Water Exercises Using a Ball
Exercising in the water can simultaneously be easy on your joints and challenging for your muscles and cardiovascular system. The water supports your body but also offers resistance as you exercise. Moving an inflated ball through the water adds more resistance to help strengthen a variety of muscles. Warm up first by walking through the water for five to 10 minutes. Do a day of water exercises as part of an overall fitness routine or perform the activities three times a week if it’s your main source of exercise.
Impressive Arm Exercise
The inflated ball you use -- a beach ball or a water polo ball, for example -- will want to float, so simply pressing it below the water’s surface creates resistance that you must overcome. This is the foundational principle behind most water exercises using a ball. To strengthen your arms, stand in the water and hold the ball in front of you. Press the ball below the surface as far as you can and hold it underwater for as long as possible. Using a larger ball increases the resistance. Perform a variation of this exercise by moving the ball in a figure-eight pattern when it’s submerged.
Have a Ball With Cardio
To burn calories and strengthen your core muscles, stand at one end of the pool and hold the ball in front of you in both hands. Walk forward and simultaneously move the ball in circles along the water’s surface, as if you were stirring a pot. Make the exercise more challenging by jogging, running, jumping on both feet or hopping on one foot. You can also add intensity by pushing the ball below the water’s surface. Perform the exercise for one to five minutes.
Roll Like an Otter
If you’ve ever seen otters spinning in the water, you have a basic idea of how to perform an otter roll exercise. Begin by floating on your back as you hold a ball against your chest with both arms. Keep your legs fairly close together as you perform a 360-degree revolution while you hold the ball firmly against your torso. Take a breath and then repeat the exercise by rolling in the opposite direction. Continue the pattern and do as many rolls as you can in 30 seconds. This total-body exercise targets your back, core, glutes and legs.
Leverage Your Workout
Work your shoulders, triceps, back and abs with a lever exercise. Hold the ball in both hands as you face the bottom of the pool. Float on the surface with your body straight and your arms extended along the water’s surface, in front of your head. Keep your arms straight as you pull the ball as quickly as possible down and back, toward your thighs. The movement will cause your body to tilt naturally, raising your head and lowering your legs. Bend your elbows and reach forward to move the ball directly back to the starting position. Perform the exercise for 30 seconds.
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- Sekendiz B, Cuğ M, Korkusuz F. Effects of Swiss-ball core strength training on strength, endurance, flexibility, and balance in sedentary women. J Strength Cond Res. 2010;24(11):3032-40. doi:10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181d82e70
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M.L. Rose has worked as a print and online journalist for more than 20 years. He has contributed to a variety of national and local publications, specializing in sports writing. Rose holds a B.A. in communications.