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Swim Fitness Made Simple - Water Sit Ups Crunches Train Your Abs in the Pool

Updated on March 25, 2016

Time after time, my clients demand more abdominal target toning. The program we have here is superb - it specifically targets the abdominals, the lower abdominals and the very difficult to target ton - the obliques. The EZ Swimmer is one of the most multi-functional fitness tools in the marketplace and for abdominal target toning it is outstanding.

One of my clients named the target toning for the obliques the "Alligator" - it is very appropriate. A wonderful exercise that is simple and easy to do and very effective. Another benefit of the Alligator exercise movement in the water is increases cardio. Arms are moving, legs are moving, heart rate is up.


exercise diagram of curving the back for sit-ups in the water
exercise diagram of curving the back for sit-ups in the water
parts of the swim board EZ Swimmer labelled detailing the back and front ridges and the flat area
parts of the swim board EZ Swimmer labelled detailing the back and front ridges and the flat area

More Abdominal Target Toning - In the Swimming Pool

The series of abdominal movements are best combined because each movement sets you up for the next. It is recommended to perform in sets of 12-15 with rest and/or change ups in between.

Mix Up Your Exercise Program - Change Your Water Aerobics Equipment

Every six weeks, remember, you need to mix up your exercise program. Our muscle quickly become attuned to our routine. To keep your muscles active, do change it up and target the obliques or target the lower abs - switch it up and you will have a much better fitness program.

The obliques with the EZ Swimmer in the pool are very challenging and yet both your neck and your back will not feel any strain (with proper form of course).

The barbells are wonderful, the larger noodles too - the row boat exercise is loved by one and all. The pendulum is my personal barbell favorite.

exercise diagram showing the muscles engaged during a sit-up
exercise diagram showing the muscles engaged during a sit-up | Source

Upper and Oblique Abdominal -- Human Anatomy

Human Anatomy - Upper Abdominal s Highlighted in Bluee
Human Anatomy - Upper Abdominal s Highlighted in Bluee | Source
Human Anatomy - Oblique Muscles Highlighted in Blue
Human Anatomy - Oblique Muscles Highlighted in Blue | Source

Lower Abdominals

lower abdominal muscles highlighted in green on mail human body
lower abdominal muscles highlighted in green on mail human body

Posture Pointers Train Your Abs Crunch (TYAC)

1 - Back and shoulders hunch inward to create a crunch position.

2 - Knees bent.

3 - Push with your elbows - "I dream of Jeannie" arms.

Variations: Change your Jeannie arms to a hand hold. Change your legs to a scissor movement. Move your hands to the lower ridge, push the fitness tool down toward your ankles, legs stable. Change your legs to a scissor movement. And the ultimate for the obliques is the "alligator" movement, legs are flutter kick, move the fitness tool from side to side - hands on the side between the upper and lower ridges.

Swim FitnessTerms

Land = "Crunches"

Water = "Train Your Abs Crunch"


Difference = The water offers NO support for your back - we must make sure the abs are in engaged not the back muscles!

Instructors Cue: If you feel your back engaged stop immediately - this exercise is only for the abdominal muscles.

3 Parts to the Abdominal Muscles - 3 Target Zones

Our abdominal muscles are really comprised of three different target zones. These three groups are diagrammed for us at the right. The 3 muscles groups to target comprise:

  1. The upper abdominals
  2. The lower abdmonals
  3. The obliques

Differences Between Land and Water Target Toning

The differences between land water target toning are generally more similarities than differences. For abdominal work, however, there is one fact we must be aware of and counter balance. Within the water, our back has no support. In order to prevent our body from activating or engaging the lower back muscles, we must keep our knees bent. This serves as a strong reminder to our body that we are targeting our abdominal muscles.

During abdominal target toning as an instructor, I always remind my clients to keep their knees bent and I also specify if you feel any pain in your lower back stop immediately and change your position.

Water Aerobics Variations - Total of 5 Exercises Targeting the Abdominals

Five fabulous abominal exercises that will burn up your abdominals and target tone right in the water the 3 muscle groups within our abdominals.

Water Aerobics Variation #1 - TYAC Start out with Jeannie arms, arms crossed, knees bent and shoulders hunched. Press down at your elbows. Reminder always start target toning AFTER a great warm-up.

Water Aerobics Variation #2 - TYAC with legs "jumping jack" or "scissor legs" movement. Same position for the arms, pressing down at the elbows, simply add in a scissor leg. You will feel your abdominals fully engaged.

Water Aerobics Variation #3 - Lower Abs Crunch (LAC) lower abdominal crunch. For the Lower Abs Crunch, we simply move our hands to the lower ridge and press the fitness tool horizontal - moving the fitness tool from our upper body towards our ankles.

Move hands to lower ridge push fitness tool toward the ankles, the movement is a slide or horizontal movement of the fitness tool.

Water Aerobics Variation #4 - LAC hands on the lower Ridge "jumping jacks". Change it up and add in the leg movement.

Water Aerobics Variation #5 - Alligator Obliques

This movement is an alternating movement of the fitness tool from left to right, from one side of your body to the next. Very similar movement to the land twist where your shoulders are alternating.

