Tuesday, July 02 2019

Why is it that the minute you get a noodle or foam dumbbells in your hands you go brain dead trying to think of new things to do?  Subscribers are always requesting more noodle and hand buoy ideas and so I tested a circuit format in my class and got great feedback; hence the latest video and audio download to post – Noodle & Buoy Circuit.   

The choice of equipment available to aquatic fitness instructors is often limited to noodles and hand buoys.   This is not exactly the best recipe for creativity and muscle balance, but in most cases they are the only equipment instructors have to work with.  The fact is many instructors want to use equipment in their classes and so do their students.   My personal animus for equipment has been well documented in previous blogs, including Equipment Addiction.  My antipathy relates more to monitoring the safety of 40 older adults while they flail around with enormous dumbbells and super-dense noodles. 

However, Fitmotivation does receive requests for noodle and buoy ideas and that means someone has to deal with it and I guess that someone is me.  Experimenting with a workout on my own in the pool, I developed a circuit format that alternated upper body toning with buoys and core training with noodles.  Next, I tested the format in my class at the YMCA.   The class participants were shocked when I told them that we were using foam dumbbells and noodles.  “SMALL DUMBBELLS AND SKINNY NOODLES!”  (I hid the larger ones.)   The feedback on the circuit was very positive and so I decided to share the workout.

Despite my dread for using buoys and noodles in large classes, there are benefits to equipment use.  In lieu of using equipment, all movements are RESISTED and thus all muscle actions are concentric.  This is good, but some fitness pundits laud the benefits of eccentric muscle actions, where the forces of gravity, buoyancy or equipment ASSIST movement.  They believe that eccentric training builds greater overall muscle strength and may help heal and prevent muscular sprains and strains.

Eccentric muscle actions can only be achieved by introducing equipment.  When using buoys or noodles for resistance, the upward force of buoyancy resists the downward phase of the movement.   Therefore the upward phase of movement is assisted and eccentric.  In this workout, only the buoys are used for resistance.  The noodles are used primarily for buoyant support. 



Segment 1:  This segment features a warm-up; no equipment is used.  The goal is to prepare the muscles and joints for the workout – particularly specific prep to ready the upper body for equipment use.

Segment 2:  The first two hand buoy combos are introduced in this segment.  Each combination features two moves.  This allows for more simplistic choreography or linking if desired.

Segment 3:  Switching over to noodles for buoyant support provides the hands a much needed break.   Two different core moves are taught using the noodle behind the upper back for support.

Segment 4:  Two more combinations are taught with the hand buoys and then all four combinations are added together.

Segment 5:  Two more noodle moves are taught and then all 4 noodle moves are added together.

Segment 6:  Cool down and stretch (no equipment)

Equipment is not for everyone.  If someone experiences discomfort or pain in their fingers, hands, wrists, elbows, shoulders, neck or back – they should just exercise without the equipment.   In place of hand buoys, smaller (1/4 sized) pieces of noodle can be used.  In place of a noodle, a flotation belt can be substituted.

Noodle & Buoy Circuit also includes an audio download.  As I was testing and rehearsing the circuit by myself in the pool, I realized it would make a good video/audio to exercise along with.   This was my first attempt at voicing over an audio workout that had noodles and/or hand buoys, not to mention choreography.  Not an easy effort, but hopefully the end result is doable. 

The video is available to both Basic Pro and Premium Pro subscribers.  Premium subscribers can download the audio workout for FREE – but you must do so before the next audio workout posts.   The next audio download is scheduled to post on 10/10/17.  Otherwise, the audio downloads are available in the Fitmotivation online store and available to Basic & Premium subscribers for 50% off ($7.50).


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.