Looking better in a bathing suit could be as simple as putting one on and jumping into the pool. Moving through water is cardio and resistance training combined, and you don't have to lift a weight. Water provides about 15 times more resistance than doing the same moves on land, says Mary E. Sanders, PhD, an associate professor in exercise science at the University of Nevada, Reno, and director of WaterFit International. "The harder you press during an exercise, the more resistance the water provides, so you can tailor the workout for how you feel at that moment," says Sanders.
What's more, research shows that exercising in water improves flexibility while relieving stress. "Water tones the whole body, yet it also relaxes you, so it's ideal for people with injuries and back problems," says Nicole Forsythe, a water fitness instructor at the Delano Hotel's David Barton Gym in Miami, who put together this 30-minute aqua circuit. Perform it in less than 4 feet of water and you'll get toned—no swimming required.
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Warm up by walking as fast as you can in the pool for 5 minutes or by doing high knee lifts for 3 minutes. Then complete three sets of each move, resting 15 seconds between each set. To boost intensity and calorie burn, throw in 3 minutes of high knee lifts after every two exercises. Repeat the entire workout 3 days a week, and soon you'll be leaving that cover-up behind.
Dips (Targets chest, back, triceps, and shoulders)
A. Place palms flat on pool edge or grab gutter. Do a little hop and raise yourself up as high as you can by straightening arms. Hold position for a few seconds. B. Keeping elbows close to body, lower yourself until elbows form 90-degree angles. Don't let feet touch pool bottom. Raise and lower yourself for 10 to 20 reps.
Arm Curls (Strengthens biceps and triceps)
A. Stand with feet slightly turned out and far enough apart so shoulders are partly submerged. Position arms so palms face chest, a few inches away, and fingertips touch. B. Moving from elbow, extend arms out to sides (like a door swinging open on a hinge) so that palms now face forward and arms are parallel to pool bottom. Close arms to complete one rep. Do 20 reps.
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Leg Curls (Firms hamstrings and calves)
A. Stand with legs together. Extend arms out to sides and hold edge of pool with one hand for balance (not pictured). B. Bending left knee, try to touch heel to butt. Lower and repeat with right leg to complete one rep. Do 20 reps. Jumps (Firms thighs and butt)
A. Stand with feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Squat low enough so shoulders are under water. Keep arms out to sides for balance. B. Jump straight up, lowering arms and squeezing butt as you go, and bring legs together at top of jump. Land in starting position. Do 20 reps.
Leg Lifts (Tones abs)
A. Sit on edge of pool with legs straight down. (Water should come to about midthigh.) Lean back slightly, with hands behind body for support. B. Keeping legs straight, lift them above surface to form a V with your body. Point toes and keep legs together at all times. Lower legs to starting position. Do 10 to 20 reps. Scissors (Firms thighs, hips, and abs)
A. Lean back against pool wall, grasping edge for support. Raise legs so they're parallel to pool bottom, then spread legs as wide as possible. B. Squeezing inner thighs, bring legs together, crossing left leg over right. Contracting outer thighs, open back up to starting position. Repeat, crossing right leg over left, to complete one rep. Do 20 reps.
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