pool pilates exercises

Pool Pilates – Top 10 Exercises with a Noodle

Dive into a refreshing and effective fitness routine with these Pool Pilates exercises, using just a noodle! Ideal for enhancing core strength and flexibility, these exercises are a fun twist on traditional Pilates. Perfect for all fitness levels, this guide to Pool Pilates with a noodle will transform your workout experience, offering low-impact, high-result training. Jump in and feel the difference!

Building on the aquatic fitness theme, it’s important to recognize the unparalleled safety and efficacy of water workouts for core muscle training. The joy of immersing yourself in cool water, a welcome relief during the heat of summer, brings a refreshing dimension to your workout routine. These exercises are not just about beating the heat; they offer a substantial challenge to both your core and upper body muscles. For a comprehensive understanding of the extensive benefits of water workouts, I encourage you to explore my detailed post on the topic available here.

So, what could be more refreshing during the sticky summer months than exercising your core in the pool? Whether you’re looking to cool off or seeking a unique fitness challenge, these workouts are perfect. And don’t let cooler weather deter you – if your pool is heated, you can enjoy these beneficial exercises all year round. Dive in and experience a new and invigorating way to stay fit!

printable pool exercises
Downloadable and Printable Pool Exercises

Take a break from your traditional crunches and planks and try these 10 Pilates-inspired core exercises in the pool. Get ready to experience your abdominal muscles in a whole new way 😉 All you need for this pool Pilates workout is a high-quality noodle.

Pool Pilates Exercise #1: Chest Expansion

Starting position: Standing with feet wide apart, hands on the noodle in front of the body.

Movement: Press the noodle down into the water towards the thighs, then slowly allow it to float back up.

Technique + key points:

  • Expand the chest and avoid rounding inwards of your shoulders.
  • Maintain an upright position with shoulders rights over the hips.
  • Straight arms throughout the exercise. Do not bend at the elbow joints. Exhale to draw the abdominals in as you press the noodle downward.
  • Engage the abdominals and the Gluteal muscles as you press down the noodle.
pool pilates 1

Pool Pilates Exercise #2: Lat Pull

Starting position: Body positioned diagonally from shoulders to ankles with heels off the floor. Long arms in front of the body holding the noodle, about shoulder-width apart.  

Movement: Similar to the first exercise; press the noodle down into the water until the arms perpendicular to the floor with the shoulders right over the hands. 

Technique + key points:

  • Exhale as you press the arms down. 
  • Maintain neutral spine position with no flexion or extension at the hip joints; not shifting backwards or forward with the pelvis. 

Pool Pilates Exercise #3: “Swimming”

Starting position: Body positioned diagonally from shoulders to toes, with the heels off the floor. Hold the noodle under the water with straight arms perpendicular to the floor.  

Movement: Extend one leg backwards and off the floor, alternate right and left; one leg is lowering as the other one on the way up. There is a moment when both legs are suspended.

Technique + key points:

  • Long spine with no hyper-extension at the lower back. Use the Gluteal (butt) muscles to extend the leg and avoid sinking into the lower back.
  • Control the movement; slowly alternating the legs and minimize the jumping off the floor; body should be still and quiet with no bouncing up and down.

Pool Pilates Exercise #4: Plank

Starting position: Float the legs up as you press the noodle down towards the bottom of the pool; arms perpendicular to the ground. The whole body is suspended in the water, parallel to the floor as if you were in a plank position outside of the water.

Movement: Find your balance and try to hold still in this plank position for about 30-60 sec. 

*For greater challenge – close your eyes.

Technique + key points:

  • Maintain the plank position as parallel to the floor as possible, not allowing the legs to sink down.
  • Draw the abdominals in; using the core muscles to stabilize your body in this position. 
  • If you find it very challenging to hold in this position, try to place another noodle under the belly (at the hip crease area) for more flotation support. 

Pool Pilates Exercise #5: Reverse Plank

Starting position: From a sitting position on the noddle, as if sitting on a swing, feet off the floor. Hands on the noodle right next to the hips. 

Movement: Use the arms to press the noodle down towards the bottom; straighten the elbows and the legs; lift the pelvis and shift it forward to a reverse plank position. Then lower the pelvis and go back to sitting on the noodle.

