If you think that bodyweight exercises don't work in the pool, I invite you to try this. While it is true that most of our body is supported in the pool, our chest, head, and neck are not. So our muscles still have to hold some of our weight. And just because most of our weight is supported, it does not mean that we can't get a great workout. On contrary, we can get a much better workout in the pool than on land. Buoyancy gives us the opportunity to control our workout intensity according to our needs and fitness levels. We can modify our movements to be more or less challenging. And we don't have to worry about hurting our knees and back.
Doing traditional squats in the pool will probably not be sufficient enough to challenge our muscles. But we can do some squat variations that will be more effective in a buoyant environment. Here are some of the best variations:
1. Single Leg Squats
Using one leg in the water is one way to increase the difficulty of the movement. By doing this we will not only place more weight on one leg, but we will also have to work harder to stabilize our body.
2. Squat Jumps
By jumping we will be adding a new element of difficulty to the exercise. We will have to do a squat, and then jump as high as we can.
3. Squat Jumps with Knee Tuck
By adding the knee tuck, we will be able to challenge our core and our lower body more than by doing only a single jump.
4. Squat Pulses
Squat pulses are like faster half squats. While there is no body-weight bearing in this version, the fast leg movements will be challenging enough to give us a great workout. With this exercise, you can actually feel the burning in your front thighs.
5. Raised Arms Squat
Raising the arms above water while doing squats will add more weight to the legs. We can raise our arms high up or simply put them behind our heads. We can also upgrade this variation by holding an object with raised arms.
6. Squat with Aqua Dumbbells
We can use the buoyancy of the water to our advantage by performing squats while holding aqua dumbbells or any other floats. The downward squat movement will happen against the float, engaging your back leg and upper arm muscles.
7. Squat on Steps
Standing on a raised surface will allow us to place more weight on our legs. The higher the step, the more body weight we will lift and the more difficult the exercise becomes.
8. Alternate Squat Kicks
A front kick after each squat will increase the range of motion of the leg movement, and thus the difficulty of the exercise. So our leg muscles will have to work harder to get the leg from the squat position into a standing front kick. Even with our weight supported, this variation will increase the heart rate and make our muscles work hard.
Below is a video demonstrating how to do squats in the pool:
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