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Aqua Pool Noodle Exercises

CREDITS | By Jessica B. Adams, Ph.D., and Cassandra Adams; photos by Stephen Frink

Exercising in water can be a great way to mix up your routine. The water supports your body
and ensures low impact despite intense exercise. The effects of gravity are less profound in the water, so you can have an increased range of motion and move in different directions than on land without falling. Water also offers resistance that activates your core muscles for stability, which is beneficial when maneuvering during diving. An added benefit for divers is practicing comfort and control in the water.

Perform all the exercises in a controlled manner. If the movements are new to you, they may feel a bit awkward at first. You should feel more comfortable after a few repetitions.
Start with a single round, and try to work up to three rounds of this exercise routine. You will need a pool and a pool noodle.
Triplane Calf Stretches
  1. Stand in the pool facing the wall a little further than arm’s length.
  2. Lean forward with your hands on the wall.
  3. Slightly bend your elbows while lifting one knee toward the wall.
  4. Extend your elbows while slowly kicking back the lifted leg.
  5. With your heel down, adjust the distance of your standing foot from the wall until you feel a deep yet pain-free stretch.
  6. Repeat the knee lift and kick back five to 10 times.
  7. Laterally swing your knee right to left, keeping your standing leg bent slightly. Repeat five to 10 times.
  8. Rotate your hip right and left, leading with the raised knee.
  9. Repeat the entire sequence on the opposite side.
Tip: Adjust your position relative to the wall to maintain a deep, pain-free stretch.
Modification: Move closer to the wall.
Challenge: Hold each stretch for 10 to 20 seconds.
Diving benefits: You use your calf muscles while finning, so it is important to balance this motion by stretching.
Noodle Jogging
  1. Stand away from the edge of the pool.
  2. Hold the noodle in front of you with your arms straight and hands slightly wider than shoulder width.
  3. Begin by jogging in place for 30 seconds.
  4. Increase your range of motion by bringing your legs higher while pressing down the noodle to meet each shin.
  5. Repeat for 20 to 40 shin touches.
Tip: Keep your chest up to ensure you are using your arms to push down the noodle.
Modification: Press the noodle to your knee instead of your shin.
Challenge: Try to press the noodle to meet your toes.
Diving benefits: This exercise will build your cardiovascular endurance while training multiple muscle groups with minimal impact.

Corkscrew


  1. Start by floating in the middle of the pool with the noodle behind your back.
  2. Wrap both arms behind you around the noodle.
  3. Roll to the right and onto your stomach, keeping your face out of the water, with your body extended and feet together.
  4. Return to the starting position.
  5. Do 10 rolls to the right, and then repeat in the opposite direction.
Tip: Try not to bend at the hips or knees.
Modification: Reduce repetitions.
Challenge: Rotate more slowly, and hold while facing down.
Diving benefits: Core strength and body awareness will help you comfortably maintain a horizontal body position.

Pendulum
  1. Start by standing in the middle of the pool with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  2. Hold the noodle straight out in front of you, with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  3. Kick your left leg out to the side by extending your hip, and rotate your left arm down toward the right side.
  4. Complete 20 repetitions, and then repeat on the opposite side (right leg out).
Tip: Try to keep the noodle parallel to your body.
Modification: Keep the noodle stationary.
Challenge: Increase the width between your hands.
Diving benefits: Working on lateral movements helps you react to dynamic conditions such as a rocking boat.

Aqua Warrior III

  1. Stand in the shallow end of the pool, and hold the noodle straight down in front of you.
  2. Center your weight over your right foot.
  3. In a slow, controlled motion, bend at your hip, push the noodle toward the bottom of the pool, and extend your left leg straight behind you until it is parallel to the surface of the water. Your face should be in the water.
  4. Hold this position for as long as you can comfortably hold your breath, and then return to standing in a slow, controlled manner.
  5. Repeat 10 times, and then switch to the other side.
Modification: Bend partially without putting your face in the water.
Diving benefits: This exercise helps with comfort and control while you are in the water.

NOTE: To avoid an increased risk of decompression sickness, DAN® recommends that divers avoid strenuous exercise for 24 hours after making a dive. During your annual physical exam or following any changes in your health status, consult your physician to ensure you have medical clearance to dive.

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