*Beginners variation: The “Chair”- from the same sitting position simply press down the arms so the pelvis is suspended and off the noodle. Maintain the 90°hips and knees position. Hold for 3-4 seconds, and go back down to sitting on the noodle. 

Technique + key points:

  • Make sure the arms pressing down towards the bottom of the pool; arms perpendicular to the floor. 
  • Extend your whole body to a long diagonal line from shoulders to ankles, as parallel to the floor as possible.

Pool Pilates Exercise #6: Reverse Crunch

Starting position: Forward plank position; body suspended and parallel to the floor or with toes down on the floor like shown in the pic. Arms floating on the noodle in front of the body.

Movement: Bend at the hips and knees; tuck the legs in towards the chest, and pull the noodle down to meet the legs (shins). Then open the arms and the legs back to the starting position.

Technique + key points:

  • Move in full range of motion, allowing the body to open up and then to close in.
  • Use the abdominals to move the body inwards to crunch. 
  • Draw the shoulders down away from the ears as you move the arms back and forth. 

Pool Pilates Exercise #7: Side to Side

Starting position: Side Lying with the feet off the floor; body is suspended in a side lying position.

Movement: Tuck the knees in towards the chest, then kick and straighten them over to the other side; side lying. Move from side to side with body suspended off the floor and supported by the noodles.

Technique + key points:

  • Start slow and gradually speed up the pace. 
  • Full range of motion; fully extend the legs out and fully tuck them in close to the chest. 
  • For greater challenge to the oblique muscles – try to send the legs high up to the side, 
  • Body is frontal with no turning and flipping over onto the back or the tummy. 

Pool Pilates Exercise #8: “Walking”

Starting position: Side Lying with the feet off the floor; body is suspended in a side lying position and supported by the noodles.

Movement: Split the legs; one leg flex forward and the other leg extend to the back. Switch and alternate the legs.

Technique + key points:

  • Move from the hip joints with straight legs and feet pointed. No bending in the knees. 
  • Execute big straddles with the legs; full range of motion. 
  • Hold the legs high up to the side, not allowing them to sink down towards the bottom. 
  • Start slow and gradually speed up the pace for greater challenge. 
  • Body is frontal with no turning and flipping over onto the back or the tummy.

Pool Pilates Exercise #9: Teaser

Starting position: Place one noddle between the legs; “riding” on it, and feet on the floor in a V position. With straight arms- hold the ends of other noodle, in-front of the body, in a “rainbow” shape.  

Movement: Lift up the legs until the feet pop out of the water while pulling the noddle half way into the water. Hold this Teaser position for a moment, then lower the legs back down, also releasing the arms; noodle floats back up.

Technique + key points:

  • Try to maintain an upright position with the spine; shoulders over the hips. Don’t lean backwards as much. 
  • Initiate the movement through the pelvis. Tilt the pelvis backwards; tuck the tailbone under and pull the pubic bone up towards the belly button.  
  • Straight arms holding the noodle far away from the chest. Don’t bend the elbows. 
  • Maintain the external rotation at the hips; heels together and toes apart (V position). 
  • Variation: hold the teaser position and execute small and fast pulses with the arms pulling down the noodle.

Pool Pilates Exercise #10: Leg Circles

Starting position: Place one noddle between the legs; “riding” on it, Legs straight forwards suspended off the floor. Hold the other noddle in front of the body for support.

Movement: Split the legs out to the sides, then to the back to close them back together. Tuck the knees in towards the chest and extend them straight forward to repeat the circle again. 

X5-8 circles. Then reverse direction; extend the legs straight to the back, split to the sides and forward to close.

Technique + key points:

  • Legs and feet suspended throughout the exercise. Not touching the bottom of the pool. 
  • Try to hold the legs up as high as possible off the floor, not allowing them to sink as much. 
  • Full range of motion with straight legs, no bending in the knees. 

Dive into the world of Pool Pilates with a noodle for a fun and effective core workout in the water. Perfect for any fitness level, it offers a refreshing twist on classic Pilates, suitable for all seasons. For a visual splash, check out the accompanying YouTube video where I demonstrate these exercises and many more!