Tips for developing a great water program
There are really infinite ways to put a good program together and here are some key tips:
- Keep everyone moving. This is an exercise class so either talking at them or letting participants talk – may decrease benefits. Everyone should be able to talk and move (especially the instructor offering instruction).
- Add variety every program to create a balanced program. There are may movements so offer variety and move in each movement plane (front to back, side to side and rotational).
- Always allow enough time to warm up and prepare for the workout. We suggest at least 2-3 songs if the class is with music. Most people need time to adjust to the exercise class especially coming from gravity to buoyancy. Assume that there may be swimmers and non swimmers so teach balance, posture and personal safety skills. The warm up should be performed at a lower intensity than the intended workout to prepare the joints, muscles, heart and mind for the exercise to come.
- Utilize more upbeat songs for cardiovascular training and try and intersperse 2-5 sets of 3-5 minutes of cardio moves if you have an hour program. A healthy heart and moving helps people to feel good.
- Offer muscular conditioning segments to help with muscular strength, endurance and flexibility.
- Offering intervals of CV versus muscle sets or segments will help with recovery heart rate and most importantly provide the participants with a total body program.
- Add easy and fun exercise in between sets and muscle exercises – so people keep moving and want to keep coming back to the program. Have participants choose their favourite exercise.
- Allow everyone to move at their personal best level of intensity or speed. Realize that always going just fast will not train balance and posture. Balance training is key for fall prevention on land.
- Assume that one size does not fit all – show multilevel programming to accommodate all skills and levels of intensity. Start with easiest exercise and add some options to make the exercise more challenging or more intense.
- Check in throughout the program and see how everyone is feeling in terms of energy and intensity. If you need to add intensity or modify an exercise be ready with some ideas or tips to offer each person the opportunity to move at their personal best.