Ultimate Underwater Workout

Written by Charlotte Campbell

Ultimate Underwater Workout

Pools are a fantastic asset to any workout routine. You may just use your gym’s pool as a treat after you’ve worked out. Or, you might hit the water for some cardio. But why not incorporate some new moves to create a full underwater workout?


Working out underwater can be a great way to give your joints a break while still getting in your dose of exercise. Your body does not experience the pressure of its own weight as it does on land. So, it doesn’t create the same level of stress as it hits the ground.


It can also be a refreshing way to exercise, especially as you do not feel that normal mid workout sweatiness! Although a key note with this point is you should still make a point of rehydrating at regular intervals. Your body still needs it even when you are surrounded by water.


Another key point to remember is that you must warm up. This is important even if the pool is warm. Stretches should be done outside of the pool (especially if the water is colder than room temperature). Light cardio warm ups should be done in the water, like a gentle jog on the spot or leisurely couple of laps of breaststroke.


Exercises To Include


Your body will experience around 75% more resistance in the water than in the air. Use this to maximise your results.

Mini Jumping Jacks


Complete as you would a normal jumping jack. Make sure your arms only go as high as just before the water level, so you are always experiencing the resistance. Keep your palms flat and fingers together to maximise resistance. Try out 3 sets of 10.



Instead of swimming your usual laps, try running them. You should aim for around a quarter of your usual laps to account for the increased resistance. If you do not have a “usual” swimming amount, aim to do 6 laps of a large pool.



Use a waterproof watch or the clock on the pool wall to time boxing rounds. Try 3 rounds of 1 minute. You may want to focus on uppercuts and jabs depending on how shallow the pool is. Again, you should keep your arms entirely submerged to get the added resistance.

or Boxing, Taekwondo & Mixed Martial Arts

Heel To Bum Kicks


Have a practice round of 10 reps with your hands balancing you on the side of the pool. Then try a further 2 sets without a steady to really challenge your balance (and consequently, your core). You may find circling your hands steadily helps you keep upright.



From a standing position, lift one leg straight out as high as you can. Hold that position, engaging your core and glutes to keep your leg straight. Then bring it down and kick up your other leg in the same way. Again, the circling hands can be very useful to complete this exercise. Try 2 sets of 20 seconds worth of kicks.


Remember, the faster and harder you work at these resistance exercises, the tougher the challenge will be. So as always, maximum effort gleans maximum results! If you’re finding those exercises too easy, underwater body weights are also available to push your resistance to the limit.


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Faye Reid

Faye Reid

Writer and expert

Faye Reid has a Bachelor of Science in Sport and Exercise Physiology and a Master of Science in Exercise Physiology and Sports Nutrition. Faye has worked with numerous high-profile organisations, such as Men's Health, Sky Sports, Huddersfield Giants, Warrington Wolves, British Dressage and GB Rowing, providing her expert sports science support. Find out more about Faye's experience here: She puts her passion into practice as goal attack for her netball team, and in competitive event riding.

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