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Sample Class: Aqua Jogging

Do your water fitness participants need a change? Mix up your normal routine with a jogging class. Take away the choreography and focus on speed or power intervals. Teach this class in a mixture of shallow and deep water. Modify as needed for participant ability or available pool depth.

To encourage people to move mindfully, emphasize the following points:

  • Maintain full range of motion in the ankles, knees and hips.
  • Keep intensity high by adding arm movements.
  • Land on the balls of the feet in shallow water and roll onto the heels, making full contact with the pool bottom.
  • When performing intervals from the rebound position, push off the pool bottom and try to elevate the midsection out of the water. Eliminate impact when in neutral.

Aqua Jogging Details

TOTAL TIME: 45–50 minutes

GOAL/EMPHASIS: cardiovascular conditioning against water resistance

EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Use a water jogger belt if in deep water. No belt is needed for shallow water; however, the belt can stay on when participants are transitioning between depths. Webbed gloves (to challenge upper-body resistance) are optional and should be put on before the warm-up.

MUSIC: Use music only for motivation. Push members to work at a moderate to high intensity without following the beat of the music. Create a playlist of high-energy songs that are suitable for your demographic.

Warm-Up (7–10 minutes)

Use the warm-up to introduce movements that will be performed later.

  • Begin in shallow water with a simple jog. Bring the knees up and swing the arms in conjunction with the legs in the sagittal plane. Cue class to move forward and backwards, practicing good posture and alignment as they move against the “currents.”
  • Jog in place with hamstring curls. Extend the arms forward at the surface, thumbs up, and sweep the arms out and in for a chest press.
  • Switch to high knees and take a wider stance (“sumo jog”). Palms face back, and arms swing side to side in the frontal plane.

Repeat, moving in a slightly larger range of motion.

Workout (30 minutes)

Set 1

  • Visualize the pool as an outdoor running track. Jog the perimeter in a forward direction, knees up, arms driving you ahead. Increase speed for 30 seconds, and then decrease speed for 30 seconds. Repeat speed intervals twice more (3 minutes).
  • Jog in place with hamstring curls and chest press arms, as in the warm-up. Increase speed for 30 seconds, and then decrease 30 seconds. Repeat speed for twice more (3 minutes).
  • Revisit the pool perimeter, and jog around the “track.” Face a single direction so that as you travel around the track, the body goes forward, backwards and side to side. Increase speed as you move forward and backwards. During lateral movements, widen stance into a sumo jog and push arms side to side, as in the warm-up (3 minutes).
  • Return to jogging in place with hamstring curls and chest press arms. Take a wider stance with the jog. In shallow water, rebound off the bottom for 30 seconds, and then return to neutral for 30 seconds. Repeat rebound intervals twice more (3 minutes).
  • Head to the perimeter of the pool, and cross-country ski around the track to relieve the knee joints. Repeat speed intervals: 30 seconds, increase; 30 seconds, decrease (3 minutes).

Set 2

  • Line up against the side of the pool. Place both feet on the wall and both hands on the edge. Lean back and push away from the wall, and then stand upright and jog toward it against the current. Move the arms in a breaststroke motion, using them to assist your forward movement while still maintaining good posture (1.5 minutes).
  • Regroup for “tire runs.” Quickly move the feet as if running through a tire course (1 minute). Move through the tire runs laterally, left and right, for 30 more seconds.

Repeat set 2.

Note: The remainder of the class takes place in the shallow end. Anyone using a water jogger belt should remove it and place it poolside. Aqua gloves may stay on.

Set 3

  • Bring the class to the shallow end and ask everyone to envision a crowded shopping center with people moving every which way. Prompt participants to walk or jog in any route they choose, as if making their way quickly through the crowd. Encourage them to make quick turns and sudden directional changes (if appropriate for their ability level) (1.5 minutes).
  • In the shallow end, line up along one side of the pool, with each participant at proper shallow depth. Sprint as quickly as possible to the other side. Walk to the first side slowly, letting the heart rate decrease. Take long strides to stretch the hip flexors. Repeat sprints for 1.5–2 minutes, depending on the pool size.
  • Pair up for a balance challenge. Partner A stands in tree pose, sculling the hands in the water to assist with balance or reaching the arms overhead for more challenge. Partner B jogs in a circle around Partner A, creating a current. Partner A must find balance against the current. Partner B occasionally switches direction (1 minute).

Repeat set 3. Partners change roles on the second set of the balance challenge.

Cool-Down and Flexibility (7–10 minutes)

Have participants walk slowly in the shallow end, staying warm but allowing heart rates to decrease. Guide static stretches for the upper body while participants are still walking. If water temperature allows, lead the class in 30-second static stretches for all lower-body muscles, paying particular attention to the calves, quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings. In cooler water, you may do dynamic stretches instead.

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