Aqua pilates is ideal for anyone from people who are limited by injuries, aching joints or pregnancy to regular gym junkies looking for new challenge.
Water's gentle resistant environment will have you working your core harder without even noticing; it's more difficult to recruit other muscles that would help you cheat on dry land.
And just 20 minutes, three times a week, will quickly deliver noticeable results.
CORE MOVE 1: Seated Pedal
In shallow water, sit on a noodle like a swing. Pedal legs forward as if on a bike while remaining seated and balanced on your noodle. Do this for 1 minute with high intensity, then pedal backwards for 1 minute. Next, let go of the noodle and lift arms out of the water; pedal for 30 seconds each way. This warm-up switches on your core and coordination and loosens up knees, hips and ankles. Pedal for 5 minutes.
CORE MOVE 2: Seated Frog
Sit on noodle as you do in Seated Pedal. With toes, knees and hips turned outwards, squeeze heels together to create a diamond shape with your legs. Bend and stretch legs in a froglike motion to work inner thighs and glutes. The higher your legs in the water, the more you activate your core. Do 4 sets of 20, increasing your intensity with each set and gradually lifting legs higher in the water.
CORE MOVE 3: Cross-Trainer
In deep water, place a noodle behind you, below shoulder blades, holding each end of the noodle. Goosestep in the water with straight legs and flexed feet, allowing torso to respond in opposition to the lower body. This exercise works your waistline, lower tummy and legs. Do 3 sets of 20, maintaining slow and regular speed for the first 2 sets, then go faster with maximum intensity for the final set.
CORE MOVE 4: Side Stretch
Still in deep water, where you can't touch the bottom, hold a noodle in each hand. Stretch arms all the way out to the sides and suspend body vertically. Keeping your feet together, tuck knees up to your chest, then push feet to the left as far as you can stretch. Pull them back into chest, then stretch feet to the right. Repeat exercise for 1 minute to strengthen side trunk, laterals and scapular muscles.