Many trainers and fitness coaches ask if it is actually effective to do abdominal exercises in the water. The idea seems sound, but whenever people who do not understand the principles of water aerobics try it, they tend to find themselves getting frustrated. This is due to the rules of gravity and fluid dynamics affect us differently underwater, and we have to adjust abdominal exercises in the water.
The most important thing to remember when performing and teaching abdominal exercises in the water is that you need to keep the core muscles stabilized and centered. Once you have a firm center of gravity that you can rely on without drifting, virtually any movement in any direction will use those core muscles to their maximum potential. It is when the core loses center that we tend to drift off, lose our balance or stop feeling the burn. It is a good idea to use as shallow water as you can when first beginning, as this makes it easier without reducing the effectiveness of your workout.
There are many ways to perform abdominal water exercises without the use of expensive equipment, but many trainers tend to prefer equipment as it allows for greater core stability. One popular item is the "running belt" which is basically a padded belt, fastened to one side of the pool. This allows you to jog on the spot or attempt to swim against your own strength and the resistance of the water. These ideas are all well and good, but essentially they are very much on strain and it is easy for the body to fall into an unnatural position while exercising. This, as we know, can often do far more harm than good.
When doing abdominal exercises in the water, almost any slow, rhythmic movement that involves a bit of traveling will build muscle and burn fat in the core muscle areas. Pelvic twists are one of the most effective methods of building your sides. Stand with your knees slightly bent and your feet apart. Extend your arms and swivel your body, allowing your arms to create resistance. After a few reps you should begin to feel a deep burn in your sides and lower abdominals. This kind of movement – which would never be effective as anything more than a gentle stretch on land – becomes a powerful abdominal building exercise in the water.
When designing abdominal exercises in the water, almost anything you can think of is doing its job. The water decreases impact and strain by huge margins, allowing you to exercise safely and at your own pace. Running on the spot, running through the water and treading water using only your legs are also all good ways of building the abdominal muscles. All of these methods are low impact, and require no special equipment. You can start building your body and burning fat right away just by jumping in the pool!
If you are a senior citizen, you were once an athlete …