Aqua jogging

Aqua jogging is a very effective form of cardiovascular conditioning, writes Gary Dawkins. 

Gary Dawkins
Gary Dawkins

1. Aqua jogging can be used as both a Liss (low-intensity steady state) and Hiit (high-intensity interval training) cardio session.

2. It’s ideal for muscle tone and strength. Water provides 12-14% more resistance than air, so moving through it is like having weights all around your body.

3. Low to no impact. So it can be used no matter what your age, agility level and/or body composition.

4. Increases flexibility. Water reduces the effects of gravity so the body can be moved through a wider range of motion.

5. Great cross-training exercise. It will complement sports and land-based exercise to aid recovery, break through training plateaus, add variation and help avoid over-use injury.

How to do it?

 - You can choose between shallow-water jogging (waist deep) and deep-water jogging (feet don’t touch the ground). You will need a floatation belt for deep-water jogging. Most pools do supply these.

 - Land on the balls of the feet in shallow water and roll onto the heels, making full contact with the pool bottom.

 - The body should remain as vertical in the water as possible.

 - Avoid leaning forward at the chest. Pump the arms and legs like pistons, similar to the motion of jogging on land.

 - You can incorporate extra resistance by using hand-held weights.

How much to do?

 - Warm up: 5 minutes. Begin in shallow water with a simple jog. Bring the knees up and swing the arms in conjunction with the legs at a lower effort level of 4/10 (1 being very easy and 10 being your maximum effort level).

 - Workout: 20 minutes. Visualise the pool as an outdoor running track.

1 minute moderate effort (6/10 effort level).

1 minute easy (4/10 effort level).

Repeat intervals 5 times.

30 seconds hard effort (9/10 effort level).

1 minute easy (4/10 effort level).

Repeat intervals 5 times.

 - Cool down: 5 minutes in shallow water at an effort level of 4/10.

Advanced programme 

For an advanced aqua-jogging programme do your session in deep water and without a floatation belt.

By removing the belt you are going to be forced to fully engage your core.

Focus on keeping the water level in line with your shoulders.

Legs will be pumping slightly wider than hip width here to provide more stability.

Continue pumping both your legs and arms hard.

Start with 5 minutes of easy running.

1 minute moderate effort.

1 minute easy.

Repeat intervals 4 times.

30 seconds hard effort.

1 minute easy.

Repeat intervals 4 times.