|Uniting AEA’s IAFC with ATRI’s Symposium, the International Aquatic Fitness & Therapy Conference allows you to customize the week of training to suit your needs – therapy, fitness, or both. Here is a highlight of one of the fitness-focused sessions being offered at IAFTC 2023 in Orlando, Florida (April 30-May 5) from Italian Aqua Fitness Expert Manuela Ragnoli, BS.|
|The abs are a part of the body that everyone wants to train, often for aesthetic reasons. And undoubtedly, the core must be trained for essential reasons. Due to greater safety and less joint loading, aquatic training can be ideal for core training.|
However, training the core in the aquatic environment may not be as intuitive as other muscles in our body. This is because water’s buoyancy is just the opposite of gravity we experience on land, so it is not always easy to translate training in the water to achieve correct muscle activation. Let’s analyze step by step, with the help of recent scientific research, the best options to train the core muscles in the water.
The vector of buoyancy goes from the bottom of the pool to the water’s surface. Therefore, water facilitates most upward activities. Reproducing the “crunch” exercise from a vertical position can be helpful but let’s explore a more widespread concept of the core and how to train more effectively.
“Core” in English means “nucleus,” but the word doesn’t have an anatomical definition because it involves a large area of the body. It includes the abdominal muscles (rectus abdominis, internal & external obliques, and transverse abdominis), the paraspinal muscles, the quadrates lumborum, the pelvic muscles, the gluteals, and the hip flexor group. Stabilization of the core is achieved “from the inside out” by the diaphragm muscle.
The core, the center of the body, is the starting point where all movements originate. Any movement of the extremities puts the core out of balance. In the same way, any global gesture implies a transmission of forces through a kinetic chain that the core will influence.
Exercise in the aquatic environment is frequently prescribed for people with low back pain. Buoyancy reduces joint loading, yet viscosity adds greater muscle loading. The erector spinae muscle group achieves greater activation in water than on land because of the instability of the environment. Integrated movements, such as walking in shallow water (water depth at the xiphoid process) or running in deep water, increases core activation because of the turbulence created by the movements.
So, in summary, to effectively target the core muscles in the water, choose integrated exercises, take advantage of the instability and turbulence of the water, and follow established training principles:
• Water immersion at the xiphoid process
• 2-5 sets with 8-15 repetitions
• When monitoring intensity through RPE, use the maximum velocity possible
AUTHOR Manuela Ragnoli is one of AEA’s amazing IAFTC 2023 Presenters. Find out more about Manuela and the sessions she is offering here.