How to Become an Aquatics Exercise Instructor

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We are naturally drawn to the water. We flock to the shore for vacation, camp out at the pool during the dog days of summer, and head to our favorite lake for days of boating fun. So using water as a medium for exercise just makes good sense for the water lover in us. And thanks to the popularity and suitability of water exercise, your specialty in water aerobics is sure to equate to a large client base that will benefit your personal training career.

Water aerobics, also known as water exercise and aquatic exercise, provides multi-directional resistance for our bodies, thus serving as both an excellent cardio and resistance workout. It is the movement of our bodies through the water and the resistance that takes place as a result that provides us with both cardiovascular and muscle toning benefits.

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Water exercise yields results because of three, distinct elements:

  • Buoyancy: Water helps support the weight of your clients in a controlled fashion, which not only protects the joints, muscles, and bones, but is also effective at improving balance and strength. Achieving buoyancy allows your clients to complete a greater range of positions, including lifting the legs, which is difficult for many people to do outside of the water.
  • Viscosity: The resistance of water produces gentle friction that allows for the strengthening and conditioning of the muscles and joints.
  • Hydrostatic pressure: Hydrostatic pressure, the pressure exerted by the water when your clients are immersed, provides breathing benefits.

The Benefits of Water Exercise

In addition to just being plain enjoyable for many, water aerobics also offers a wide array of benefits. Although there is no one exercise best suited for all, water exercise comes close, as it can be modified to meet the specific needs, restrictions, and abilities of your personal training clients.

As a personal trainer specializing in water exercise, your clients may be everyone from conditioned athletes to absolute beginners. Water exercise has been shown to offer a whole host of benefits for many populations of people.

For example, individuals suffering from a number of diseases or physical maladies benefit from water exercise because of the non-impact, fluid movement it involves:

  • Arthritis
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Diabetes
  • Joint pain
  • Osteoporosis

Pregnant women, seniors, and obese clients benefit greatly from water aerobics, as it takes pressure off the joints. In fact, water buoyancy decreases our weight by 90 percent, which means that the pressure on our weight-bearing joints, bones, and muscles is alleviated when in the water. Therefore, the risk of physical injury when engaged in water exercise is very low.

Conditioned athletes looking for an effective, low-impact workout often engage in water aerobics, and water exercise is frequently used when rehabilitating from bone, joint, tendon, and muscle injuries.

Water exercise is also an ideal exercise for people who easily overheat, as the water keeps the body at a cool temperature.

Personal Training, Aquatic Style

Your personal training clients can enjoy a number of benefits from water exercise, provided it is performed properly. In fact, a comprehensive water aerobics private training session is likely to positively impact:

  • Cardiovascular fitness
  • Muscular strength
  • Endurance
  • Flexibility

A well-planned and implemented water exercise personal training session will include:

  • A warm-up
  • A period cardiovascular and muscle conditioning
  • A cool-down

Your personal training water exercise program will almost always vary according to your clients’ abilities, needs, and fitness goals. You may focus the training session on a challenging cardio workout, complete with water weights, or on a relaxing training session that focuses on plenty of stretching.

You may also design a fun program, such as Aqua Zumba, which consists of a high-energy program, complete with upbeat music and a variety of movements.

You may incorporate equipment into your personal training water exercise programs. Equipment may increase resistance in the water, thereby intensifying the workout and the workout’s cardiovascular and toning benefits, or it may be used to switch up a typical routine and add more enjoyment to your water aerobics programs:

  • Foam noodles
  • Buoyancy belts
  • Kickboards (Flutter boards, paddle boards)
  • Wrist and ankle weights
  • Gloves
  • Water dumbbells

Some of the basic aquatic exercises you may encourage your clients to perform include:

  • Knee-to-chest exercise
  • Leg-raise exercise
  • Wall stretches
  • Pool walking
  • Water jogging
  • Water yoga (traditional yoga poses performed in shoulder-deep water)
  • Ai Chi (combines T’ai Chi, Quigong, and Shiatsu)
  • Water Pilates (traditional Pilates movements modified for the water)

How to Become a Personal Trainer Specializing in Water Exercise

The path to becoming a personal trainer usually always begins with a love of exercise, followed by educational preparation that consists of an associate or bachelor’s degree in personal training or a related subject like exercise science, exercise physiology, sports medicine or kinesiology.

A degree program in exercise science, for example, includes an intensive curriculum that prepares you to apply knowledge of anatomy, physiology, and biomechanics to personal training strategies. You will be able to perform fitness assessments on clients and create individualized exercise programs based on your assessments.

Core coursework in a personal training-related program typically includes the study of:

  • Fitness screening and testing
  • Human movement sciences
  • Nutrition fundamentals
  • Weight management
  • Training for special populations

Professional certification in water exercise is an excellent way to supplement your college education and become known as an expert in this fitness specialty. Just a few of the organizations that offer professional certification in water exercise include:

  • Aquatic Exercise Association, Fitness Professional Certification
  • National Exercise and Sports Trainer Association, Aqualogix
  • American Fitness Professionals Association, Aquatic Instructor
  • SCW Fitness Education, Aquatic Exercise Certification
  • Interactive Fitness Trainers of America, Aqua Certification
  • International Fitness Association, Aqua Fitness Instructor, Master Aqua Fitness Instructor

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