Water Exercise Class with One Hand Buoy

Thursday, June 10 2021

The 1-Buoy Water Workout is a fun and challenging way to exercise in the pool, deep or shallow, with or without equipment.  The use of a single buoy provides innovative options for training cardio and core, while minimizing gripping issues with the buoys.  Provide your students with a workout that gives them plenty of options 

Ask any aquatic fitness instructor or water exercise enthusiast and they will tell you that ideas for using the foam dumbbells are few and far between and that they invariably end up defaulting into doing the same buoy exercises time and again.  The 1-Buoy Water Workout is intended to provide fresh new ideas for exercising in the pool with hand buoys.  The core segment in this video is a personal favorite of mine. 

Equipment Options
Similar to the Foam Dumbbell Workout that posted in October 2020, the same exercises are performed with and without the buoy to prove that you do not need to use foam dumbbells if you do not have them, or if you are concerned about using them. Anyone who has pain or issues in their upper body extremities should not use the buoys.  If you do not have buoys, but you have webbed gloves or Aqualogix equipment, feel free to use it.  Even if you have buoys, consider trying this workout without equipment and with different equipment options to mix it up and achieve different fitness results. 

Depth Options
Despite the fact that it is easier to create buoy exercises for shallow water, I made sure to design this workout so that it could be done in either depth. Creating dual depth workouts simply makes them more accessible to everyone.  Water exercise participants typically have strong preferences for one depth over the other and therefore it is nice to provide a choice.  Even if you like exercising in both depths, switch it up because fitness results can vary between deep and shallow workouts.    WATCH a short video regarding options for the 1-Buoy Workout.  

Buoy Size
Choosing the correct buoy size is essential for a safe and effective fitness experience.  Yes, I preach this same song every time I use the buoys in a video.  Lightweight on land, the foam dumbbells generate a great deal of resistance once they are pushed below the surface of the water, encountering the upward forces of buoyancy.  The larger the buoy, the greater the forces.  Small to medium sized buoys would be best for any workout such as the 1-Buoy Water Workout where you are doing moves in a choreographed fashion and at a faster cardio clip. 

Gripping Issues
Avoid gripping on to buoys for an entire workout or class.  Hand breaks are essential.  Ideally, the buoys should be alternated with exercises where hand-held equipment is not used so that the hands get a break. This would be standard practice in a fitness studio and the same common sense should be applied in the pool.  The 1-Buoy Water Workout includes segments of buoy use alternated with segments without equipment. Using a single buoy allows one hand to rest while the other is working.  It also allows for placing both hands on a single buoy with open palms on top of the buoy or on the side, eliminating gripping issues.   Excessive gripping can cause discomfort and even pain for people with arthritic hands or wrists. Prolonged gripping can also elevate blood pressure.

Foam Dumbbell Safety
Foam dumbbells cannot just be inserted into any pool workout at whim.   A water workout must be specifically designed for their shape, size and for interacting with the upward forces of buoyancy.  As an instructor, it would irritate me when I would sub a class and the participants would try to use foam dumbbells in my choreographed, fast-paced aerobic classes.  Frustrated, I even wrote the article, Equipment Addiction, about my battles with students over foam dumbbells.  WATCH an extended tutorial on the use of foam dumbbells, including safety tips on buoy size, gripping and modifications. 

Water workouts with foam dumbbells is one of the most requested suggestions for video content.  Therefore, this month we are posting a buoy series.  The 1-Buoy Water Workout will be followed in two weeks by the 2-Buoy Water Workout, which provides all new exercise using a pair of hand buoys instead of just one.  Keep the content suggestions coming! 

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.