The Official eNewsletter of TODAY! Fitness

vol. 2007 issue 7



The Coolest Workout Ever

What do you mean it's too hot outside to workout?  If you want to enjoy your outdoor summer exercise without that sweaty, sticky feeling, try hopping in the pool and doing an aquatic workout.  The pool just might be the only place where you can do cardiovascular work, toning and stretching without even feeling like you've broken a sweat!

The great thing about water is that it gives you natural resistance with absolutely no impact to the joints. For those with severe arthritis or other joint problems, it offers the perfect alternative to lifting weights. There are exercises you can do for every muscle group, and your risk of injury is extremely low.

When performing aquatic exercises, it is important to be mindful at all times of your body position (which can be thrown off in the water). Keep your weight distributed evenly and check your posture often. Keep your abdominals tucked in to support your back throughout every exercise.

Remember that your perceived exertion is a little off in the pool.  You may feel like you didn't work that hard when you actually did.  You don't have gills to keep your body hydrated, and it is possible to become dehydrated in the pool, so make sure you drink water before and after your workout.

Aquatic Exercises

Flutter kicks (glutes) - You can breeze around on a kickboard or hold onto the side of the pool, but the scissoring motion is great for the buttocks and hamstrings, and it indirectly tones the abdominals.

Side leg lift (hips and glutes) - Stand in shoulder-deep water and hold onto the edge of the pool lightly for balance. Extend your right leg straight out to the side as far up as you can bring it. But, only go as far as you can while keeping toes pointing toward the pool wall (don't let your ankle turn) and keeping your hips straight toward the wall.

Water squats (quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes) -  Stand in the water with feet about hip-width apart. Bend your knees slightly as you push your hips back as if you are sitting on a chair. Keep your knees behind your toes. Keep your feet planted firmly on the ground. Squeeze your glutes as you raise up.  The water provides extra resistance for this classic move.

Pull-ups (back and biceps) - Grasp the side of the pool and lower your body as far as your arms will allow. Keeping your knees bent, exhale and pull yourself up as high as you can.

Straight arm claps (chest) - Standing in water up to your neck, reach your hands out to the sides with your palms forward. Keep your your elbows locked and clap your hands. 

Tricep press-downs (triceps) - Stand straight, with your open hands palms-down on the surface of the water. Keeping your elbows locked at your sides, push down until your hands are beside your hips.

Bicep curls (biceps) - Bring your open hands to the side of each hip, palms forward, with your fingers close together. Bend at the elbow to bring your hands toward your shoulders. 

Lateral raises (shoulders) - Stand in shoulder-deep water with arms hanging straight down against your sides. Extend both arms straight out to the sides all the way up to the water-level.

Leg lift (abs) - stand with your back to the side of the pool, holding onto the rim with your elbows. Keeping your knees unbent, bring both legs up to a sitting position and hold it for ten seconds. Breath slowly throughout this exercise. Bend at the knee to bring them down.  (be careful to keep your back straight throughout this exercise).

Stretch - Many standard stretches that you perform on the ground can also be performed in the water.  Just make sure that you're properly warmed up (this takes a little longer in the pool) and keep your feet flat on the floor at all times. 


Elite Bodyweight Exercise of the Month!

Alternating Reverse Lunge

I've been working out for years, and the lunge is still an exercise that I try to incorporate into my leg circuit.  The lunge is a very functional exercise, which means that it is applicable to motions that you perform on a regular basis.  The alternating reverse lunge pictured above is a variation that provides a slightly different spin on this classic move.  For other variations you can incorporate the use of a medicine ball, dumbbells, bosu ball, and/or weighted vest and add movements such as presses or twisting motions to further challenge yourself.


Target:  legs and butt (quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteals)

Count:  4 count

Description:  Starting in standing position with your hands on your hips.  Take a deep step backwards so that your stepping knee almost touches the ground and your forward knee is behind your forward toe.  Return to starting position and repeat with the other leg to complete the repetition.

Pool Cardio

Swimming laps is one of the best things you can do to strengthen your heart and lungs. If you're a decent swimmer and enjoy lap swims, spend a few minutes a day at it to warm up for toning and stretching or use it as your full cardio workout.

Personally, I swim like a rock!  If you too are not a lap swimmer, there's still plenty of other pool exercise to get your heart rate up.  Walking or running in the pool can be just as effective. It may sound easy, but just try it!  If you go in up to your shoulders and run, you'll get your heart rate up with no problem. It may be very difficult to sustain at first, but try to build up your time to at least twenty minutes.  If you are having difficulty walking or running against the water, try marching or jogging in place while in the water to build up your stamina first. 

For another excellent training option, try to mix it up a little with intervals.  Swim 1-2 laps (use any swim form you prefer: crawl, backstroke, etc). Walk 1-2 laps in the pool. Repeat the sequence for the desired duration. 

There are a multitude of options in the pool available to ensure you get an awesome cardiovascular workout.  Make a plan, but don't overdo it right out of the gate!  Start off slow and increase your intensity and duration as you become better adjusted to the exercise.

It's Go Time!

So did everyone get an opportunity to try that “piked shoulder press” that was in my last eNewsletter?  No?  Well I would be VERY impressed if you did!  That’s a pretty tough exercise, even if you’ve been working out for years!  I had a number of people hit me up last month saying “yeah right, I would kill myself” or “I couldn’t even do one of those”.  Well, there is a reason that I label that column as the “Elite Bodyweight Exercise of the Month”.

Many of my friends, relatives, and acquaintances that receive my eNewsletter are in great shape and have been working out for years themselves.  Although still very useful information, some of the exercise and nutrition basics that I include can be repetitive stuff that they already know.  My goal is to try to keep the level of content in the eNewsletter broad enough so that there is something interesting for everyone.  Fair enough?

I am always looking for fitness subjects to research and/or write about.  Sometimes it can be difficult to figure out what kind of article to put in the next issue.  You can help me out with this task!  Just respond to this eNewsletter email or click here to send me one.  Let me know your questions, comments, or what you would like to know more about.  Either way, I promise to respond to your email and possibly include it as an article in a future issue.  Every little bit helps… thanks for your support!

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Good Luck!

Pete Mazzeo, CPT

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