Effective Pool Exercises to Improve Endurance

Swimming, as we all know, is one of the best workouts. It is one of the most potent cardiovascular exercises that give our hearts a good pump, thus increasing their oxygen pumping capacity. It also works up every muscle in the body, which any other sport or exercise rarely does. Given the unparalleled benefits of swimming, it is only natural that sports coaches and health experts across the globe encourage individuals of all ages to incorporate pool exercises into their workout regime. The biggest plus of pool exercises is that the buoyant forces of water help naturally assist and resist your motions. This natural resistance makes our muscles work harder to perform the same movements. Moreover, given that most pool exercises range from low to moderate difficulty levels, it is safe to practice for most individuals.

However, like any other exercise, one must take certain precautions before practising pool exercises. Also, this is especially true for individuals with pre-existing health conditions and elderly individuals. Therefore, they must consult their doctors or physical therapists before taking up pool exercises and do these exercises only under the supervision of the lifeguards.

The HealthifyMe Note

Pool exercises are practical yet fun to work up your muscles and increase your endurance. You get to enjoy some pool time while also getting a good workout. Pool exercises and regular swimming can help you lose extra kilos. However, one usually feels very hungry after a session of swimming. Therefore, you must hydrate yourself sufficiently. We suggest having a hydrating drink like water or coconut water along with two egg whites or some tofu to satiate yourself.

Top Endurance Building Pool Exercises

Everyone knows swimming is one of the best exercises to incorporate into one’s workout routine to promote and ensure a healthy and happy life. Swimming is one of the only sports that works up all body muscles. It also provides incomparable health benefits as a cardio-intensive exercise. A pool workout is for you if you have extra kilos to shed but don’t feel motivated to hit the gym. It is fun, easy on your joints and intense.

From our lungs to our heart, it boosts the functioning of all our internal organs. Swimming uses only your body’s physical force and the pool’s buoyant forces, which provide excellent resistance while training. It is also suitable for individuals who are very overweight and have a hard time with movement. The buoyancy makes moving easy on their joints and other body parts.

Water Walking/Jogging

Water walking and jogging are great ways to get comfortable with pool exercises and can be used both as a warm-up or as a full-fledged workout set. It increases your heart rate, making it a good form of cardio, and it also helps strengthen one’s core and calf muscles. Doctors recommend it for elders, people with joint issues and also people who are very overweight.

  • Difficulty Level: Low
  • Muscles Engaged: Core muscles, especially upper abdominal muscles, hamstrings and calves

Steps to Follow

  • Get into the pool’s shallow end, where the water is chest high.
  • Start slowly to build momentum first. Take around 10- 20 steps forward and then backwards.
  • Gradually increase your speed to make it more challenging, so the water creates more resistance.
  • Once you have set the momentum, start alternating between walking and jogging for 30 seconds each.
  • Keep this up for 5 minutes, and do not forget to engage your core muscles.
  • Keep your body upright and do not slouch or bend your back. Instead, take long but firm steps.

One Leg Balancing

Water being buoyant provides the perfect space to improve one’s balance and mind-body coordination. For example, one-leg balance helps individuals to balance their body weight evenly across each foot. Not only does this help in strengthening most of the leg muscles, but it also helps get all the muscles in sync.

  • Difficulty Level: Low
  • Muscles Engaged: Gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, hamstrings and calves
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Steps to Follow

  • Get into the pool’s shallow end and stand straight without the support of the pool edges.
  • Slowly bend and raise one knee to the hip level and rotate your ankle in slow circular motions, clockwise and anticlockwise, for 10 seconds each.
  • Repeat the previous step for the other leg, and continue alternating between your left and the right leg for 5 minutes.
  • Elderly individuals and individuals who have trouble balancing can start by holding onto the pool railings for support till they get comfortable with the balancing motions.

Pool Flutter Kicks

Pool flutter kicks vary from your regular ones at home or the gym. The only difference here is that one will feel an increased resistance due to the buoyant property of water. Also, like water jogging/walking, pool flutter kicks boost one’s heart rate.