Five fantastic abdominal exercises that target the sections of the abs - the six pack, the lower abs and the obliques. All without the strain associated with crunches on land. Safe, comfortable almost fun (it is allot of hard work I won't fool you) and very effective too!

Land Abdominal - Plank Exercise

Alligator Abs

Water Aerobics Variation #5 - Alligator Abs - Targeting the Abdominal Obliques

This movement is an alternating movement of the fitness tool from left to right, from one side of your body to the next. Very similar movement to the land twist where your shoulders are alternating - see the land video detailing the plank - add water and a fitness tool such as the EZ Swimmer for more resistance and you are now targeting the obliques.

Men and women alike love this movement because it is very results orientated.  Your water exercise clients will ask for it.  It is simple and effective.  I leave this movement to the very end because it does get your hair a little wet - your face stays completely dry.  Like many of the movements with the EZ Swimmer, It is a very active movement.  The Alligator Abs™ will not only target your abdominal muscles but since you have all long levers - arms going across the body, legs stabilizing, you will find your heart rate increase - great cardio movement.

Five Fantastic Abdominal Exercises

Five fantastic abdominal exercises that target the sections of the abs - the six pack, the lower abs and the obliques. All without the strain associated with crunches on land. Safe, comfortable almost fun (it is allot of hard work I won't fool you) and very effective too!

Helpful Swim Fitness Tip

Colofrul poster yellow on blue "Caution: for Those with back backs, always keep your knees bent to tell your body to engage your abs and not your back muscles"
Colofrul poster yellow on blue "Caution: for Those with back backs, always keep your knees bent to tell your body to engage your abs and not your back muscles"

Swimming with the Swim Board EZ Swimmer

Two Young Brunette  Girls Swimming with the Swim Board EZ Swimmer
Two Young Brunette Girls Swimming with the Swim Board EZ Swimmer
Two Young Brunette  Girls Swimming with the Swim Board EZ Swimmer
Two Young Brunette Girls Swimming with the Swim Board EZ Swimmer

Swim Fitness Exercise TIp

Swim Fitness Exercise TIp - Colorful Poster - Aqua Lettering on Blue "Key to the crunch is the hunch"
Swim Fitness Exercise TIp - Colorful Poster - Aqua Lettering on Blue "Key to the crunch is the hunch"

EZ Swimmer Water Aerobics Fitness Tool - Target Toning at Its Very Best!

Key to the Crunch is the Hunch - Create a Curve with Your Upper Back


Just as on land, the key to engaging/contracting our abdominal muscles is the positioning of our body. We must actively move our shoulders inward to create a "hunch" or crunch inward in order to engage the abs.

You can also imagine creating a letter C with your body with your upper back rounded and shoulder hunched.

Sample Crunch on Land

I realize you probably are not in the pool as you read this. So to give you feel for the crunch, let's try it on land first.

Step 1: Lying face up on the floor.

Step 2: Bend your knees.

Step 3: Hunch your upper back.

Step 4: The exercise movement begins by curling your shoulders towards your pelvis. Your hands can be behind or beside your neck or crossed over the chest.

Reminder: Do not push against your head and/or neck with your hands. This added force may cause injury. Simply rest your hand on your hands. The movement is from your abdominals not from your hands or your shoulders.

Land Variations

Twisting Crunch & The Alligator

To put more emphasis on the obliques, try the "twisting crunch" by lifting one shoulder at a time. This change in the movement, places more emphasis is placed on the obliques. It is this movement that the movement called the Alligator replicates.

Reverse Crunch

On land , we can reverse this crunch movement by activating the legs and bringing the legs up to the chest.

Abdominal Crunches

Exercise Tip - Curve the Back to Best Engage the Muscle

Brunette Girl with Arms Out Straight Performing a Sit Up with a Curved Back to Engage the Abdominal s
Brunette Girl with Arms Out Straight Performing a Sit Up with a Curved Back to Engage the Abdominal s | Source

Target Toning Water Aerobics with the EZ Swimmer

Differences between a Crunch and a Sit-up

"Unlike the sit-up, when performing a crunch the lower back should not leave the floor. This is said to eliminate any involvement by the hip flexors, and make the crunch an effective isolation exercise for the abdominals. The difficulty of the crunch can be increased by lying on a declined bench and/or holding a weight on the chest or behind the head." source: wikipedia.com

Exercise Tip - Proper Form for the Sit-up

Black and White Photos of a Man Starting and Ending with Proper Form for a Sit-up
Black and White Photos of a Man Starting and Ending with Proper Form for a Sit-up | Source
Beautiful Female Body in White Swim Suit with Strong Muscles
Beautiful Female Body in White Swim Suit with Strong Muscles | Source

Water Aerobics - Take Your Workout to the Water

Swim fitness (a much better term than water aerobics because it highlights the various programs and levels of intensity that is offered in the swimming pool) offers the very best exercise program. Taking your workout to the water, helps mix up your muscles, add a large dash of fun to your exercise program - all while delivering great results for both cardio and target toning. Water aerobics is stellar with cardio and the water can also be stellar for your target toning too!

Water Aerobics Fitness Tool
Water Aerobics Fitness Tool

In Appreciation

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exercisedfortheabdominals.com

losemytummy.com

completeweightloss.net

badrss.com

askthetrainer.com


© 2010 Kelly Kline Burnett

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