Aqua Pilates is a water-based exercise that is slowly gaining popularity. It is like traditional Pilates, especially in terms of the equipment and accessories that are used. The main and most obvious difference, however, is that it is done in the water, often a swimming pool.
Aqua Pilates and Aqua Yoga are excellent ways to make swimming more fun. Whether you are working on your stability or core strength, among others, these exercises can be beneficial in more ways than one.
Want to know more about water Pilates? Keep on reading and we’ll talk about its benefits, as well as some of the techniques that will allow you to do it like a pro.
First, What is Pilates?
To start with, let’s quickly look at what exactly Pilates is so that you will have an easier understanding of the practice applied in water.
Pilates is a low-impact exercise that aims to strengthen the core. It includes slow and precise movements, including breathing control. The benefits include improving flexibility, mobility, and posture.
The mind-body connection is also a focus in Pilates. Your mind needs constant awareness of the proper breathing techniques. It also helps in the proper activation of the muscles that you will use during the exercise.
Pilates was developed by a German gymnast. Initially, the goal is to help injured dancers and soldiers to recover. Through the years, it evolved into a bigger discipline with several variations, including water Pilates.
The Importance of Breathing
Just like knowing how to breathe while swimming, proper breathing technique is equally crucial when you are doing aqua Pilates. As mentioned above, you need to be constantly aware of how to do this.
Increasing your oxygen intake is the main goal. Allow this oxygen to flow through the body and blood. The diaphragm and the oblique muscles will be involved. You have to exert more effort because it is more challenging to breathe when you are in the water.
For proper breathing techniques, start by inhaling through your nose. This will direct your breath to the side of your ribs. In turn, your ribs will expand laterally. Then, exhale through the mouth, which will close your ribcage.
Learn How to Concentrate
One of the most important elements in Pilates, whether on land or water, is concentration. You need to dedicate your full attention to the exercise. Let go of negative thoughts or anything else that occupies your mind. Focus on the activity and you will yield maximum benefits from each movement. Not to mention, you can easily practice the right breathing techniques.
Concentration is all about being aware of everything that you do. This allows you to be more cautious of every movement, especially the way you are breathing. It also gives you better control of your body.
Control goes hand in hand with concentration. By being in control, you must be able to do everything with extreme precision. This is where quality becomes more important than quantity. You should not mind doing only a few exercises if you are doing it right than doing a lot but doing it wrong.
Dress for the Occasion
Comfort is the primary consideration when it comes to the appropriate way to dress for aqua Pilates. Find something that you are most comfortable with, which will allow you to move easily without being too conscious.
Wear pool or water shoes. They will help you to walk on the surface of the swimming pool and will prevent friction from hurting your feet.
For girls, a one-piece bikini or lap swimming suits are best. For boys, swimming trunks are recommended. Pay attention to the fit since Pilates will require a lot of movement.
Don’t forget your swimming caps. They will keep your hair out of your face when you are working out.
In some exercises, you will need to go under the water. Hence, you will also need the best swimming goggles so that you can open your eyes comfortably. However, most of the movements are done with water only chest-deep.
Invest in Accessories
If you are interested in trying out aqua Pilates, it is also crucial to have the right accessories. They will help you to do the right techniques and yield the right outcomes.
Among others, pool noodles are among the most popular accessories you will need. They will help you to float. Water barbells, on the other hand, will help in making your routines more challenging. Rings, foam rollers, and other usual accessories in regular Pilates can also be useful in the water.
Common Aqua Pilates Techniques
Now, let us talk about the most common techniques that you will practice in water Pilates. Most of these are easy. No need to be an expert to do it right.
1. The Washing Machine
As you hold a water weight in one hand, raise your arms forward with the palm facing down. Engage your abdominal muscles, spread your legs, and bend your knees slightly. Inhale as you straighten your knee and rotate your hips. Exhale and go back to your original position where you have your knees slightly bent.
For this aqua Pilates exercise, you will use a pool noodle and shape it into a letter C. Put it on your back and it will act as your support. Keep your body straight and pull one leg toward you then exhale. Switch your legs and inhale while you are doing this. These actions should make you look like you are pedaling a bike. Since this is aqua Pilates, keep your movements small and slow.
With a kickboard at the bottom of the swimming pool, stand on the top. Do this at the shallow end of the pool and keep your feet hip-width apart. Spread your arms on the side to help you maintain your balance. Squat until you feel your knees close to the floor of the swimming pool. Hold the squat position for half a minute, stand, and repeat.
This is a modified exercise but essentially performed the same way in aqua Pilates as you would do it on land. Stand straight on the pool while keeping your feet hip-width apart. On both hands, hold a pool noodle or any other flotation device. Push the floating object in front of you while keeping your arms straight. Move your feet at your back as far as possible while keeping them flat. Maintain this position for up to 30 seconds.
Traditionally, this is done on an exercise mat. With water Pilates, you need to improvise. This is not meant to be done on the top of a floating water mat. You can do it while standing up on the pool’s floor. Stand straight with your feet hip-width apart. Raise one arm above your head while aligning the elbow to your ear. To help you become stable, hold a pool noodle in one hand. Push it against the water while keeping your arm straight. Lean and stretch your arm on the other side. Repeat with the other arm.
Globo Surf Overview
Aqua Pilates is a low-impact exercise that focuses on improving the strength of your core. It is beneficial in improving flexibility, mobility, and posture, similar to the benefits of water aerobics. Even for those who have joint problems, this is an excellent workout routine since it is not as strenuous as other water-based physical activities.
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- Aqua Pilates, AZCentral.com