  • Difficulty Level: Medium
  • Muscles Engaged: Core muscles- significantly lower abdominal muscles, gluteus medius, hamstrings and calves

Steps to Follow

  • You can do this exercise in pools of any depth. However, individuals who are beginners at swimming or do not know how to swim must stay in the shallow end only.
  • Use a kickboard float so only its tip is out of the water.
  • Place your hands flat on the kickboard and extend your body in a way which is parallel to the pool floor.
  • Now slowly begin to kick your legs. 
  • Your arms must be straight and stretched in front of you on the board.
  • Continue this process for one or two pool laps.
  • If one is uncomfortable with using kickboard floats, practising flutter kicks by taking support of the pool railing or the pool edge is recommended.

Remember not to rush through the exercise but focus on form and engaging your core muscles.

Pool Push-Ups

Pool push-ups are similar to regular on-land push-ups. However, in the case of pool push-ups, your muscles are assisted by the buoyant forces of water, making it much easier to do. These are great for people on the heavier end of the scale, as regular push-ups can be tough to perform. In addition, the pool push-ups give an excellent burn to one’s biceps, triceps, and lateral muscles hence being a great exercise to build strength and endurance. 

  • Difficulty Level: Low-Medium 
  • Muscles Engaged: Core muscles, both the upper and lower abdominal muscles, biceps, triceps, lats and calves

Steps to Follow

  • Get into the shallow end of the pool such that the water comes up to your chest.
  • Stand straight in the pool at about an arm’s length from the pool railing or pool’s edges with your hands stretched out at a shoulder’s width.
  • Position your foot firmly on the pool floor and ensure your body is straight. Ensure you engage your core. 
  • Slowly lower and press your body downwards, spreading your weight evenly across both hands and then slowly come back up. Ensure your back does not bend or arch while following the steps.
  • Repeat this 10 to 15 times for three sets. Again, start slow if you are a novice at doing push-ups.

Pool Jumping Jacks

Pool jumping jacks stimulate your heart, giving you a good cardio workout. Jumping jacks are low-intensity in nature and can be used as a warm-up or as a  proper workout set. The water adds to the resistance felt during the body’s natural swaying motions, hence working the muscles more effectively. Jumping jacks can be hard on the knees due to the jumping. However, the pool variation makes it easier for everyone to try.

  • Difficulty Level: Low 
  • Muscles Engaged: Core muscles- especially the lower abdominal muscles, hamstrings, and calves
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Steps to Follow

  • Stand in the pool’s shallow end with your feet spread shoulder-width apart. Your arms should be at your sides.
  • As you jump up, spread your feet out sideways and raise your arms above your head in a clapping motion.
  • Similarly, jump again, bring your feet back close together, and get your arms down back to your sides.
  • Repeat these jumping jacks 15 to 20 times for 2 to 3 sets depending on your strength and comfort level.

Pool Planking

Pool planking is one of the best ways to strengthen one’s core muscles and increase endurance. Pool planks are very similar to regular planks, just that in pool planks, you need to keep the elbows straight instead of bent.

  • Difficulty Level: Medium
  • Muscles Engaged: Core muscles- upper and lower abdominal muscles, triceps, and hamstrings.

Steps to Follow

  • You will need to use a pool noodle float for this exercise. Take the noodle and go over to the shallow end of the pool.
  • Hold the noodle with both hands shoulder-width apart, so it is parallel to the pool’s bottom surface.
  • Engage your core and lean forward into the pool to force the noodle to submerge in the pool while you end up in a plank position. 
  • Ensure that your elbows are straight and firmly position your toes on the pool floor.
  • Hold the plank position for about 20 to 30 seconds or as long as you are comfortable.
  • Repeat the same steps 5 to 10 times to get maximum benefits.

