Ladies, it’s time to show your legs some love. After all, your legs take you where you want to go every single day. If you love your legs and want to give them some extra TLC, try these muscle-toning water exercises. Before you know it, your legs will look and feel fantastic.
Water exercises are a great way to get your leg muscles in shape. The resistance of the water can offer unique benefits for muscle building. And on top of that, being in the water is just plain fun.
What You’ll Need
One of the benefits of aquatic workouts is that you need very little equipment. In a sense, the water itself is your equipment, because the resistance of the water acts like a set of weights at the gym. Here’s what you’ll need to get started:
- The right indoor pool
Try to find a health club or fitness facility that has the right indoor pool for you. Be sure the pool’s schedule fits with your schedule and that the pool is in a good location geographically for you. And find out if the club has a water aerobics instructor who can help you tailor your routine toward your goals.
The kind of swimwear you choose for water aerobics can make a difference. For working out in the pool, you will most likely prefer an athletic cut that gives you coverage and support. To find the best value for your money, consider purchasing a chlorine resistant swimsuit. Chlorine resistant swimwear can last up to 10 times longer than regular swimsuits. A chlorine resistant bathing suit keeps its elasticity and color when other suits begin to get loose and faded. Find out more about protecting your swimsuit, skin, and hair from the effects of the chlorine.
- A kickboard and float noodle
To help isolate your leg muscles, it helps to have some floating devices. A kickboard and a pool noodle are all you will need for the exercises discussed here. Many pools even offer these for you to use for free during your workout.
Workouts for Your Legs
Now that you’ve got all your gear, it’s time to jump in. By focusing some time on your legs, you will see and feel the positive results. And remember, like with any exercise, listen to your body. If you’re pushing too hard, there’s no harm in dialing it down a notch.
For shoulder-high water
- Jogging in Place
Jogging in place sounds simple, but have you ever tried to run in water? You’ll be surprised at how much the water pulls at your legs. The higher you lift your knees, the better workout you’ll get. You can also try this with a swim noodle, making your way back and forth across the pool. One thing for sure: you’ll have a new appreciation for how easy it is to run on dry land.
Sets: Start with 2 one-minute sets, with 15 seconds of rest in between each set.
- Outer thigh lift
To work out the outside of your thigh muscles, stand sideways against the wall, holding onto it with your left hand. Lift your right leg out to the side as high as you can and bring it back down.
Sets: Do two sets of 16 reps on each side.
- Front, back, and side thigh lifts
This is a variation of the outer thigh lift. While holding onto the side of the pool with your left hand, lift your right leg in front of you, bring your feet back together, lift it out to the side, then back together, and then kick it out behind you. This gives you three strengthening motions in one exercise.
Sets: Do 2 sets of 12 reps on each side.
- Knee lifts
Stand with your back to the pool wall. Raise one knee up, and then straighten the leg, so that your leg is sticking out as straight as you can make it. Continue to bend and straighten to feel the workout in your thigh muscles.
Sets: Do 3 sets of 12 with each leg.
For thigh-high water
- Squat jumps
Find the best depth of water that works for you, and practice a few squat jumps. To do a proper squat, stand with your feet at shoulder distance. Bend your knees and push your backside out, as though you are about to sit in a chair. Keep your back straight, and aim to get your thighs parallel to the pool bottom. Once they are parallel, you are at the bottom of your squat. Next, comes the jump. Thrust your legs straight, jumping off the bottom as high as you can and raising your arms in the air. As you land, get ready for the next squat.
Sets: 8 to 16 squats per set, depending on your fitness level. Aim for 3 sets.
- Squat steps
Stand in the water with your legs together. Move your left foot out so your feet are shoulder distance. Squat to sitting position. Once you’re at the bottom point of your squat, move your right foot toward your left foot, and then stand up with your feet together. Repeat it by moving your left foot out to shoulder distance, squatting, bringing in your right foot, and standing.
Sets: Do 4 squat steps to the left, then 4 to the right. Do 3 sets of these.
For deep water
- Scissor kicks
Using a pool noodle wrapped under your arms, begin by floating vertically in the water with your legs together. Kick one leg out to the front, and the other to the back, like your legs are a pair of scissors. Once you get your balance, kick them back in forth in this manner, being sure to use force in both directions.
Sets: Start with three 30-second sets and move up to three 1-minute sets.
For the swim lanes
Kickboards are designed to exercise your legs. Holding the kickboard out in front of you, start out by flutter-kicking your way across the pool. It won’t be long before you feel the burn in your legs. Be sure to kick from the hips, not from your knees, and keep your legs straight. You don’t need a big splash to get a good workout. If flutter-kicking is wearing you out, you can alternate laps of flutter-kicking with laps of frog-kicking to give your legs a break.
Sets: Aim for 2 laps of flutter kicking, or 4 laps of alternating with frog kicks.
Giving your legs a workout will lead to stronger, more toned muscles, and more confidence when it’s time to put on your short shorts or your favorite tankini. With these leg-toning exercises, you will love the way your legs look and feel. So why not put on your new chlorine resistant swimsuit, and get started now?
Looking to tone your arms, too? Check out Aquatic Exercises to Tone Your Arms.