Aqua Pilates, also called water Pilates or pool Pilates, is easier on your joints while the water increases the resistance of the moves, enhancing benefits for your muscles. This type of Pilates differs from the traditional version because the exercises are done standing up because you can't do mat work in the water. Talk to your doctor before beginning a new exercise routine.
Poolates squats work the muscles in your legs, core and buttocks. To perform, stand in the shallow end of the pool with your feet at hip width on a kickboard. Hold your arms out at shoulder level to help you keep your balance. Holding the kickboard in place with your feet, squat down until your thighs are parallel with the bottom of the pool. Hold the pose for 30 seconds then return to the starting position to complete one repetition. Do 10 repetitions to finish a set.
Planks are an integral part of the Pilates program and work your core. Aqua Pilates planks are modified for the pool. To perform, stand with your feet hip-width apart and place both hands on a foam pool noodle or other flotation device. Push the item out in front of you until your arms are straight. Move your feet backward as far as possible, keeping your back and legs straight and your feet flat on the pool floor. Hold the pose for 15 to 30 seconds.
The Pilates frog exercise strengthens and tones the muscles in your stomach, back, buttocks and legs. To do a frog, stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width, toes turned out and arms extended at shoulder level. Squat, raise your body onto the balls of your feet and straighten your legs without dropping your heels. Once your knees are loosely locked, drop your heels to the pool floor. This completes one repetition. Repeat the frog move eight times.
A Pilates mermaid, also called a side stretch, is ideal for the pool since it can be done standing up, although the traditional version is done sitting on a mat. To do the move, stand with your feet at hip-width. Extend one arm above your head, with your ear and elbow aligned. To stabilize yourself, grip a foam pool noodle with the other hand and push it straight down into the water until your arm is straight at your side. Lean over and stretch your arm to the opposite side of your body. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and repeat with your other arm above your head.