 4 levels for each move.  Hard, Harder, Hardest with Jackie Lebeau is a 50-minute shallow water aquatic fitness format that showcases water-specific impact options. Best of all, this intense cardio challenge is 75% impact free and includes basic moves that are easy to teach.    

Keeping class formats simple is sometimes best because then the class participants can devote more energy to just exercising.  This class format features aquatic fitness bases moves that are taught with four different impact levels – grounded (anchored), bounded (Level I), neutral/shoulders submerged (Level II) and suspended (Level III).  Teaching impact levels is specific to water exercise and the aquatic environment.  Level III or suspended moves are only possible in a water fitness class thanks to buoyant forces.   

Aside from providing creativity and variety to classes, impact options serve the purpose of helping instructors provide options to their students for reducing impact.  All Fitmotivation video leaders are certified by the Aquatic Exercise Association (AEA).  Some of them are also AEA Trainers who educate and certify instructors.  The AEA certification provides instructors with education on impact levels and how to implement them in classes. 
Below is a description of each of the four impact levels that Jackie showcases in Hard, Harder and Hardest. 

GROUNDED (Anchored Movement)
Grounded moves are reduced impact, if not completely non-impact.  Unlike Level II (neutral) movement, shoulders do not need to be lowered to the water’s surface to take away gravity and impact.  Instead, impact is reduced by moving only one leg at time, keeping the other leg anchored to the pool floor.  This is very similar to performing low impact aerobics in a Hi/Lo class.  Most aquatic fitness base moves can be grounded.

LEVEL I  (Bounded Movement)
Level I movement refers to the traditional execution of a base move in an upright position.  This is also referred to as “bounding” moves because there is either weight transfer or jumping involved.  There is still gravity present in chest high water and therefore impact consists of 25-35% of body weight.  All base moves can be performed at Level I.   Level I/Bounded moves are the only exercises in this workout with impact, which is why is 75% impact free. 

LEVEL II  (Neutral Movement)
Level II/neutral moves are executed with shoulders submerged to the water’s level.  This is achieved by lowering hips and knees into a semi-squat position.  Exercising with the body lowered down into the water eliminates gravity, reducing impact.  All base moves can be performed by lowering down to neutral position in the water.    

LEVEL III (Suspended Movement)
Level III (Suspended Moves) are completely impact free because the feet never make contact with the pool floor.  There is zero gravity, which means there is zero impact.  Two-footed moves, such as skis, jacks and moguls can be performed at Level III.  One-footed moves, such as jogs, high heel jogs and kicks do not perform well at Level III.

Formatting Features
In the Hard, Harder, Hardest workout, nine bases moves are first taught with a unilateral grounded move, starting with right leg or right arm first.  Then the Level I, II and III versions are taught for that move.  Move #10 features a bilateral transition exercise that set-ups up a reversal of all nine moves leading with the left lead on the unilateral grounded moves.  The utilization of aquatic base moves and the linear style of instruction makes this an easy-to-teach workout for instructors. Watch Jackie talk more about the workout.

Video Music
The music playlist used in this video is Latin 1, which is 130 bpm and available to download for $14.95 through Power Mixes Virtual Music Category. 

Fitmotivation once again extends a big thank you to AEA Training Specialist, Jackie Lebeau, for sharing her passion and talents with subscribers.  If you enjoyed learning more about how to implement impact options in your classes, be sure to check out the following videos:
Aqua Free 3 – Impact Options
Greatest HIITS of Water
If you are an AEA Certified instructor, you can also consider doing the Aqua Free Online Ed quiz, which features a 9-page handout detailing how to create endless variations of base moves using changes in impact, arms, travel, music tempo and more.  The quiz is approved for 2.0 AEA CECs. 

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.