Aquatic fitness has developed an unfair reputation over the years as being only for the elderly or people that are recovering from major injuries. The truth is that aqua fitness workouts can be tailored to people of all fitness levels and can challenge even the fittest people in the world.
To get the most out of your aquatic workouts though it is essential to have the right pool for the job. How can you tell a good fitness pool from a bad fitness pool? Start with the essentials.
FITNESS POOL ESSENTIALS
There are a few basic things that every fitness pool needs. These are:
- The Right Water Depth. Water depth is crucial to providing the right amount of resistance to your workout. If the water is too deep, you won’t be able to stand in place do your workouts. Too shallow and you won’t have the resistance you’ll need to get a good workout. You will also have to kneel down or sit to properly work your chest and arms.
- Steps. Built in stairs are essential to get a good leg workout.
- A Swim Current. Swimming is an amazing full body cardio workout. Built in swim current systems allow you to control your swimming speed and eliminates the need to slow down and change direction every few seconds. For more advanced fitness enthusiasts the current can also be used to add extra resistance to other aquatic workouts.
- A Non-Slip Surface. If the bottom of the pool is slippery, it can be tough to do basic aqua fitness workouts such as running in place.
WHICH TYPE OF POOL IS BEST FOR FITNESS?
There are 3 main classes of pool; in-ground, above ground and swim spas. Which is the best pool for fitness? Let’s examine all 3 to find out!
Depending on their size and shape, in-ground pools can be used to get a decent workout by swimming laps. Most also have built-in steps in their shallow end that can be used for step ups and other aquatic leg workouts. The main issue with in-ground pools is the depth of the water. The typical shallow end of an in-ground pool is only 3 feet deep; far too shallow to get an effective workout. Once you get out of the shallow end, most will then transition to either a 6 foot or 8 foot depth; far too deep to stand and do your workout routine.
In-ground pools also lack built-in swim current systems. While you can add one on to most in-ground pools, the cost can be quite high ($10,000-$15,000 or more in some cases) and you still won’t have the right depth of water for a proper full body workout.
If you’re building an in-ground pool with fitness in mind, we recommend going with a rectangular “sport bottom” pool. These pools have a relatively even depth which is slightly deeper in the middle than it is on both sides. This will give you a much better water depth for fitness versus the standard 3′ shallow end and 8′ deep end of standard in-ground pools.
Above Ground Pools
On the surface, above ground pools make for decent fitness pools. Standard above ground pools have the right water depth of around 4′. Drop in steps can also be purchased relatively inexpensively. If they’re large enough you can also swim laps without stopping and changing direction too often.
Above ground pools fail in a couple of key ways however. The first is their lack of a swimming current. Without a swim current people looking for a mid-level to advanced workout will not be able to get the resistance they need. Like in-ground pools though, expensive after market swim current systems can be purchased that drop into above ground pools.
The other problem that above ground pools have is their sand bottoms. Unlike, in-ground pools that have a concrete bottom, above ground pools sit their liners right on the ground – usually with a layer of sand overtop to help smooth it out. This sand can easily be displaced by the “running in place” style workouts that are common in aquatic cross training. This causes the pool floor to develop divots that grow and grow until the pool needs to be emptied to smooth out the sand underneath the pool.
Both above ground and in-ground pools also have a couple of other issues. Firstly, their liners can be slippery. This can make some workouts difficult to do. They also lack fitness accessories and add-ons like rowing kits and anchors for aqua fitness resistance bands.
For fitness enthusiasts there is no substitute for swim spas. All season pools are the ultimate fitness pool because they have the right depth of water, built-in steps and a built in swim current system.
Some swim spas – like the Executive Trainer line of swim spas from Hydropool – are purpose built for fitness. Executive Trainer swim spas include the industry exclusive V-Twin swim current system; one of the fastest and smoothest swim current systems in the world. They also have a built-in fitness mat in the floor so that your feet don’t slip as you workout.
Executive Trainer’s also have steps moulded into both sides of the swim spa, as well as a built-in fitness bar and swimming resistance band. For those looking for an aquatic cross training workout, you can purchase additional options like the Aqua Fitness Package, a Rowing Kit and the Swim Spa WaterWatch.
The WaterWatch connects to your phone via Bluetooth; sending data such as distance covered, calories burned and time to an app. This data is then stored in reports that allow you to easily see how you’re progressing over time. It can also be used to keep yourself within your target heart rate by vibrating every time you fall outside of your target range; letting you know that you have to speed up or slow down.
OTHER ADVANTAGES OF SWIM SPAS
Swim spas have a few other advantages that make them the best fitness pools in the world. These are:
Swim spas offer both heated water and massage seats. Both heat and massage stimulate blood flow which has been proven to increase recovery time and speed healing. Sitting in one of their built in therapy chairs for 15 minutes after your workout can reduce post-workout muscle soreness and tightness.
Ease Of Maintenance
Due to their small size and acrylic finish, swim spas are also much easier to maintain than traditional above ground and in-ground pools. Hydropool’s exclusive Self-Cleaning filtration system takes this one step further.
This super efficient filtration system ensures that all of the water in the swim spa is filtered in 40 minutes of less. This means that Hydropool’s Executive Trainer swim spas can keep their water clean, clear and ready to use with only minutes of maintenance per week.
Swim spas are also much more efficient than above ground or in-ground pools. Hydropool’s Hydrowise insulation system is so efficient that the entire swim spa is able to run and remain heated for a fraction of the cost of running a traditional pool pump.
Hydrowise insulation also allows Executive Trainer swim spas to run year round, even in the dead of winter. This means that you can continue your workout routine, regardless of the weather outside!
Aquatic fitness is great for people of all fitness levels. It goes much beyond light cardio; offering amazing full body aquatic cross training workouts that can challenge even the fittest people. If you’re looking to buy a new fitness pool, Hydropool’s Executive AquaTrainer line of all season pools are the ideal solution. Not only do they provide a ton of great fitness options, they’re also extremely energy efficient, easy to maintain, and can be used year round!
For more info on how you can turn your Hydropool into an aquatic gym, check out our YouTube channel for workout videos designed by olympic triathlete Jodie Becker. Jodie has created a series of workout videos, from beginner to advanced, that are designed to give you an amazing full body workout, regardless of your fitness level.