Tuesday, July 02 2019

The preview video is for Aqua Plastic Bag Workout, posted 1/10/17.

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Beware the bag lady!  Belgian Aqua Expert, Martine Flamen, shares a very fun, extremely creative and oh-so challenging workout with a plastic shopping bag.  Once submerged and filled with water, the bag transforms into a potent drag force that can be used for cardio, strength, endurance, intervals, circuits, balance and more.  

Call me a shameless promoter, but I felt that the first video to post in the New Year needed to unleash shock & awe.  Martine was here in Florida during the month of December and she told me about her plastic bag workout.  Voilà!  I knew I had found my New Year’s video.   I put Martine to work scripting the video and I even agreed to a nerve-wracking stint as her bag student. 

In the two years since Fitmotivation.com launched, I have developed a “sixth sense” when it comes to predicting which streaming videos are going to be hits.  Jenni Lynn Patterson’s S’Wet Boot Camp and S’Wet Deep, posted in summer 2015, were the first videos to make seismic waves.  Martine’s other video, Aqua Ball Workout, was posted in April 2016 and it was shared extensively on social media, driving up subscriptions and sending people to the Dollar Store for small plastic balls.  Israeli Aqua Expert, Mushi Harush’s video, Aquatic Frisbee Challenge, was a huge summer blockbuster in 2016, sending people back to the Dollar Store for Frisbees.   A pattern seems to be developing and I think I know why.

As aquatic fitness instructors, we are always looking to bring new ideas and workouts into our classes.  Facebook, Youtube and other social media channels tantalize us with videos of the latest industry trends.  Unfortunately, many of these new trends involve equipment that is too expensive or impractical for use in group fitness. Fitmotivation videos that explore alternative ways to provide an innovative, fun and effective workout without breaking the budget seem to be striking a nerve with instructors.  The most commented on videos have featured affordable and generic equipment such as small plastic balls, kickboards, noodles, hand buoys and Frisbees.  Other popular videos have shown how to effectively use circuits and one hand buoy (as opposed to a pair) to cut down on equipment inventory.   And now…get ready to hunt down plastic shopping bags because this workout is way too fun to pass on.   

 According to Martine, the inspiration behind this workout was in the form of equipment that was produced years ago and acted like parachutes in the water, creating drag resistance.  Martine had tried the equipment and really liked it.  Unfortunately, that equipment didn’t last long because according to Martine it was priced too high and quickly taken out of production.  However, her experience with the parachute equipment inspired her to look for alternative ways to create drag resistance, such as shopping bags, t-shirts and towels. 


Different positions for holding and moving the bag are introduced in this segment.  Hand-recovery exercises are also introduced.  Providing recovery to the hands is important due to the gripping of the bag handles.  The hand recovery exercises are designed to return circulation and mobility to the fingers.  Caution:  This workout is NOT for everyone.  If someone suffers from arthritis in their fingers or hands, the excessive gripping may be too uncomfortable for them. 

 Strength & Endurance
Get ready to fill the bag up with water for some serious muscle work in this choreographed body-conditioning segment.  Swing the bag in all movement planes as well as multi-planar, front to back, side to side, diagonal, around the body and even under the leg for a mega drag resisted challenge.     

 Travel & Coordination
Take the strength and endurance exercises for a trip around the pool for enhanced coordination, agility and some cardio.  Walk, jog, kick and leap the distance of the pool while performing various upper body exercises with the bag.

 Active Stretch & Balance
Utilize a bag filled with water to challenge balance and stability while engaging in static stretches.

 In addition to the ideas presented in the video, please consider other ways to incorporate the bags in your classes.   Rather than use them in a full class, consider using the bags as one equipment station in a circuit.  Or use them for 10 minutes in the final portion of your classes.   The plastic bags not only add drag resistance and innovation to your classes, but they also add fun and a whole new treasure trove of skills and drills.

Instructors should feel free to experiment with different plastic shopping bags in their classes.   The larger the bag, the more drag resistance created.  As the poor suffering bag student, I would advise you to start with smaller bags, like those used in the video.   The bags used in the video were purchased in bulk by AEA.   They measure 11 x 15.   However, there are 500 bags in a carton for $52.00.  Assuming that may be overkill, I researched some other plastic shopping bags on Amazon that were similar to the ones used…but slightly different in size and able to be ordered in smaller quantities.

You can order 100 bags, 12 x 15, which is just a bit larger for just $17.80.  (Includes Prime Shipping!)
Or, if you are concerned and want to start with a smaller bag than the one used in the video, you can purchase 50 bags, 9 x 12, for  $8.85.

 Fitmotivation would like to extend a big THANK YOU to Martine for yet another creative aqua workout.  If you have not viewed her Aqua Ball Workout, please do so.   And then maybe you can pair together a class with plastic balls and plastic bags. 

Martine is the founder of Aqua & Move in Belgium, an institute of aqua fitness and swimming and she is also the owner of HAL26 Dance School, which has over 1,500 members.   Look for Martine at the International Aquatic Fitness Conference (IAFC) in May. 



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.