Core training has become a popular exercise focus in group exercise programming. The reason is
simple: A strong core is necessary for good posture and to maintain
a healthy back. The term “core” refers to the
musculature of the trunk that functions to support and move the
hips (pelvis), back (spine) and shoulders (rib cage). Water
provides an ideal training environment for strengthening the core.
The water’s natural
buoyancy creates an unstable working environment and the
water’s increased density provides increased levels of
resistance to provide skeletal loading that assists as well as
In our modern society, the physical demands of daily living dictate
we move in repetitive ways, not all of which produce positive
benefits for our bodies. Increasingly, we find ourselves spending a
significant amount of time in a seated position, as in driving a
car or working in front of a computer. In anatomical terms, this
position is referred to as passive forward flexion.
Traditional approaches to core training tend to focus on only a
portion of the core, the abdominals. With repetitive exercises such
as abdominal crunches or curls, generally performed in a supine or
lying down position, these exercises only further train spinal
flexion. Aquatic fitness professionals can use the unique physical
properties of water to balance the bias toward spinal flexion by
including extension exercises that lengthen the spine and open the hips.
The way to begin is by stabilizing the body in spinal extension in
a standing position. Then add movement patterns that recruit the
core muscles to further lengthen and stabilize. Challenging the
abdominals to maintain a neutral spine and pelvis in a vertical
position has the greatest carry-over effect in creating a
functional core. Use the two core-strengthening exercises
illustrated here to produce effective results for your students.
Each exercise integrates core stabilization techniques and
multi-dimensional movement patterns to work the deepest muscle
layers in the body.