How to Teach Water Aerobics


Water aerobics is one of the easiest forms of group exercise to teach. There is no need to worry about keeping to the beat of the music or developing complicated routines. During deep water aerobics instructors often teach from the pool deck, use upbeat music and create a comfortable, yet challenging workout for beginner and advanced participants.

Things You'll Need

  • Music
  • Weight belts
  • Aquatic hand weights
  • Plan to make the class last between 45 and 60 minutes depending on the scheduled allowance. Include a warm-up and cool down in this time. Teach from the pool deck so when you demonstrate arm and leg movements your students can see them.

  • Select music designed for water aerobics. The speed usually ranges from about 108 to 120 beats per minute. Set the volume at a level which can be heard by participants, but does not overpower your voice. You want participants to be able to clearly hear your instructions.

  • Instruct your class to put on weight belts and to take a set of aquatic hand weights and set them near the side of the pool. Then instruct them to get in the water. Allow participants to warm up by jogging in place or simply treading water. Have them form a circle and rotate to the right and then to the left, treading water.

  • Tell students to move back and forth across the pool doing a combination of movements. Have them do each movement for about 3 to 5 minutes before switching. Have them perform cross country ski-type moves, jogging with knees up and jogging with heels kicking the buttocks.

  • Bring class to the center facing you. In place, have the group perform underwater jumping jacks and frog jumps with the legs. Alternate, performing each move for about 3 minutes.

  • Instruct the group to grab their hand weights. Repeat the movements used for moving back and forth across the pool for 3 to 5 minutes each now using their hand weights to create extra resistance.

  • Tell the class to move to the edge of the pool, setting the weights on the deck. Each person should grasp the pool wall and complete wall pull ups, mountain climbers along the surface of the wall and flutter kicks behind them. Do each move for 3 to 5 minutes before switching.

  • Bring the group to the center facing you and have them tread water slowly to cool down for about 3 minutes. Move to the shallow water, ask everyone to remove their belts and perform stretches for all major muscle groups. You should be on the deck and the class should be standing on the pool floor in about waist high water.

Tips & Warnings

  • Demonstrate each move from the deck. Consider using a chair to sit on when demonstrating moves using both arms and legs. If you have obese participants they may not need to wear a weight belt. Often their body fat serves as enough support to keep them up while in the deep water.
  • Be careful not to slip while instructing from the pool deck. Wear tennis shoes for traction on the wet surface. Avoid letting too much time drag between instructions. Keep conversation going with the class and continue to motivate them by cheering them on.

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  • Photo Credit Pedro Jose Perez,
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