TREAD­ING WA­TER

Jump in the pool this sum­mer for one of the best work­outs around!

Your Baby & Toddler - - Just For You Spoil Your­self - BY BIOKI­NETI­CIST CHANEÉ TRIPP

The ben­e­fits of ex­er­cis­ing in the pool are just end­less: the wa­ter brush­ing past your mus­cles as you ex­er­cise stim­u­lates blood flow and im­proves cir­cu­la­tion. And you get the added ben­e­fit of cool­ing off af­ter a long day of run­ning af­ter a lit­tle one!

Wa­ter pro­vides re­sis­tance in ev­ery di­rec­tion, so you are able to de­velop strength in mus­cles while they are con­tracted (short­ened) and length­ened. We call this con­cen­tric (short­ened mus­cle fi­bre) and ec­cen­tric (length­ened mus­cle fi­bre) ex­er­cise. Think of what your mus­cles do dur­ing a bi­cep curl: con­cen­tric con­trac­tion of the bi­cep mus­cle is achieved when you bend your el­bow, while ec­cen­tric con­trac­tion of the bi­cep mus­cle is achieved as you ex­tend your el­bow. Your mus­cle groups al­ways work in ra­tio with one an­other, and as a re­sult it is im­por­tant to ex­er­cise them ac­cord­ingly. This way you pre­vent in­juries and tone ef­fec­tively with­out com­pro­mis­ing the func­tion of the joint you are mov­ing. Bear this in mind while do­ing these ex­er­cises.

You will no­tice that there is of­ten a ref­er­ence to the 8-sec­ond: 4-sec­ond ra­tio in this ex­er­cise pro­gramme. The rea­son for this is that we are tak­ing ad­van­tage of the buoy­ancy lev­els of the wa­ter to tone your mus­cles in a full-body work­out.

1 JUMP LUNGES

This is a full lower body work­out as it not only works your glutes (bum) and legs, but is also a great way to el­e­vate your heart rate and get your blood cir­cu­la­tion go­ing. Po­si­tion your­self in waist-deep wa­ter for this one.

WHAT TO DO

Draw your belly but­ton in to­wards your spine and pull your pelvic floor tight (tense the mus­cles as if you have a full blad­der and can’t go to the loo). This is called hold­ing your core mus­cle.

Once your core is con­tracted, step back­wards while bend­ing both your knees and lift the heel of your back foot off the ground (as in 1a). The wa­ter should come to just be­low your armpits when both your knees are bent.

Jump up as high as you can (ver­ti­cally) while still hold­ing your core and swap your legs around be­fore you land into the lunge po­si­tion again (as in 1b).

Lunge as deep or shal­lowly as you feel com­fort­able, but make sure that you place your weight di­rectly down to­ward the ground and dis­trib­ute your weight equally be­tween each leg. This is im­por­tant to re­mem­ber as fail­ure to do so will re­sult in you ei­ther lean­ing back or for­ward – which means only one leg will be do­ing the work.

Aim to com­plete ten lunges on each leg, re­mem­ber­ing that qual­ity is key.

LOOK OUT FOR

When lung­ing, be care­ful not to arch your back or lean for­ward.

Pull your shoul­ders back and away from your ears. If your neck is start­ing to hurt, your shoul­ders are ei­ther for­ward or up to­ward your ears.

2 AB­DOM­I­NAL CRUNCHES

A new take on the clas­sic crunch, these will strengthen your ab­dom­i­nal mus­cles while main­tain­ing your core.

WHAT TO DO

Po­si­tion a pool noo­dle be­hind your back with each end tucked un­der your armpit. The depth of wa­ter is ir­rel­e­vant in this case.

Lean back and lift your feet up while ex­tend­ing your legs, al­low­ing the pool noo­dle to help you float (as in 2a).

While tight­en­ing your core, in­hale and as you ex­hale bend your knees pulling them up to your chest (as in 2b). Use four sec­onds to bring your knees to your chest and eight sec­onds to straighten your legs.

Re­peat the process for 10 rep­e­ti­tions and do three sets.

LOOK OUT FOR

Re­mem­ber to keep your core con­tracted through­out. Re­lax your shoul­ders and con­cen­trate on us­ing your stom­ach to pull your legs up.

