You might have chosen a pool workout due to its low-impact nature or simply because it's fun. Working out in the water is beneficial to most of the muscles in your body, including your abs. Recreation centers often offer water-exercise classes for women, allowing you to combine an enjoyable workout with muscle-building benefits. If your abs are a trouble spot, incorporate moves that target that area each time you hit the pool, and you may see results before long.
A pool workout typically requires very little equipment. The resistance of the water engages your muscles, including your abs, but some moves might be more effective with the use of fins or a kickboard. To get the most out of your pool time, wear a snug-fitting suit that allows free range of motion. If your suit is too tight or too loose, you may not achieve proper form while performing your ab moves, which decreases the benefits.
Women who prefer a light-impact workout can still see results in their midsection by exercising in the pool. Pushing against the resistance provided by the water makes your stomach muscles work harder, which may mean you'll see results sooner than you expect. In addition, you might be able to perform exercises that you can't do on land because the water makes your body buoyant and lightweight. One of the major benefits of aquatic exercise is that it provides a non-impact workout, which means it does not place stress on bones or joints. One of the other perks of working out in the water is that you'll burn calories, which helps you lose excess weight in your stomach, at the same time that you are toning and defining your ab muscles.
Lap swimming is effective for burning excess fat, but it won't have much impact in terms of toning your abdominal muscles. Add moves that target the area to help slim down. The otter roll (rolling over in the water while holding a ball), k-tread (lifting one straightened leg at a time to a horizontal position while treading water with your hands), pike scull (lifting both legs simultaneously under water like a jackknife), and kickboard swings are effective options. Each is easy to perform, and none requires much pool space. If you are unfamiliar with specific moves for your abs, take a class or hire a trainer to teach you proper technique.
MayoClinic.com recommends performing two or three 20- to 30-minute strength-training sessions each week. This holds true whether you strength-train on land or in the water. If you're a beginner, aim to do one set of 12 repetitions of each of your aquatic abdominal moves and add sets as you gain strength and endurance. Include ab moves with those that target other major muscle groups, because that helps create a proportional body shape and minimizes the risk of injuries caused by muscle imbalance.
- MayoClinic.com: Aquatic Exercise How To's
- Fitness: Slim Down in a Splash: Pool Workout
- American Council on Exercise: Make a Splash With Water Fitness
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Health Benefits of Water-Based Exercise
- MayoClinic.com: Strength Training: Get Stronger, Leaner, Healthier
Eliza Martinez has written for print and online publications. She covers a variety of topics, including parenting, nutrition, mental health, gardening, food and crafts. Martinez holds a master's degree in psychology.