Water weights are used for water aerobics and other kinds of aquatic activities that are added to many modern fitness programs. Water weights are specific weighted tools designed to be used underwater. Rather than being made of heavy metals, like traditional free weights, water weights may incorporate foam elements to provide specific resistance underwater.
Using Water Weights
The idea of water weights relates to the general idea of what experts call resistance training. Resistance is simply the force that acts against a limb or body part to challenge the body. In many types of exercise, including exercises with free weights, resistance bands, fixed weight machines, and other tools, the resistance is provided by weight; and the force of gravity is what the body is working against.
Physical fitness experts have found that aquarobics and other water activities provide a unique opportunity for resistance training.
What happens in traditional resistance training is that the limbs and muscles may be tempted to move more quickly or suddenly than they should. This is a problem that has been known to cause workout injuries. However, for some fitness participants, including the elderly, injuries can happen even with the proper use of form in free weight activities, when the resistance becomes too great for a muscle group.
Water workouts provide a lot of injury protection. When someone works out underwater, her limbs and muscles are naturally limited to a slower pace of movement, and the more intense effects of gravity are blunted by the “buffer impact” of the denser aquatic environment. The water guides movements to prevent some kinds of injuries.
Water Weights and Additional Resistance
Those who are working out underwater use water weights to provide more resistance than just the resistance of the water. Additional resistance helps strengthen muscles faster and helps with promoting better bone density and overall body responses. Water weights can be hand-held free weights, or attached to the ankles, wrists, and even the torso, as in the case of a weighted vest. Fixed or attached weights serve a different purpose from those that are actively managed by participants in hand-held exercises such as bicep curls.
Another type of water weights helps with special swimming forms. These are called kick boards or pull buoys. A kick board helps to isolate the lower body by allowing the upper body to float, so the swimmer uses the legs exclusively. With a pull buoy, the idea is reversed and the lower body floats while the swimmer swims with the arms.
Aside from helping to prevent injury, water aerobics with water weights provide much more balanced training options. Trainers also point out that working out under water helps participants avoid a lot of the effects of the sweating that occurs along with exertion.
Personal trainers and other experts can help clients build specific water weight training programs that suit their specific needs. These new kinds of workouts can help those with limited range of motion or vulnerable joints and muscles to work out safely in an aquatic environment.