Five Essential Aqua Pilates Exercises

January 22, 2024

Aqua Pilates is a new form of exercise that is taking the world by storm. These simple, but effective, workouts really do strengthen your core and allow you to be at your best in your daily life. Taking these exercises into the water increases their effectiveness and will have a huge effect on your workout.

But everyone tackles Aqua Pilates in a different way, with their own unique spin. It can be hard to know where to begin your Aqua Pilates journey. Fortunately, we’re here to help! We’ve taken the five most essential Aqua Pilates exercises for beginners and broke them below. If you start here, you’ll be a champ in no time.


A simple exercise that will work a surprising number of muscles, the 50:50 is a great way to warm up. Start by walking into the shallow end of the pool, about chest-deep in water. Keeping your left leg straight, swing it backwards and raise it so your toes are between 6 and 12 inches off the pool bottom. Keeping your back straight, with your neck in line with your spine, inhale for a count of five and swing your arms forward and back at your side, while keeping them straight. Continue this process as you exhale for another count of five. This is one rep.

Switch legs and repeat the process. Do so for about five on each leg, or more if you’d like to challenge yourself.

Abdominal Stability Pressdown

Using a pair of water dumbbells, stand in the shallow end of the pool with your feet roughly shoulder distance apart. Lean forward in the water, arms outstretched, using the dumbbells for support as you do so. Engage your core as you lean forward, your stomach muscles tight and strong. Try and lean forward as far as possible, ideally under your heels leave the floor of the pool. Return to a stand position. Repeat for about fifteen reps.


While this is a basic exercise that most people are familiar with, in Aqua Pilates, we like to take this exercise up a notch. Standing on a kickboard, feet hip-length apart in the shallow end, arms out on either side for balance, squat down until your thighs are as close to parallel to the pool floor as possible. Hold for 30 seconds. Then stand up straight. Do this for ten reps.

Make sure to allow plenty of space around you in the pool in case you lose your balance!


Using a standard noodle, swim out to the deep end. Lean back on the noodle, using it for floatation, and bring your feet up to roughly degrees. Engage the muscles in your core, and swing your arms under you in quick little movements forward and back. Breathe in for a count of five, and breath out for a count of five.

Walking Dead

Don’t worry, we won’t make any zombie puns here! Though, the exercise should remind you of a zombie’s movements. Starting in the shallow end of the pool, facing the deep end, stand with your feet about hips width apart. Raise your right leg until it is as close to hips height as possible, toes forward. Lower it in front of you, taking a step forward. Repeat on the left side. Do this for about ten steps.

If your pool is not long enough for you to do so, go as deep as you can, and then walk side to side until you reach your desired number of reps.

There’s More!

These are just some of the starting exercises for your Aqua Pilates journey. There are a large number of exercises available to Aqua Pilates instructors, so do not be alarmed if your class is doing different exercises than the ones here. Enjoy the workout, and reap the benefits!

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