Have you noticed? Boot Camp seems to be the new “IT” in fitness! What is popular on land eventually moves to the pool, so yes boot camp classes in the water! The Aquatic Department within AFF has always done our best in keeping up with the modern trends with our program for our water fitness participants. We do this by bringing in various types of equipment, various class types, and national certified instructors. Hence, the addition of Aqua Boot Camp is just one more thing to keep us on track with what the demand is today. AFF has always included high intensity aerobic classes on our schedules but we felt that in order to give the best overall diverse programing we needed to keep up with the new “IT”. If you don’t think you can get the same benefit in the water as you would on land, you are sadly mistaken! First, I’ll explain what an Aqua Boot Camp class might consist of, and then second explain the benefits of water.
Boot camp programming is really just a sub category of circuit and interval formatting. Everyone teaches it differently. The one common objective is to offer programming that is more athletic and challenging.”1 Most of our classes are performed in shallow water, therefore making it much easier to format these classes utilizing circuits and intervals. A true circuit class will consist of aerobic choreography with insertions of stations transitioning from one piece of aquatic equipment to the next. Some may decide to utilize the use of your own body (arms and legs) to create resistance and intensity. Interval training involves bursts of high intensity work interspersed with periods of low intensity work. You will find that each instructor may use a different interval ratio. In water, the ratio is best at 1:1, one minute high intensity and one minute aerobic recovery. The high intensity portion of the ratio may incorporate plyometrics, suspension, water running, sports drills, and unilateral leg work; just to name a few. For recovery we use basic water moves such as a modified jumping jack, cross country skis, jogging, suspended tucks, rocking horse, etc. All classes typically end with at least 8 to 10 minutes of a cool down series which includes stretching.
Water exercise provides an ideal and safe form of workout for just about everyone. By exercising in water, you increase your body’s use of oxygen which increases the blood supply to your muscles. Heart rate and blood pressure are lowered with increased metabolic rate and improved circulation. The water improves your cardio-respiratory training and burns more stored nutrients (calories) by producing more energy for movement. Exercising at similar intensity will use same calories as on land, but will burn twice as many calories from fat stores (30 minutes of water walking equals 2 hours of treadmill walking). Water offers 12 times the resistance of air (no movement); and up to 600 times the resistance of air medium, thus increasing overall body strength. This resistance is applied equally over a greater joint angle which reduces stress on muscles, bones, tendons, and ligaments. Also the buoyancy of the water combined with the gravitational pull helps decrease joint compression. This equally applied resistance and buoyancy combined with gravitational pull is the very reason some people who can’t exercise comfortably on land find that they can exercise in water. Water acts as a support and stretches you without being a weight-bearer or using any other resistance against you, which improves your flexibility safely.
I know that water fitness classes do not appeal to everyone, just like land classes do not appeal to everyone. However, before you shrug it off, I challenge you to take at least one water fitness class within the next month. We offer several different class types at our seven locations containing pools. There has to be one out there that has some appeal to you. If the name Boot Camp is a bit frightening but still want to get a great workout, try Aqua Energy or Power Hour. If you don’t think water can provide you with the intensity that you desire, come find one of our Aquatic Boot Camp classes! I dare you!
If you had never taken a water fitness class before and do try one, please shoot me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and let me know what you thought. I would love to hear about your experience.
Director of Aquatic Training & Education