Lower Body Exercises

Lynda explains to her staff some basic concepts of doing the lower body exercises and where they fit into the overall session.

When you work with people in a pool, the basic principles are the same as with most work outs:  you warm up, you stretch, then you do some exercises to strengthen the whole body, and if there’s a special need to rehab, you focus on those specific rehab exercises.

The Lower Body Exercises can be part of the strengthening exercises.  Start by using just the resistance of the water and gradually add resistance pieces just as you would add weight in the weight room.  The lateral leg raises work the abductors and adductors; the leg swings work hip flexors and gluteals; and the quad extensions and hamstring curls work those named muscle groups.  Step work generally strengthens all the lower body muscles.

If someone has a knee, hip, ankle, foot, or calf injury, however, these same exercises become part of the specific rehab exercises and must be taught gently and with care.  Lateral leg  raises, leg swings, leg circles are perfect for getting an affected hip moving through its normal range of motion again.  Quad extensions and hamstring curls return strength to those muscles as the joint regains mobility.  Step work is wonderful for those with hip and knee problems so they can get back to normal stair climbing in daily life.

Physical therapists, private trainers, water exercise instructors and coaches all use the same exercises, no matter the intended audience – it’s just a matter of how they use the exercises.  Do they do them gently and protect an injury site?  Do they ask for high-intensity work to maintain world-class fitness for competition?  Do they let each student in a class work at their own effort level?  The water is the great equalizer that allows for all of those variations.

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