One of the best pool workouts you can get without swimming laps are resistance exercises with the support of a basic foam pool noodle.
This post is new and improved, now with eight great pool noodle workout moves, and some new pictures.
Winter or summer, in your own pool or at your local gym or community pool. Keep in shape with a 30-60 minute pool noodle workout, done 2-3 times per week.
Noodle Pull / Push
This exercise focuses on your upper body but can be modified to an entire body workout as well. Standing in chest-deep water, hold the pool noodle near your chest with your palms down just beneath the surface of the water. Push the noodle down keeping it submerged until your arms are fully extended. Then slowly allow it to come up for one rep. To engage the whole body, do this exercise while walking through the water at the same time.
Do this in deeper water with the pool noodle wrapped behind your back and under your arms for stability. Starting with your legs straight below you, toes pointed toward the bottom, engage your abs and bring your knees up toward your chest as far as you can. Hold for two seconds, then move your legs back down to the starting position. Repeat for 10 reps.
In this version of the Noodle Tuck shown above, a twisting motion is added. The abdomen muscles are fully engaged, with more work on the obliques, the flanking muscle group from the rib cage down to where your love handles used to be. With different angles or even completely prone, (like a plank), you can modify the effect to focus on different body areas.
Noodle Push Downs
Standing in waist-deep water, stand with your feet hip-width apart and hold the pool noodle in front of you on the water’s surface with your hands slightly farther than shoulder-width apart. Push down on the noodle while simultaneously raising one leg straight behind you until your body is parallel to the bottom. Repeat with the other leg.
Pool Noodle Lunges
Start in chest-deep water with one end of the pool noodle in each hand, arms extended in front of you underneath the water. Your hands should be close to each other, so the noddle forms a U in front of you. Step forward, lifting your leg high enough to step through the U while pushing the noodle toward the bottom of the pool. Make sure your forward foot goes all the way down before stepping back to the starting position.
Pool Noodle Running
In waist-deep water, put the pool noodle around your back like a belt, with the U shape hugging your body. Place your hands on the front of the noodle. Start on one side of the pool and make your way to the other side, moving your legs in a running motion. The resistance of the water will make it difficult to run, which will build muscle in your legs and get your heart pumping. Turn the noodle around to the back, and you can also engage your arms.
More Pool Noodle Jogging
As an alternative to the Pool Noodle Running example shown above where you make contact with the pool floor, for water jogging, head out to deeper water. You can tie the pool noodle around your waist, or hold it in front and shown in the left side image. Using the pool noodle as a seat while kicking engages many muscle groups at the same time.
The Half-Plank pose, as I call it, is performed as though you were seated on the ground. Point the toes, and lean your head and shoulders forward, extending your arms out in front of you. Hold the pose for as long as you comfortably can, returning to a vertical position when needed. Remember to breathe deeply and often while working out, to increase oxygen uptake.
See also our other water workout gear like AquaJogger, goggles and kick boards. Sometimes some cool exercise equipment is all you need to get motivated!
InTheSwim Staff Blogger