Bicycling Pedals

Pool bicycling pedals are one of the best pool exercises to increase your heart rate and strengthen your glutes and leg muscles. Not only does this provide an effortless way to improve endurance, but it also promotes good heart health. In addition, the water provides added resistance to our legs’ bicycle-like movements, making for a more effective workout. It is also suitable for knee issues, as the water reduces the pressure on the joints. 

  • Difficulty Level: Low-Medium
  • Muscles Engaged: Core muscles, especially lower abdominal muscles, calves, hamstrings, gluteus medius

Steps to Follow

  • For this exercise, one will have to go over to the deep end of the pool. Make sure that you take all the necessary safety precautions before you do so, especially for individuals who are beginners.
  • Take one or two pool noodle floats and loop them around the back of your body to help keep you afloat without having to take support from the pool edge.
  • Place your arms on the noodle float and start pedalling your legs like you would while cycling on the ground.
  • Continue this process for about 5 minutes to get the best muscle workout.

Hip Kicks

Hip kicks are one of the best pool exercises to increase leg strength. Aided by the resistance of the water, hip kicks provide an excellent burn to one’s hamstrings and quadriceps. It also helps the body gain momentum while performing other exercises and movements on land. 

  • Difficulty Level: Low-Medium
  • Muscles Engaged: Core muscles- especially upper abdominal muscles, quadriceps, calves, hamstrings, gluteus medius, gluteus maximus
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Steps to Follow

  • For this exercise, get into the shallow end of the pool, where the water comes up to your chest. 
  • Stand straight in the pool, away from edges or railings. If the pool is small, you can stand against one of the edges and feet facing the open area.
  • Keep your knee straight and push one of your legs forward in a kicking motion.
  • Move the same leg down to the original position on the pool floor.
  • Using the same leg, stretch it back slightly and draw a circle with your toes on the pool floor.
  • Repeat the kick forward plus kick back exercise 5 to 10 times with each leg. Try to do a minimum of two sets of 10 hip kicks per leg. 

Pool Exercise Precautions One Must Take

Pool exercises are an effective way of increasing our endurance levels. But one must always take safety and hygiene precautions before heading to the pool for daily workouts.

  • Aged individuals and individuals with mobility issues must perform these exercises only with the support of their physical therapist.
  • Individuals who do not know how to swim or are just beginners should not go into the deep end of the pool or try exercises that require the same. 
  • One must practice the pool exercises in the presence of the lifeguard or swimming coach.
  • Do not dive into a shallow pool. It might lead to head injuries or fractured limbs.
  • Wear comfortable swimwear, which allows you to move around easily. Your swimwear must not be too tight or too loose. Do not enter the pool wearing non-swimwear clothes. Doing so contaminates the pool and might lead to the other swimmers getting infections.
  • Do not wear shoes, slippers, or footwear in or around the pool. This heavily contaminates the pool and can cause eye, nose, ear and mouth infections. 
  • Do not try pool exercises if you are unwell or feel too tired.
  • Do not swim in overly heated pools, especially above 32 degrees Celsius.
  • While swimming or doing pool exercises, your body does not correctly register when it is sweating or thirsty. Thus, make sure that you are well hydrated and carry some water to sip on through your workout.
  • Do not do pool exercises right after having a heavy meal. Instead, wait for at least 45 to60 minutes before heading to the pool after a meal.
  • Individuals unaware of how to use the pool floats, such as the kickboard or the noodle, must take the help of the lifeguard or the trainers available. 

The HealthifyMe Note

Swimming is a sport that tones your entire body. It also is a calming exercise. In addition, you can learn to swim at any age. Pool exercises are injury-proof and sure-shot ways to reduce weight and increase stamina and endurance. Swimming also stretches your limbs and reduces pain and inflammation. 


Pool exercises are one of the most effective ways of increasing endurance. Also, the water provides natural resistance to our movements making our muscles work harder to perform any given task. Not only that, but pool exercises also offer us incomparable benefits of cardio workouts. Moreover, pool exercises usually range from low to medium difficulty levels, which makes it safe for practice by individuals of all age groups. However, like any other exercise, one must follow the necessary safety precautions before doing pool exercises.

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