SMC Information Series – Great Exercises to do In a Pool


Great Exercises to do In a Pool

One of the best things about working out in a pool is the deceptive ease of movement. Since the water effectively reduces your weight, exercises done in a pool can feel less strenuous; but make no mistake – your muscles are getting the full benefit of the exertion. If you doubt this, take a look at Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps – he eats 12,000 calories per day and yet pool work keeps him lean and strong.

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Water: Nature’s Strength-Trainer

Of course, you’re probably not an Olympic-level athlete, and so the workouts you’ll be doing won’t quite be on Phelps’ level. However, you can most certainly use the many advantages water has for both muscle-toning, strength-building and enhancing your cardiovascular strength. Water offers a natural resistance, without the joint stress of weight-lifting. It’s practically impossible to injure yourself when shoulder-deep in a pool and jogging. In fact, it’s a good idea to run flat on your feet and not on your toes, because the all-encompassing, smooth resistance of water can be deceptive; you may find yourself unable to walk without extreme calf-soreness the next day if you don’t jog to moderation your first time.

Benefits of Running in a Pool

Running in water will build your endurance up to levels you didn’t think they could reach – all without stressing your knee joints or adversely-affecting the tender joints in your ankles. A single day of moderate running around the pool for 20 minutes will have an effect comparable to at least an hour of open-air running – without any joint pain. Additionally, your lung capacity will increase.

Body Workout Exercises

The natural resistance of water easily lends itself to toning and strengthening exercises. An inevitable consequence of these strength-training workouts is that you also burn fat, because of the continuous exertion. Even in-between sets, your body doesn’t get a total break because the water’s resistance is always in effect.

Strengthening the Arms

The biggest muscles on your arm are your triceps, and you can get them stronger by simply extending your arms straight out in front of you, palms flat, and pushing down on the water’s surface. Once you reach your hips, rinse and repeat for three sets of 15-20. To work out your smaller biceps, just perform the reverse motion: start with your arms straight at your side underwater. Raise them up with the palms facing the sky until they are out of the water and parallel to your shoulders. Perform this for at least three sets of 15-20 reps.

Strengthening Your Back

This workout also works the shoulders: underwater pull-ups. Using the edge of the pool to hold onto, lower yourself into the water and use your arms to pull yourself back up. Find a number that’s comfortable for you and do 3-4 sets of this number of water-aided pull-ups.

Strengthening Your Legs

In water, you can even jog in place to get a better workout than on any treadmill. Once you graduate from that, running around on your tiptoes will really get a burn going in your calves and develop great strength in them. For your gluteus maximus and hamstrings, underwater body-squats are highly-effective – and remember, they almost certainly won’t hurt your knees. A more fun exercise is also very effective for developing strength in the lower extremities – the kickboard. Borrow one of these flotation devices and hold onto it while kicking in a scissoring motion.


Saw Mill Club offers a vast array of water exercise classes that will provide non weight bearing, cardio and strength conditioning.

We have:

  • Deep Water Workouts
  • Aqua Zumba
  • Aqua size classes
  • Strength and conditioning classes
  • Touch of water yoga.

For more information, please contact Aquatics Director Tammy Neubauer:

Phone: (914) 241-2032


Visit our website for our full schedule of water classes


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