WE’RE TAK­ING AD­VAN­TAGE OF THE BUOY­ANCY LEV­ELS OF THE WA­TER TO TONE YOUR MUS­CLES IN A FULL-BODY WORK­OUT

YOU MAY NOT RE­ALISE AT FIRST HOW HARD THIS MOVE WORKS YOUR BI­CEP AND TRI­CEP MUS­CLES WHILE EN­GAG­ING YOUR CORE AND PELVIC FLOOR

3 TRI­CEP EX­TEN­SIONS

You may not re­alise at first how hard this move works your bi­cep and tri­cep mus­cles while still en­gag­ing your core and pelvic floor.

WHAT TO DO

Grab hold of a pool noo­dle with both hands and stand in hip-deep wa­ter with your back to­wards the pool wall, feet hip-width apart where the pool floor and wall meet.

Lean for­ward while push­ing the pool noo­dle into the wa­ter with ex­tended el­bows (as in 3a).

Keep your shoul­ders back and away from your ears.

Slowly bend your el­bows while bring­ing the pool noo­dle up with your arms (as in 3b). Bend your el­bows to the point where you are still able to main­tain con­trol of your core and bal­ance.

Re­mem­ber to en­gage your core at all times through­out this ex­er­cise.

Breathe by ex­hal­ing on the el­bow ex­ten­sion and in­hal­ing on the bent el­bow po­si­tion.

Your goal is to com­plete two sets of ten of these ex­ten­sions. Take four sec­onds to ex­tend your el­bows and eight sec­onds to bend them back to your start­ing po­si­tion.

LOOK OUT FOR

Re­lax your shoul­ders and make sure that your chin is slightly tucked in to avoid com­press­ing and hurt­ing your neck.

Keep your el­bows point­ing di­rectly be­hind you – this goes a long way in achiev­ing good mus­cle tone with­out strain­ing your neck and shoul­ders.

Try not to arch your back, but keep your tail bone (coc­cyx) tucked in by pulling your navel to your spine. 3b

4 ARM EX­TEN­SIONS

This move strength­ens your shoul­der mus­cles and tones your up­per back. This goes a long way to help­ing you carry that tod­dler.

WHAT TO DO

Move to where the wa­ter is deep enough to reach your shoul­ders and strad­dle your pool noo­dle.

Stretch your arms out to the side with your palms on the sur­face of the wa­ter (as in the im­age to the right).

The way you hold your hands has an im­pact on the re­sis­tance lev­els of this ex­er­cise: Easy Fin­gers are splayed out.

Mod­er­ate Hold the fin­gers of each hand to­gether tightly.

Hard Cut up a pool noo­dle into two pieces of about 15 to 20cm long to use as dumb­bells.

Keep your shoul­ders back and away from your ears and push your arms down to your sides. Re­mem­ber how im­por­tant it is to main­tain your core, as this will help you bal­ance.

Come back to your start­ing point and then re­peat.

Re­mem­ber to breathe, ex­hal­ing on the down move­ment, in­hal­ing on the up.

Aim to do two sets of 15 rep­e­ti­tions and ap­ply the 4-sec­ond: 8-sec­ond ra­tio.

LOOK OUT FOR

It is very im­por­tant to do this ex­er­cise while keep­ing your core con­tracted through­out.

Be aware of your lift­ing your shoul­ders up to your ears. If you are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing any dis­com­fort in your neck this is the likely cause.

An­other thing to con­sider is whether your weight is equally dis­trib­uted on the pool noo­dle for bal­ance pur­poses.

5 SIDE LEG KICKS

This move tones the outer and in­ner sides of the thighs, as well as the ma­jor glute and hip mus­cles that form part of your hip sta­bil­is­ing group. WHAT TO DO

Stand­ing in waist- or hip-deep wa­ter, hold onto the side of the pool with one hand slightly in front of you.

Tighten your core, in­hale and lift your leg to the side while tak­ing eight counts to lift it slowly (as in the im­age to the right). Al­low the buoy­ancy of your leg to act as re­sis­tance.

Ex­hale while low­er­ing it back down again to its start­ing po­si­tion, tak­ing four counts to do so. Once again, use the re­sis­tance of the wa­ter to work your legs.

Re­peat the process for 10 rep­e­ti­tions and al­ter­nate legs.

LOOK OUT FOR

Be care­ful not to twist your hips to the side – your hip bones should face for­ward at all times.

Make sure that your foot is flexed and that your toes are pointed for­ward. Fail­ure to do so means you will be de­vel­op­ing an in­cor­rect mus­cle strength ra­tio be­tween the outer and in­ner thigh mus­cles of your legs.

Re­mem­ber to keep your core con­tracted through­out this ex­er­cise, avoid­ing the temp­ta­tion to rock your body as mo­men­tum or hike your hip up us­ing your back.

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