Who Tried It: Julie Mazziotta, writer/reporter
Level of Difficulty: 7/10. This isn’t your grandma’s water aerobics class!
As a recent lap swimming convert, I was excited to try Speedo USA and Life Time’s take on the classic water aerobics class for a change of pace from my usual freestyle and breaststroke loops. The best way to describe this class is to think of it as HIIT program, but in the water.
Before we jumped in, the class started with a bit of stretching on land to loosen up our muscles, which was a good way to begin, considering it was still early in the morning. Then we dove right into our first workout. The instructor divided the class into four groups, and we all did a different movement, many using cool pool gear that I had never seen before. One exercise used a long, log-like weight that we rotated back and forth, while another used a “push plate” that you moved through the water while doing 180-degree jumps. We also used paddles that you put on your hands and sweep in the water, and hip dips on the pool deck.
As the instructor showed us the movements, they looked pretty easy—but I really shouldn’t doubt the power of water. Trying to push through liquid (and the waves from everyone around me!) was challenging. The added resistance really took the workout up a notch.
“Water allows for a steady and consistent resistance throughout the range of motion of an exercise,” Rob Glick, the senior director of programming and innovation at Life Time, explains to PEOPLE.
And though I wanted to go through the movement quickly, the water literally stopped me. This is a huge benefit of working out in a pool, Glick says.
“Water slows us down, providing time to master the coordination of the movement,” he explains.
After two rounds of the four movements, we switched gears to a volleyball-like pool game— and I was definitely on board. In teams of two, we all grabbed a kickboard in one hand, and held one side of the log weight with the other. Then on either sides of the pool, we tried to keep about 15 balls on the other team’s side. The time flew, and we had tons of fun trying to bat the balls out of the water.
For the penultimate part of the workout, we did another four-movement rotation that included the hardest exercise of the entire class — tricep dips on the side of the pool — along with more resistance movements at a faster pace this time.
Working out in a pool was a funny experience. Much like with lap swimming, you’re out of breath and pushing your body, but without a drop of sweat. So we all finished that second round breathing heavily and exhausted, which made the final part of the workout even better. Our instructor told us to grab a pool noodle and a kickboard, and after using them to prop ourselves up in the water, we laid back and floated for five minutes. It was bliss and the perfect way to transition into the workday.
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Verdict: I would absolutely do this again. I do love lap swimming, but it gets tedious (There is a limit to how many songs I can sing in my head). With WTRX, I fit in a HIIT workout, a volleyball game and a bit of swimming all in one class, and without any of the pain to my body, thanks to the water. I only wish there were more ways for me to take the class, which is currently rolling out to the 130 Life Time Fitness clubs around the country, and only available to members. With only one location in New York City (that’s all the way on 11th Avenue), I’ll be patiently waiting to get my WTRX fix.