• 4 Aquatic Exercises that Get Results

    4 Aquatic Exercises that Get Results

By Amy Hilderbran, Wellness Services Manager of The Connection at Twin Towers.

Aquatic exercises are popular options for many seniors today. And that’s because there are so many benefits to it. It can help build strength, stamina, and balance for daily living and can also be used in therapy to help speed recovery after an injury or surgery.

Here are a few of my favorite aquatic exercises: 

1. Chest Fly with Paddle – works the chest and upper back

Equipment: Water resistance paddles

photo collage of woman using pool dumbells

Starting Position: Neutral stance – feet shoulder-width apart*, back straight, shoulders over hips, arms out at the sides, palms facing forward, elbows straight.

  1. On exhale, bring both arms forward so that paddles are parallel.
  2. On inhale, turn thumbs down and reach paddles behind you squeezing blades together. Be mindful to keep core tight and not to arch the lower back.

Repeat 10-15 times, exhaling with arms forward, inhaling with arms behind. 

2. Isometric/Isotonic Lateral Raises – works shoulders and laterals.
Isometric Isotonic lateral raises

Equipment: Water exercise hand buoys

Starting Position: Neutral stance the same as above. Arms out at sides, palms facing down, elbows straight, weights just below the surface of the water.

  1. On exhale, push right arm straight down to thigh while keeping left arm steady and weight below the surface of the water.
  2. On inhale, raise the right arm up and out to the side in a slow and controlled manner while keeping the weight below the surface of the water.

Repeat 10-15 times with right arm, then switch arms, never letting the weight break the surface of the water.

3. Triceps Push Down – work triceps and biceps. 

Equipment: Pool noodle

Starting Position: Neutral stance the same as above. Grip noodle with palms down and arms at shoulder-width apart. Tuck elbows close in to the body, making certain elbows are pointing directly behind you.

  1. On exhale, push noodle down to thighs, straightening elbows.
  2. On inhale, slowly bend the elbows and bring the noodle back up to starting position.

Repeat 10-15 times being certain to exhale as you push down and inhale as the noodle comes up.

4. Four-Way Hip Kick – works abductors, adductors, hip flexors, hip extensors, and gluteals.

Equipment: Aquatic ankle buoys

Four way hip kick

Starting Position: Neutral stance the same as above. Hands-on hips to help keep shoulders over hips and lower back straight. If assistance is needed to maintain balance and proper position, hold onto the side of the pool or hold hands out at sides.

Perform the following exercises 10-15 times with one leg, then repeat with other leg.


  1. On exhale, move the right leg out away from the body toes pointed forward.
  2. On inhale, bring the right leg back to the starting position.


  1. On exhale, move right leg across the front of the body squeezing the inner thigh.
  2. On inhale, bring the right leg back to the starting position.


  1. On exhale, raise right heel behind the body, keeping the knee straight, squeezing glutes.
  2. On inhale, bring the right leg back to the starting position.


  1. On exhale, raise right leg forward, toes pointed up, knee straight.
  2. On inhale, lower right leg back to starting position.

*Alternate stance: one leg forward with the knee slightly bent – this helps with balance and control and low-back support.

The water in the pool should be chest high and to work within your own range of motion. If something hurts while performing aquatic exercises, stop immediately.

Pool noodles can be purchased at most department and grocery stores.

The fitness & wellness center at Twin Towers, The Connection, is where you’ll find an expertly trained team who creates workout routines and exercises that are specifically designed for those aged 50+. The Aquatic Center includes a 75-foot heated pool, aquatic bikes, and a whirlpool.  The Connection is in Cincinnati, Ohio and open to the community and memberships are available. For more information contact us online or give us a call at 513-853-2000.

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