There are many fun and effective exercises to do with pool noodles, ranging from beginner to advanced. These include exercises for toning, aerobic movements and balance practice. Some health conditions can be aggravated with pool noodles, so be ready to modify for those participants.
Try the single leg pump. Hold the noodle in a “U” shape and submerge it. Raise a bent leg up and put the arch of your foot on the bottom of the “U”, like in a stirrup. Release your hands. Your hip and knee are bent at a 90-degree angle, with your foot depressing the “U” of the noodle. Push, or pump, the noodle down and up 20 to 30 times. Repeat with the other leg.
Step 2 Do this balancing exercise. Keep the noodle in the arch of your foot as described above. Push the noodle all the way to the pool bottom until you are stepping on it. Step the other foot onto the noodle. Keep your heels and toes off the bottom. Balance with only the arches of your feet standing on the noodle. Allow the noodle to come up off of the pool bottom with your feet still on it. Bend your knees up and push the noodle down again.This is a double leg pump. It requires strength and balance.
Step 3 Try these abdominal exercises. Grasp the “U” in each hand like you would a swing at the park and sit on it. Take your feet off the bottom of the pool. Swing on the noodle by moving your lower legs forward and backward. Advance to situps. Allow the noodle to slide out from under your bottom and up your back, under your armpits. Float your body up to the surface. Bring your knees and chest toward each other as in a situp. Repeat 20 to 50 times.
Step 4 Try arm exercises. Hold the noodle in an upside down “U,” like holding ski poles. Submerge only the part of the noodle that is in your hands. Alternately push and pull your hands through the water. Keep the noodle in the upside-down position. Bend your arms to a 90-degree angle at the elbow. Press the insides of your elbows into your sides. Alternately pull the noodle down to your thighs, like you’re milking a cow.
Step 5 Combine the above arm exercises with these simple cardiovascular movements. Stand on the pool bottom in a forward lunge. Jump and switch your legs continually. This is called a cross-country ski. Alternately, push and pull the noodle, in upside-down “U” position, as you cross-country ski. Combine milking the cow arms with a jog in place.
A noodle can be used in water for variations in your cardiovascular exercises, as a strength training tool or as a flexibility aide. Most aquatic centers have noodles, but you can also purchase them for personal use at sporting goods or supercenter stores. When holding onto a noodle, use a firm grasp, but do not hold so tightly that you experience pain in your fingers or wrists.
Shallow Running in the shallow water, with both feet in contact with the floor, is a good cardiovascular exercise. The water provides resistance, but you can increase that resistance with a noodle. A noodle will create additional drag when you wrap the noodle around your back and place the ends near your sides, so the noodle does not touch your backside, it floats behind you. As you run, you have to use increased force to pull the noodle through the water.
Strength The noodle provides a resistance training tool as it will float and requires force to be pushed under the water. To strengthen your arms, stand shoulder deep in the water and hold the middle of your noodle with both hands. Bend your arms and place your elbows into your sides with your palms facing down. Perform a pushdown by straightening your arms and lowering the noodle toward your hips, and then release the noodle into start position.
Flexibility At the end of your water workout, stretching exercises will help to improve your flexibility and reduce muscle tension. The use of a noodle can help to deepen your stretch. To stretch your legs, place one foot in the center of the noodle and hold onto an end in each hand. Raise your straight leg and the noodle to the surface of the water and then lean forward bringing your chest toward the top of your leg, using the noodle as leverage if needed. This is a hamstring stretch and should be held for 30 to 60 seconds and then repeated on the opposite leg.
Pool Plank The plank works your abdominal muscles. To begin, stand in the shallow end of the pool and hold an end of the pool noodle in each hand so it is vertical. Push it into the water and lean forward until your entire body is at a 30-degree angle. Hold this position for one to two minutes. Repeat two to three times.
Cardiovascular Resistance Exercise This exercise targets the chest, back, arms and core muscles. In the middle of the pool, place the noodle between your legs so one end is in front, the other behind you. Keep your torso straight and use a pedaling motion with your legs, moving as quickly through the water as possible, using your hands and arms for balance and directional control. Perform for three to five minutes.
More Ideas You can use the spaghetti tube in many different ways. Because it provides buoyancy, you can place it across your chest, lie on your stomach, and kick, working the leg muscles. You can lie on your back with the spaghetti tube wrapped around your torso and kick, working your leg muscles. Place the spaghetti tube behind your back, providing you with support while you perform crunches. Push it underwater to provide resistance for various arm exercises. Tie it around your waist and run through the water — it will provide added resistance.
Step Down Stand with your back against the side of the swimming pool in water that’s between waist- and chest-deep. Lift your left knee and place the center of a noodle squarely under the center of your foot. With your body upright and your left knee at a 90-degree angle, press your left foot down into the water, using the noodle as resistance to the movement. On land, this movement would be similar to stepping onto a chair, except instead of stepping up, you are doing the step movement without moving. Raise your left knee back up to the 90-degree angle and repeat 10 to 15 times before switching to your right foot.