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High intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts have become an increasingly popular way to get workouts in at home or at the gym, especially when you're short on time. These cardiovascular workouts involve periods of very intense activity (working portion) followed by a recovery period and then it's repeated all over again.
Often times when people hear the word "HIIT," sprinting, cycling or circuit workouts come to mind. A HIIT pool workout may seem like an unexpected choice at first, but just wait until you take your workout off land and into the pool.
How Do You Do HIIT While Swimming?
When we exercise in the water, we actually add resistance to the moves that we are performing making them more difficult. Another added bonus is that exercising in the water is low impact. This makes performing HIIT pool workouts (underwater vs. on land) a much better choice for those who may be suffering with any joint issues.
The key, however, is to find exercises in the pool that, when performed, require near maximal exertion for the working portion. The explosive workout below certainly rises to the occasion and can be performed even by those who are unable to swim. For individuals who are at more advanced fitness levels, increasing resistance even further may be necessary for the working portion. Swimming weight vests or water weights are both excellent options.
A HIIT Workout That Can Be Done in the Pool
- Begin standing in the shallow end of the pool and jog in place for 2–3 minutes.
- Run around the perimeter of the shallow end with "high knees" for 2–3 minutes. With each step, drive your knees toward your chest.
- Perform flutter kicks for 2–3 minutes. Here, you will hold onto the edge of the pool with your arms fully extended and kick your legs.
How to do it: Perform each exercise in the shallow end of the pool for 45 seconds followed by a 15-second rest. The key here is to use near maximal exertion and perform as many repetitions as possible for the 45 seconds. Complete circuit 2 times.
Start in a lunge position, back knee nearly touching the ground. Jump, swinging arms as you switch leg position to land with the opposite leg in front. Make sure you are landing in full lunge position, with the front knee bent and the back knee nearly touching the ground. Repeat the movement, swinging arms as you switch leg position to land with opposite leg in front.
Start standing with feet hip-width apart in a full squat position. Jump explosively in the air as high as you can. Land fully into the squat position. Repeat.
Knee Tuck Jump
Start standing with knees slightly bent and your arms extended at chest level, palms facing the ground. Lower your body quickly into a squat position and jump as high as you can driving your knees towards your palms. Land in the standing position and repeat.
Single-Leg Lateral Hop
Start by standing on one leg with the knee slightly bent. Jump to the left side as far as possible, landing on the jumping leg. Immediately jump as far as possible to your right side, landing on the jumping leg and repeat. In the first circuit, perform your repetitions using the left leg. In the second circuit, perform your repetitions using the right leg.
Start by standing with feet slightly less than shoulder-width apart. Bring your arms back and behind you and lower into a quarter squat position. Jump forward as far as possible driving with your hips and arms. Land in a soft, athletic position and repeat.
Cool Down & Stretch
After your workout, you can swim a couple laps or use a kickboard to kick a few slow laps as a cooldown before taking time to stretch.
It's important to note that even though you're in the water, you should stay hydrated during your workouts. You will still be sweating even though the exercises are being performed in the water. [Editor's note: We recommend bringing Vital Proteins® Collagen Water™ with you or mixing Hydration**+ Collagen into your poolside water.]