Pool Noodle Cardio Choreography

Sunday, July 10 2022

Ashley B recently returned to Florida for more filming. SplAsh Toning Noodle Edition features choreography for cardio and toning.  SplAsh Toning with hand buoys was a subscriber hit in 2018.  Get ready to treat your students to more SplAshy fun in the shallow end of the pool.


  • What are choreography styles and how can they help exercise adherence?
  • All noodles are created differently.  What size is best for classes?
  • Buoyancy resisted is the opposite of gravity resisted.  How does this affect movement?
  • It is important to plan hand breaks with hand held equipment.
  • 128 - 130 is the recommended music bpm for this workout?

Pool noodles are popular in aquatic fitness classes because of their availability, affordability and versatility.  Most pool facilities can afford noodles and so we try to post noodle content frequently.  Pool noodles can be used for resistance, flotation, neutral buoyancy and more.  The latest Fitmotivation video, SplAsh Toning Noodles Edition, showcases noodles being used in a variety of ways for an aquatic fitness class that includes cardio, muscular endurance and core training. 

Ashley’s Favorite Choreography Styles
SplAsh Toning Noodles Edition is a follow-up to the popular 2018 SplAsh Toning video that featured choreography with hand buoys.  The SplAsh Toning series highlights Ashley’s favorite choreography styles, including add-on, pyramid and pure-patterned repetition.  Add-on choreography, also known as the building block method, is created with a series of movements added one by one and repeated to form a pattern of predictable sequencing.  Pyramid choreography features combinations of moves taught with either increased or decreased repetitions.  Repetition reduction is a gold medal standard for instructing aquatic fitness classes.  For example, this might involve instructing a series of moves first with 16 repetitions, then with 8, then 4 and finally 2 and possible 1.  Pure patterned repetition would be teaching a combination in its final form and then repeating it several times until the class members have memorized it (har har).  This style of exercise instruction can also be taught to the structure of a song by using a different exercise for the bridge, verse and chorus and then repeating the same exercises every time that part of the song plays.  Teaching with a variety of choreography styles keeps your classes fun and engaging and encourages the members to keep showing up.

What type of noodle is best for this workout?
Choosing the correct noodle size is important for both fitness results and safety considerations.  Noodles can vary greatly in size, density and sturdiness.  Splash Toning Noodles Edition is taught with constant movement at a bpm of 128-130.  A large, dense noodle would probably not be appropriate for this class.  Instead, a less dense, “Dollar Store” style noodle would be preferred.  The larger denser noodles are better for more traditional muscle conditioning or for flotation for muscular, dense bodies.  Encourage your students to choose wisely if you have different types of noodles available.  Better yet, just hide the larger noodles when teaching this class.

Understanding buoyancy resisted movement
As mentioned above, noodles can be used in a variety of ways.  Holding them and using them for buoyant resistance requires movement that goes up and down, similar to weights on land. When noodles are pushed and pulled horizontally, they primarily interact with drag resistance. Performing exercises with foam equipment like noodles and hand buoys, buoyancy resisted movement is DOWNWARDS and is the concentric or shortening phase of the muscle action.  Class members should be encouraged to not let the noodle shoot back up to the surface.  Instead they should use muscular CONTROL to allow the noodle to go back up because that is the eccentric or lengthening phase of the muscle action.  Pushing a large, dense noodle downwards would be equivalent to lifting a larger weight upwards.  Buoyancy is the opposite of gravity.  Exercises performed on land are resisted by gravity when lifted UPWARDS. Watch Ashley talk more about instructional styles, noodle sizing and more.

Always provide hand breaks to your class members
Grasping on to the noodle can be uncomfortable to some people due to arthritic conditions or the size of their hands. Continuous clenching can also elevate heartrate.  Foam dumbbells or noodles should not be held the entire time.  In this workout, Ashley provides several hand breaks. These hand breaks are essential and instructors should get into the habit of incorporating them into their routines any time hand held equipment is used.

Recommended Music BPM
Splash Toning Noodles Edition is an aerobic workout and therefore a more energetic cadence is recommended.  Ashley suggests 128-130 bpm.  Please visit Yes! Fitness Music, or Muscle Mixes Music or Power Music for playlist ideas.  I created a 130bpm playlist called Tone & Sculpt on Yes! Fitness Music.  It has an 80’s MTV theme if you are into that. 

Fitmotivation welcomes Ashley back and extends a big thank you to her for sharing her passion and knowledge with subscribers.  Stay tuned for more videos from Ashley this summer.  Below, watch a fun behind-the-scenes video of Ashley’s recent filming. 




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.