Looking to tune-up your arms a little? Water workouts are the perfect way to keep your upper body in great shape. With just a few exercises added to your swim workout, you can tone your arm muscles in a flash. Upper body exercise can also lead to improved posture, healthier bones, and greater confidence. And on top of all that, you will feel fabulous!
What You’ll Need
You can do water workouts without any equipment. But if you want to amp up your workout even more, the right equipment can make all the difference.
- Webbed Gloves
To create great water resistance—and find your inner duck—get a set of webbed gloves. These will increase resistance in any arm movements you make, giving you a more rigorous workout.
- Aquatic exercise ball
Aquatic exercise balls come in a variety of sizes. Bigger exercise balls create more resistance, which puts your arms to the test. Smaller-sized exercise balls are easier to workout with, which is perfect if you’re a beginner.
- Aquatic dumbbells
Aquatic dumbbells are shaped just like regular dumbbells, but they are made of foam instead of iron. They are light as a feather on land, but you’ll be amazed how much resistance they offer in the water.
If you’re an everyday lap swimmer or a water aerobics enthusiast, you will want a swimsuit that holds up to the damaging effects of chlorine. Chlorine resistant swimwear is designed to last 5 to 10 times longer than most swimsuits. Find out more about chlorine resistant swimsuits and other athletic styles here.
Workouts for Your Arms and Shoulders
Once you’ve got everything you need, you’re ready to begin. Try out these simple and fun ways to tone your arms. As with all exercise, be sure to know your own body—if you’re straining too much, there’s no shame in taking it slow.
- Arm Scissors
Wearing webbed gloves, stand in shoulder-deep water, stretching your arms out in front of you. Turn your palms outward (thumbs facing the bottom) and then push your arms out to the side. Then flip your palms (thumbs facing up), and pull your arms back inward. Feel the muscles working in your biceps, triceps, shoulders, and upper back.
Sets:Start with two one-minute sets, with 15 seconds of rest in between each set.
- Exercise ball figure eights
Begin in chest-high water. Grab the exercise ball with both hands and push it under the water. Make sure you keep control of the ball and begin to move it in a wide figure 8 pattern. Feel the resistance in your triceps and biceps.
Sets:Start with three 30-second sets, with 15 seconds rest in between.
- Water boxing
Water boxing is just what it sounds like. Begin in shoulder-deep water, and simply pretend you are punching a punching bag. You can open your hands or use water gloves to create more resistance. This exercise works out your shoulders, biceps, and triceps.
Sets:Start with three 1-minute sets, with 30 seconds rest in between.
- Frontwards and backwards dips
Ever notice how many muscles you use when you pull yourself out of the pool? Take advantage of this action with front and back dips. For a back dip, stand in waist-deep water with your back to the wall. Reach behind you, with your elbows up, to put your hands on the ledge of the pool. Then push yourself up—without jumping—until your arms are straight. Lower yourself down again slowly after that. You should feel this in your triceps. For a front dip, do essentially the same thing, but with your front facing the pool wall. Remember to use your arm strength here, rather than jumping. Front dips will work out your biceps and shoulders.
Sets:Start with two sets of 5, with 30 seconds rest in between.
- Arm circles with dumbbells
To get the most benefit out of arm circles in the water, stand in shoulder-deep water. Hold your arms outstretched to each side, a dumbbell in each hand. Make small rotating circles with the dumbbells, doing one set forward and one set backwards. You should feel the resistance in your shoulder muscles, biceps, and triceps.
Sets: Begin with two 1-minute sets, with 20 seconds rest in between.
- Bicep curls with weights or webbed gloves
Just like on land, you can use your aquatic dumbbells or webbed gloves to do bicep curls. Do bicep curls in shoulder-deep water, beginning with your hands at your sides, and bending at the elbow to work out your bicep muscles and shoulders.
Sets: Begin with three 1-minute sets, with 20 seconds rest in between.
Developing upper body strength is an important part of an overall exercise program. With these arm-toning exercises, you will feel stronger and more confident. Not to mention, you’ll also look fantastic in your favorite long-lasting chlorine resistant swimsuit!
Looking to tone your legs, too? Check out Aquatic Exercises to Tone Your Legs.