Progressive Intensity Template

Saturday, March 26 2022

Deep or shallow, this 45-minute aquatic fitness class format is designed to promote weight loss and improve muscular endurance.  Build Ups with Miff Hendriksen showcases a progressive aerobic workout that builds in intensity as moves are added on in each segment. This class template can be reinvented with a variety of exercises for different outcomes. 

Blog Summary

  • Learning the art of base move variations
  • Steady-state aerobic format with progressive intensity
  • Video-at-a-Glance
  • Reinvent the Build-Ups template with new moves and different outcomes
  • Music Playlist
  • Up Next!  Sharlie Peterson

Build Ups starts with five aquatic fitness moves – high knee jogs, leg curls, front kicks, skis and jacks.  In each segment a variation of each base move is added, which increases the duration and the amount of exercises in each segment.  Several Fitmotivation videos have focused on base move variations.  Why?  The base moves are the most effective exercises in the aquatic environment.  However, routines would get boring without variety and results would plateau in the absence of progressive overload.  Therefore, learning how to create endless variations of base moves is an essential instructor skill.  

The Build Ups class format is an aerobic workout that features a steady-state of energy output that builds in intensity as the workout progresses.  Steady-state aerobic formats differ from interval training, such as HIIT classes, which feature varied intensity thanks to work and rest cycles.  As mentioned in the recent video blog for Splashdown, the combination of aerobic and interval training is the best way to obtain fitness results and prepare the body for real life activities.  

Base Moves
Five aquatic fitness base moves are introduced in this segment. Build Ups is an easy class to teach because all of the moves and movement variations are performed for two 32-count phrases or 30 seconds each.  The repetition of movement means that there are less exercises to memorize.  The base moves are repeated in all five working segments.  However, the base move arms are changed in each segment to add variety.  
First Build-Up
In this segment, the first movement variation is added to each base move.  After the base move is performed, a variation featuring land tempo or double-time is added on. 
Second Build-Up
In this segment, another base move variation is added for a line-up that includes:  1. Base Move 2. Land tempo base move 3. Syncopated Base Move. Syncopation is a tempo change that features a “quick, quick, slow” cadence.
Third Build-Up
Another base move variation is added, building the intensity goes way up.  The line-up now features 4 moves of each:  1. Base Move 2. Land tempo base move 3. Syncopated Base Move 4. Power Base Move. The power move is performed in the shallow end with rebounding or knee tucks at Level II.  In the deep end, the power move is performed by forcefully tucking the knees.
Fifth Build-Up
The fifth and final variation is introduced in this segment.  In shallow water, this variation involves a suspended or Level III movement.  In the deep end, the body is perpetually in a state of suspension and so cues to elevate the shoulders out of the water are offered.
Cool Down
The workout concludes with a rhythmic stretch. 

Build Ups Template
Like many other Fitmotivation workouts, such as the Splashdown template, the Build Ups class format can be reinvented over and over again with new moves and different results.  Simply pick five different base moves and four different base move variations.  Base move variations can include changes in arm patterns, legs (unilateral vs. bilateral), tempo, impact level, travel, direction, function or by combining moves.  Templates provide a simple way to create new class routines with proven results. 

Music Playlist
The playlist used in the video is Mark’s Senior Instrumental Mix from Muscle Mixes Music, available for download for $20.00

Sharlie Peterson, the owner of Shockwave Aqua Fitness, a Kansas-based water fitness organization, will be here this week filming four videos. Originally scheduled to be here at the end of February, Sharlie’s trip got canceled due to winter storms and flight cancellations.  Her first video, Aqua Turbo Water Kickboxing, will post in early April.

Fitmotivation extends a big thank to Miff Hendriksen for once again sharing her passion for aquatic fitness. I would like to thank Miff personally for helping me out at the last moment. Originally, I was slated to film, but I injured my shoulder.  However, the show must go on and that is what good friends are for.   Cheers to Miff!


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.