With summer coming, and the weather warming up, households across the United States are beginning to open up pools. Of course pools are a great tool for cooling off and relaxing during hot summer days, but the benefits they have on one’s physical fitness are immense as well. There are a plethora of both cardiovascular and strength exercises that one can do in a pool, and here are few of our favorites.

Jumping Jacks

Jumping jacks are one of the best full-body workouts one can perform when in the pool. The jumping motion combined with the natural resistance provided by the water makes for a full body strength and cardio workout, with no extra equipment needed! 3 sets of 8-12 repetitions will have you sweating, as well as provide a tremendous strength exercise!

Tricep Dips

The pool is also a great location for those who may struggle with joint pain, as for some exercises such as dips, the water helps remove natural resistance. Joint pain or not, when done right pool dips are still a tremendous way to get a pump in your arms. The motion is simple, place your palms on the edge of the pool with your elbows tight to your body, and push yourself up out of the water. For those who are more advanced, hold yourself up out of the water for a few seconds before lowering back in, this will only add to the burn. These dips are a great way to work arm strength from the pool, while simultaneously alleviating joint pain.

Leg Lifts

These leg lifts are a tremendous exercise to work on leg strength while engaging the ABS. To do these, sit on the edge of the pool with your legs out in front of you. Place your legs in the pool with your toes pointed and legs locked, and then lift the legs out of the water in this same formation. To engage the core, make sure your hands are not touching the ground, and you are relying solely on core and leg strength to lift out of the water. Do three sets of this for 10-15 reps, and you’ll have completed an outstanding exercise for both ABS and leg strength.

Zig-Zag Runs

Of all the exercises listed, I would argue that this one does the best job of taking advantage of the pool environment, and quite frankly, is the most fun. This exercise takes place in the shallow end of the pool, preferably in waist-high water. To start one from one end of the pool to the other in a zig-zag pattern, aggressively cutting from left to right. This will create a strong, wavy current in the water that you will use as resistance. Once you have reached the end of the pool, run in a straight line through the current that you have just created. This will provide extreme resistance on the jog, raising the heart rate and burning the legs. It is best done in three minute intervals with one minute of rest.

The Pool Gym

As effective as exercising IN the pool can be, exercising on the pool deck can be equally beneficial. A few portable exercise machines like the Ab Coaster and X3S make for the perfect pool circuit. Hit a set on the Ab Coaster and then jump in the pool for a lap. Do some X3S Squats and then your pool runs. The options are limitless and the benefits are fantastic!

When used correctly, pools can truly be an outstanding fitness resource. The resistance provided by the water works to improve joint health, as well as build strength and cardio simultaneously. So, before you relax on a pool raft in the hot sun, make sure to get a workout in!