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Kickboards and peanuts can be used for so much more than swim training.  Surprise your personal aquatic training clients with new uses for the old tools. All three of these movements are primarily leg strengtheners, but also provide a core challenge. Because these movements require submerging flotation devices under pressure, they should be performed one on one, away from other pool users.

1. Reverse Squat

In the shallow end, hold a kickboard under the water and have client step both feet on the kickboard, at opposite ends, with legs slightly externally rotated and knees bent. In a squat position, have her aim to maintain balance for 30 seconds. Then, without losing balance, try to stand up straight; then return to squat position.  Rebalance between reps, aiming for 12 reps. Be sure knees don’t shoot past second toes. Back should be straight and abs engaged. (See image on the left.)

2. Leg Presses

In chest-deep water, have your client imprint back against the pool wall (shoulder blades and glutes against wall, natural spine curve off wall), arms out to sides on the wall or gunnel, hamstrings resting on a kickboard, legs extended and engaged. Have your client inhale, then exhale while pressing down on the kickboard, lowering legs halfway to the wall; inhale, and return to start position. Be sure the stomach and back hold the body to the wall; there should be no stress in the neck or shoulders. Aim for 12 reps, and then 10 more with reversed breathing pattern. (See middle image.)

3. Leg Curls 

In waist-deep water, have your client stand on the left leg, weight on the inner thigh, with the right knee bent, squeezing a peanut between right calf and right hamstring, knees parallel.  Keeping the left leg engaged and hips even, bring the right knee toward the surface of the water, then down, as if the knee is pointing to the pool floor (knees will be parallel).  Aim for 12 reps and switch legs. (See image on the right.)

These lower body movements can stand alone as part of a strength workout, or they can be used as the recovery portion of a mixed interval training program.