Aquatics is a mode of physical training which helps one attain and maintain physical fitness through exercises in the water. It is sometimes called slimnastics. Aquatic training can improve muscular endurance, CR endurance, flexibility, coordination, and muscular strength.
Because of its very low impact to the body, an aquatic exercise program is ideal for soldiers who are overweight and those who are limited due to painful joints, weak muscles, or profiles. The body’s buoyancy helps minimize injuries to the joints of the lower legs and feet. It exercises the whole body without jarring the bones and muscles. Leaders can tailor the variety and intensity of the exercises to the needs of all the soldiers in the unit.
Aquatic training is a good supplement to a unit’s PT program. Not only is it fun, it exposes soldiers to water and can make them more comfortable around it. Most Army installations have swimming pools for conducting aquatic, physical training sessions.
One qualified lifeguard is needed for every 40 soldiers at all aquatic training sessions. Nonswimmers must remain in the shallow end of the pool. They should never exercise in the deep end with or without flotation devices.
Soldiers normally wear swim suits for aquatics, but they can wear boots and fatigues to increase the intensity of the activities. The following equipment is optional for training:
– Pull buoy.
– Ear/nose plugs.
– Hand paddles.
SAMPLE TRAINING PROGRAM
As in any PT session, a warm-up is required. It can be done in the water or on the deck. Allow five to seven minutes for the warm-up.
Soldiers should exercise vigorously to get a training effect. Energetic music may be used to keep up the tempo of the workout. The following are some exercises that can be used in an aquatic workout. (See Figure 8-21.)
Side Leg-Raises. Stand in chest to shoulder-deep water with either side of the body at arm’s length to the wall of the pool, and grasp the edge with the nearest hand. Raise the outside leg sideward and upward from the hip. Next, pull the leg down to the starting position. Repeat these actions. Then, turn the other side of the body to the wall, and perform the exercise with the other leg. DURATION: 30 seconds (15 seconds per leg).
Leg-Over. Stand in chest-to shoulder-deep water, back facing the wall of the pool. Reach backward with the arms extended, and grasp the pool’s edge. Next, raise one leg in front of the body away from the wall, and move it sideward toward the other leg as far as it can go. Then, return the leg to the front-extended position, and lower it to the starting position. Repeat these actions with the other leg, and continue to alternate legs. DURATION: 30 seconds ( 15 seconds per leg).
Rear Leg Lift. Stand in chest-to shoulder-deep water with hands on the pool’s edge, chest to the wall. Raise one leg back and up from the hip, extend it, and point the foot. Then, pull the leg back to the starting position. Alternate these actions back and forth with each leg. DURATION: 20 seconds (10 seconds each leg).
Alternate Toe Touch. Stand in waist-deep water. Raise the left leg as in kicking while touching the elevated toe with the right hand. At the same time, rotate the head toward the left shoulder, and push the left arm backward through the water. Alternate these actions back and forth with each leg and opposite hand. DURATION 2 minutes.
Side Straddle Hop. Stand in waist-deep water with hands on hips and feet together. Jump sideward and land with feet about two feet apart. Then, return to the starting position, and repeat the jumping action. DURATION 2 minutes.
Stride Hop. Stand in waist-deep water with hands on hips and feet together. Jump, moving the left leg forward and right leg backward. Then, jump again moving the right leg forward and left leg backward. Repeat these actions. DURATION 2 minutes.
The Bounce. Stand in waist-deep water with hands on hips and feet together. Jump high with feet together. Upon landing, use a bouncing motion, and repeat the action. DURATION: 1 minute.
Rise on Toes. Stand in chest-to shoulder-deep water with arms at sides and feet together. Rise up using the toes. Then, lower the body to the starting position. Repeat the action. DURATION: 1 minute.
Side Bender. Stand in waist-deep water with the left arm at the side and the right arm extended straight overhead. Stretch slowly, bending to the left. Recover to the starting position, and repeat the action. Next, reverse to the right arm at the side and the left arm extended straight overhead. Repeat the stretching action to the right side. DURATION: 1 minute.
