Aquatic Exercise Routine for Your Back

Warm Up with Water Walking

Warm up with water walking.
Warm up with water walking. (c) Anne Asher 2007

Water exercise can be great for your back. It strengthens muscles and increases joint range of motion. Here is a short, simple water exercise routine to get you going.

First, warm up your water exercise session with water walking:

Put on a floatation belt, the most basic aquatic exercise item. (The belt will keep you from sinking when you work in the deep end.)

Walk around - either in the shallow end, the deep end or a combination - to warm up your hips and legs.  This may give you a bit of an aerobic workout, too. The warm up should take between 5-10 minutes.


water exercise
water exercise. Anne Asher

Now that you are warmed up, begin to intensify the workout with a bicycle maneuver. This is best done in the deep end.

Pedal your legs in the water, as if you were riding a bike. The bicycle works more hip and leg muscles than walking. Do cycling moves in both forward and back directions, for about 5 minutes each.


Water exercise
Water exercise. Anne Asher All Rights Reserved

Okay, it's time for some real hip power.

Keeping one leg straight, kick the other one up. Aim for horizontal - i.e. perpendicular to your trunk. If you don't fully get there, that's OK. You'll likely improve every time you try it.

Kicks build muscles in both legs and hips, which may work wonders for your back.  Do about 15-20 kicks.

Knees-to-Chest - Work Those Abs!

Knees to chest - abdominal exercise in the water.
Knees to chest - abdominal exercise in the water. (c) Anne Asher 2007

And onto the abs we go.

To work your abdominal muscles bring both knees up to your chest and down again.

To do a more advanced version of this exercise, straighten your legs, and extend your body out into one long line, as though you were floating on the water.

The knees-to-chest exercise can be done about 10-15 times.

Legs Out and In

Water Exercise
Water Exercise. Anne Asher All Rights Reserved

Bring your legs at a perpendicular angle to your trunk, while remaining upright in the water. Now spread your legs into a "V" shape. Then bring your legs back together.

Repeat about 15 times. This exercise will likely strengthen your hips and your abs, as well. Being in a "sitting" position when you perform this exercise, will likely make it so you use your abdominals to support your trunk in an upright position.

Cool Down

Water Exercise
Water Exercise. Anne Asher All Rights Reserved

Return to water walking for your cool down. Cool down should last about 5 to 10 minutes. Include stretches either in the water when you are back on land.

Congratulations - you've completed your water exercise workout!

By the way, if you don't feel you can remember these moves, you might print out this article, put the pages in plastic sheet protectors and bring them with you to the pool.  Water exercise instructors do this all the time.

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