Although a water workout can feel more like play than exercise, it is an effective way to tone the stomach muscles and burn calories. This is because water provides a resistance that forces the muscles to work harder. In fact, Fitness magazine notes that treading water alone can burn 11 calories per minute. There are several exercises that can be performed in water, many that target and strengthen the abs, which will lead to a more toned belly.
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Tone While Treading
To target the abs and tone the belly while swimming, try the “K-Tread.” While treading in deep water, cup your hands and make small circles with them to help you keep afloat. Lift your right leg up, holding it straight in front of you at hip level. Keep the toes of your left foot pointed toward the bottom of the pool. After holding this position for five seconds, quickly switch to holding your left leg up and your right leg down. Hold for five more seconds. Keep alternating legs, continuing the exercise for 30 seconds. Be sure to keep both legs straight throughout the exercise.
Trim With Leg Swings
Press your back against the side of the pool, resting your arms along the side edges. Bring your knees to your chest, then extend your legs straight out in front of you. Swing your legs out to your left, right, then back to the center of your body. Be sure to exhale as you draw your legs back to the front of your body and up to your chest. Repeat this exercise 10 times.
Strengthen With a Kickboard
A kickboard can provide the resistance needed to target your belly in the swimming pool. Stand in the water, keeping your legs apart, holding a kickboard with one hand on each end. One side of the kickboard should be facing the bottom of the pool and the other should be facing the sky. Tighten your abdominals and reach out your right arm, shifting the kickboard to the right. Keep your left elbow close to the side of your body as it continues holding the kickboard. Slowly move the kickboard to the middle of your body. Return the kickboard to the right side of your body again. Repeat the exercise about 15 times or until your arm is too tired to continue. Switch arms and continue the exercise with the left arm.
Challenge Yourself With the Otter Roll
The otter roll can be done with the help of a beach ball. Fitness Magazine suggests holding a beach ball to your chest while floating on your back. Extend your legs, keeping your feet together. Drive your shoulder and hip into the water, rolling to the left over the ball. Use all of your body, including the core muscles of your abdomen, to revolve completely around the ball. Breathe deeply and continue rolling for 30 seconds, switching directions for each roll.