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Aquatic Fitness Splash Balls Ideas

Balls are probably one of the easiest pieces of equipment to import into a water class. Now try the new "Water Wildlife" Splash Balls to encourage your participants to enjoy their workout with a child's enthusiasm. These are great for hand exercises which are often overlooked in a program because we wear aquatic mitts for most programs. There are two styles of splash balls - round and the animal creatures. These "critters" provide an opportunity to work with different shaped objects in the water in place of working with the regular round shaped squish balls. Each shape will feel different to the touch and this can add challenge and variety to your program. You can mix and match shapes to work with one or more during a program.

As with the regular small squish balls (sometimes called splash bombs), these are suitable for all ages and abilities and may be incorporated into many programs. 

For example:

  • an active kids program,

  • for training sports enthusiasts,

  • for functional movement for people with arthritis or sessions for older adults.

  • and balls may even be used as a means to attract new participants to your class.


The Splash Balls will provide fun and functional movement while keeping the body moving through the water. They have multi-uses for all components of an aquatic fitness class such as:

  • Cardiovascular training

  • Strengthening

  • Flexibility

  • Coordination

  • Agility

  • Mobility

  • Balance

  • Proprioception

  • and of course FUN!

    HERE ARE SOME IDEAS

Cardiovascular training:
1)
Jog and push the splash ball with one hand. Travel forward, backward sideways and then to change to one hand, then the other hand pushing the ball.

2) Alternate knee lift and pass the ball under the leg. This will also provide a great low back and gluteal stretch. You may even pass under the leg and behind the back -but keep moving!

3) Knee Tuck Jump and pass ball underneath the legs

Strengthening the Forearms
:
Grip strength is key for turning handles, opening jars and keeping the wrist muscular strong to protect and stabilize the wrist. Use the hands to squeeze and squish the ball.  Add some lower body movement to movement for added variety, coordination and thermal regulation. Focus on squeezing the ball every time the ball is passed under the leg, or behind the back or even side to side.

Flexibility:
Stationary pedal march or jog and stretch tall with the small ball in hand, then pull back into chest and repeat with other hand.

With shoulders under the water:  lift one knee and pass the ball under one knee for a low back stretch for the gluteus maximus muscles. Add a double knee tuck and pass the ball under both legs for a deeper and more advanced stretch.

Rock side to side - lean to one side and lift the opposing leg to reach the ball. Repeat from side to side. Elongate and feel the stretch for the pectorals and anterior deltoid muscles of the chest and front  of the shoulder. 

Hand & eye coordination:
Walk and throw up from hand to hand. Pass the ball over the head, behind the back, under the leg.

Mobility & Agility:
Ball toss and catch on one foot

Try Partners with Ball Toss:

Each throw to partner at the same time and catch with opposite hand
This is great for coordination for kids and the young at heart

Balance:
Stand on one leg and toss a ball with one hand or one hand to the other. Be sure not to hop when training balance. Keep the body still so that the core can engage properly for balance and posture training. Hold different body positions and try again..

Realize that balls may not be suitable for all participants and/or all classes and some people may not enjoy the "splash". Splash balls fill with water so remind your clients to squeeze out the water prior to tossing the ball. The goal is not to splash or put water in someone  face or even your own face.

Additionally, instructors must choose appropriate movements to target the intended purpose and goals for the clientele. Making sure that you have a good balanced program is important in water because the goal of water exercise is to train for functional and active living on land.

Realize that even a 5-10 minute session in a class may be enough to provide variety and stimulus for new exercises and training benefits.

There may be some in the class who don't keep their eyes on the ball when working with a partner. These people may automatically turn the head away when the ball is thrown in their direction. So, be sure to provide a reminder or even give individual training prior to partner work. If there is an odd number of participants -jump in to be the partner for the odd person or ideally with someone who is less able to work with a more active partner. If there is an even number of participants, an instructor may work in a group of three or circulate between the pairs to demonstrate or offer more help. Splash balls are truly interactive, so be sure to get in the pool and participate with your group.

All exercises and movements should be evaluated for safety, and effectiveness for the exercise objective. All components of your program should promote functional, healthy and injury free exercise where everyone completes the program feeling relaxed, rejuvenated and ready to come back for more.

For more fun and functional ideas  check out DVD068 - Teamwork, Partners and Games as well as the new DVD086 - Aquatic Personal Trainer Program.

DVD024-Kids Fitness Program 

    
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