For a hot new summer workout, look no further than your nearest pool deck. Niche water-fitness studios (think: cycling or doing yoga while immersed in H2O) are on the rise, according to the Sports Fitness Industry Association. And they’re getting popular for good reason: You can strengthen and burn — without even breaking a sweat.
“Working out in the water is low-impact, so it doesn’t stress your joints,” says Bryan Mineo, coach and founder of the Swim Mechanic. “At the same time, the density of the water creates resistance, which helps strengthen and tone muscles.” Plus, surrounding your body with water offers a bit of natural compression, which can improve blood flow as you go.
Want to dip your toes in the trend? Keep reading for six refreshing pool workouts that appeal to every sweat style.
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6 Pool Workouts That’ll Get You Moving This Summer
1. Aqua Cycling
Bikes plopped in a pool might sound weird, but it’s actually kind of brilliant. Cycling in the water offers resistance (more the faster you pedal), so you don’t have to worry about dialing a resistance knob up and down. During rides like those at Aqua in NYC, you’ll do intervals sitting and standing. Plus, you’ll get to recline behind the bikes (an extra position that’s impossible on regular stationary bikes). Another bonus: Waving your arms back and forth in the water offers some awesome upper-body sculpting.
Try It: Aqua Studio NY
2. Aqua Zumba
What could make the upbeat music and hip-shaking dance moves of Zumba an even more fun workout? Just add water. This caliente cardio session in the pool nixes the high impact of your favorite dance moves and adds a little resistance to every step.
Try it: Zumba
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3. Mermaid Fitness
Head to the Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego to bring your Splash dreams to life. The hotel offers a class that’ll have the wannabe mermaid in you flipping. During the 45-minute session in and by the pool, you’ll do kicking drills (with your bottom half inside a colorful tail), resistance work with a foam noodle and core work, like V sits on the side of the pool.
Try it: Hotel Del Coronado
4. Aqua Yoga
A typical yoga class is already pretty low-impact, but certain poses can spell uncomfortable pressure on your palms, knees and other joints. Enter this pool-based offering at Sunwater Spa in Colorado. Taking the flow to the water challenges your stability and adds some extra toning power for your core as you move through your practice.
Try it: Sun Water Spa
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5. Holy Water
During this buzzy class at NYC’s TMPL gym, you’ll work out in the pool on a floating mat reminiscent of a paddleboard. Think of it like yoga kicked up into high gear: You’ll sculpt and stretch your entire body as you move through poses and low-intensity strength moves. The session also offers major core toning, since you have to work hard to stay balanced on the board as it shifts on the water’s surface.
Try it: TMPL Gym
LifeTime Fitness partnered with Speedo to bring the swim brand’s Speedo Fit program to gyms nationwide (it’s currently offered at 40 locations and will be at 85 by the end of the year). Warning: This is not your mother’s water aerobics. Expect a high-intensity session involving strength moves like squats and kettlebell swings in the pool. You’ll also use cool equipment, like a Speedo Push Plate and Clutch paddles, to create functional resistance exercises that work your muscles in every plane as you move through the water.
Try it: Speedo USA