Walking Crawl. Walk in waist- to chest-deep water. Simulate the overhand crawl stroke by reaching out with the left hand cupped and pressing the water downward to the thigh. Repeat the action with the right hand. Alternate left and right arm action. DURATION: 2 minutes.
Bouncing. Stand in chest-deep water, arms at sides. Bounce on the left foot while pushing down vigorously with both hands. Repeat the action with the right foot. Alternate bouncing on the left and right foot. DURATION: 2 minutes.
Bounding in Place with Alternate Arm Stretch, Forward. Bound in place in waist-deep water using high knee action. Stretch the right arm far forward when the left knee is high and the left arm is stretched backward. When the position of the arm is reversed, simulate the action of the crawl stroke by pulling down and through the water with the hand. DURATION 1 minute.
Poolside Knees Up, Supine. Stand in chest-to shoulder-deep water, back against the wall of the pool. Extend the arms backward, and grasp the pool’s edge. With feet together, extend the legs in front of the torso, and assume a supine position. Then with the legs together, raise the knees to the chin. Return to the starting position, and repeat the action. DURATION: 2 minutes (maximum effort).
Twisting Legs, Supine. Stand in chest-to shoulder-deep water, back against the wall of the pool. Extend the arms backward, and grasp the pool’s edge. With feet together, extend the legs in front of the torso, and assume a supine position. Then, twist the legs slowly to the left, return to the starting position, and twist the legs slowly to the right. Repeat this twisting action. DURATION: 1 minute (2 sets, 30 seconds each).
Scissor Kick. Float in chest- to shoulder-deep water on either side of the body with the top arm extended, hand holding the pool’s edge. Brace the bottom hand against the pool’s wall with feet below the water’s surface. Next, assume a crouching position by bringing the heels toward the hips by bending the knees. Then, straighten and spread the legs with the top leg extending backward. When the legs are extended and spread, squeeze them back together (scissoring). Pull with the top hand, and push with the bottom hand. The propulsive force of the kick will tend to cause the body to rise to the water’s surface. DURATION 1 minute (2 sets, 30 seconds each, maximum effort).
Push Away. Stand in chest- to shoulder-deep water facing the pool’s wall and at arm’s length from it. Grasp the pool’s edge, and bend the arms so that the body is leaning toward the wall of the pool. Vigorously push the chest back from the wall by straightening he arms. Then, with equal vigor, pull the upper body back to the wall. Repeat these actions. DURATION: 2 minutes (maximum effort).
Gutter Push-Ups. Stand in chest- to shoulder- deep water facing the pool’s wall. Place the hands on the edge or gutter of the pool. Then, raise the body up and out of the water while extending the arms. Repeat this action. DURATION: 2 minutes (4 sets, 30 seconds each with 5-second rests between sets).
Front Flutter Kick. Stand in chest- to shoulder-deep water facing the pool’s wall. Grasp the pool’s edge or gutter and assume a prone position with legs extended just below the water’s surface. Then, kick flutter style, toes pointed, ankles flexible, knee joint loose but straight. The legs should simulate a whip’s action. DURATION 1 minute (2 sets, 30 seconds each).
Running. Move in a running gait in chest-to shoulder-deep water with arms and hands under the water’s surface. This activity can be stationary, or the exerciser may run from poolside to poolside. Runners must concentrate on high knee action and good arm movement. DURATION 10 to 20
The Engine. Stand in chest-to shoulder-deep water, arms straight and in front of the body and parallel to the water with the palms facing downward. While walking forward, raise the left knee to the left elbow, then return to the starting position. Continuing to walk forward, touch the right knee to the right elbow, and return to the starting position. Be sure to keep the arms parallel to the water throughout the exercise. DURATION 1 to 2 minutes (2 sets).
Cool-Down. This is required to gradually bring the body back to its pre-exercise state. It should last from five to seven minutes.