Sometimes you need to take a break from regular gym equipment and use some other form of resistance. While water makes you more buoyant, it provides constant resistance against your limbs, making it an ideal environment for switching up your workouts. You can even work the biggest muscle in your body, the gluteus maximus, in the pool.
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You can recreate a lot of cable resistance exercises in the pool because of the way the water resists you. No matter what direction you move, it's always pushing against you as opposed to gravity, which is always pulling you down.
The pool also makes jumping exercises, such as the jump squat, easier on your joints. When you land, there's very little impact on your knees and back. When you jump up the water gives you some extra resistance, so your glutes have to work a little harder than with a normal jump.
Read More: Deep Water Aerobic Routines
Use a backward kicking motion to fire up your gluteus maximus.
How-To: Stand a few feet in front of the wall of the pool, facing away from it. Lean back and reach your arms overhead, grabbing the side of the pool. At this point, you're floating on your back with your legs near the surface of the water.
Let your hips drop and kick your right leg down towards the bottom of the pool with your knee mostly straight. Then, raise it back up while you kick your left leg down. Repeat for 30 seconds.
Scissor kicks are used in a few swimming strokes, but they work well on their own to work your glutes.
How-To: Grab a kickboard and hold it with one hand. Kick off the back wall of the pool and float on your side, reaching the arm with the kickboard in front of you. Propel yourself forward by scissor kicking your legs with your knees straight. Go all the way down to the other side of the pool then come back on your other side.
Body-weight squats work your glutes when you're on dry land, but there isn't enough resistance when you're in a pool. That's why you have to make them more intense by jumping. The water absorbs most of the impact from the jump, which means these are very joint-friendly.
How-To: Stand in the pool with your feet shoulder-width apart. The water should be between waist and chest height. Squat down as low as you can without putting your head underwater. Then, jump up as high as you can and land back in the pool. Land in a squat and jump again, repeating continuously for 30 seconds.
Use the smooth resistance of the water to mimic a cable machine kickback to work your gluteus maximus.
How-To: Stand facing the wall of the pool and hold onto it with both hands. Stand on one leg with the facing the bottom of the pool with the knee straight. Kick it straight back as far as you can with the knee straight. Imagine that you're leading with the heel, trying to get it up out of the water. Squeeze your glute as you kick back. Do 10 reps on each leg.
Abduction and Adduction
Work the outside of your glute muscles, the gluteus medius and minimus, by mimicking this popular cable exercise.
How-To: Stand facing the wall and put your hands against it, bracing yourself. Put your feet together with both knees straight. Kick your right leg out to the right as far as you can, keeping your foot pointed forward. Pull it back in, then kick it out again 10 times on each leg.
Work your glutes with this explosive movement that goes side-to-side, working all three glute muscles.
How-To: Stand in the pool with a few feet clear on either side of you. The water should be around stomach-height. Stand on your left leg and push off of it to jump to the right. Land on your right leg, get your balance, then jump back onto the left leg. Alternate legs 10 times on each side.
Read More: Pros & Cons of Water Aerobics
Split Squat Jump
In a lunge, the glute of your lead leg works hard to bring you up from the bottom position. The same thing happens in this exercise, but you're going to be moving faster and more powerfully than in a typical lunge.
How-To: Stand in the pool with the water around waist height. Put one leg forward and one back with the front knee bent at 90 degrees and the back knee close to touching the ground. Push up off of both legs and jump into the air.
While in the air, switch legs so that when you land the opposite leg is forward and you're once again in the bottom of a lunge position. Keep jumping and switching for 30 seconds.