21 Pool Exercises for Hip Mobility and Cardio

Hi I am Emily! I am a group fitness instructor + M.S Exercise Physiology. I weekly share my aquatic exercise in blog form that I do with my aquatic fitness class in Silverthorne, CO. I LOVE the water, and working with people. Connect with me if you have questions!

Here are 21 pool exercises to help strengthen and mobilize the hip while getting a good cardio workout in! The format you will see below includes a warm up, cardio section, strength and “warm down” intended for shallow water. No equipment necessary!

Aquatic Warm Up – 10 Min

Use these whole body activities to walk across the length (and back) of a pool or for 1.5 min each.

Walk + Open Palm Pushing: Use whole foot to make contact with floor, open hand pushing water to increase resistance

Jog + Jogging Arms: Take your walk to an active jog.

Lateral Walk: Warm up hips and shoulders with a side step down the pool, belly button is “side ways” and keep shoulders over hips.

High Knees: Activate the quadriceps and pull the knees to the surface.

Butt Kicks: Warm up the hamstrings and stretch the front of the body.

Grape Vines: Slow pace, step one foot in front of the other and repeat.

1, 2, 3 Hop to a Balance: Step forward every other foot, on the 3rd step hold balance for 3 seconds. This warms up stabilizing muscles.

Aquatic Aerobics – 1.5 min, 1 min, and 30 sec ladder.

Do each exercise for 1.5 minutes, repeat entire sequence for 1 min, and finally 30 seconds with more intensity. This is a mini (but challenging) cardio interval.

Quick Jog + Open Palm

4 Squares: Imagine you are in a box, step diagonally to the right, left, then back to center.

Criss Cross Jack: An aquatic jumping jack but criss cross your arms over your belly button as your feet jump across each other.

Breast Stroke Forward + Jog Back: Try three “circular” arms (breast strokes) forward, and three sprints backwards. Repeat.

Column Hops: Imagine you are in a narrow column, “bunny hop” your feet together across an imaginary line. This is sometimes called a mogul skier or alpine hops.

Skaters: Aquatic skaters, stretch on leg laterally to the side and balance, and the other “curtesy’s”, repeat on other side.

Strength Exercises for Hips and Glutes – repeat 8 times for each side. Repeat entire set 2 – 4 times.

Goddess Squat – Legs externally rotate, so toes point outwards. Wide squat position, hold in the down phase for 2 seconds.

Glute Kickback – Traditional kick back with the resistance of water. Stabilize on one leg, and pull the other heel (flexed) upwards.

Frog Jump – External rotation of legs, knees and toes outward and actively spring upwards.

Bird Dog – An aquatic bird dog, stabilize/balance on one leg and sweep the other back. At the same time the opposite arm sweeps forward. Opposite arms and leg raises.

Standing Clam – Stabilize on one leg, and hold foot of other on the calf. Open the knee outwards – similar to a “tree” pose in yoga. Pull the leg back to the middle, and activate outer glutes.

Here are some examples of these glute activities on dry land too: Bodyweight Workout for Hiking: Exercises to Prevent Knee Pain.

Warm Down and Mobility for Hips.

Figure 8 Large + Small – Stand on one leg and sweep one leg in large figure 8 through the water, progressively make it smaller.

Side Stretch Banana – Stand tall, cross legs, stretch arms above your head. Feel a stretch in the side body, imagine your are a banana!

Figure 4 Release – Hold edge of pool, cross ankle over opposite knee. Sit back and down until you feel an opening through the hip socket/muscles. Repeat on dry land as well.

Aquatic fitness exercise is especially rehabilitating for hip mobility and strength.

Please let me know if you try this sequence and found value in them! I love aquatics and would love to connect with you.


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