So there’s this thing called “Water Cycling” – and last Sunday, we decided to go give it a go. A friend of A.I.P organised a session for a group of us through local Sunshine Coast Company “Water Resist”.
Let’s Answer The First Questions Straight Up
- Is there actually a bike in the water?
- How long does it go for?
- Is there an Instructor?
- How hard it is?
and Answer Mode:
Yep – there is specially made, marine-grade aluminium, bikes that sit on the bottom of the pool that you spin on. Unlike normal exercise bikes, they don’t have variable resistance, but more on that later. You also do a fair bit of exercise using the bike as an apparatus, but not actually “riding” it.
The class that we did was about 30 minutes long – and if you were to ride this workout as instructed (with effort levels in the 8 to 10/10 ratings) – then you absolutely don’t need longer.
There is an instructor. Our instructor Anita, had accompanying music and provided clear, concise instructions on what the variety of riding styles and other moves were and how long they were to be for.
This is an interesting one. We spent the first couple of minutes getting used to the balance in the water. The moves can range from sitting, to standing in a variety of different positions, to completely hopping off the bike and power kicking using the seat as a stabiliser. Our particular favourite was the no-handed low rider. Keeping your feet in the pedal stirrups, you lower yourself behind the seat and then pedal using your arms to swim and keep yourself from floating back away from bike – an epic core and upper body engagement.
But that doesn’t answer how hard it is, does it? So if you were to cruise along and just turn the pedals leisurely, then no, it’s not challenging at all. However, as you increase the speed, the water resistance increases exponentially and at a high turn rate, the effort level is MASSIVE. Big Muscle burn, lots of sweat and deep breathing. So depending on the instructors guidance, and your own willingness to push yourself, this can be one HELL of a workout. Add on the element of taking your hands off and having to paddle at the same time, engaging the entire upper body and then also activating the core to initiate counter-balance. It was a full-body workout in the entire sense of that statement.
Who’s it for?
Well just about everyone – provided you can swim. The two big standout groups for me are:
- Those with joints that can no longer withstand high-impact training but still want to engage in cardiovascular training.
- Athletes that want a High Intensity Workout with zero impact to enable the body to still recover from previous workout trauma.
Personally, as a trainer that specialises in high performance and intensity-type training, this is a fabulous tool for certain clients. Going hard in the workout – we approached maximum muscle fatigue a few times and were breathing hard.
If you were someone looking to start your first foray into fitness, this would also be a great introduction with the right class. Lower intensity, support of the water and zero impact on joints that are not yet acclimatised.
In fact – I just recommend this to everyone to give this a go. On their website, they claim this matrix of elements as benefits – and now having given it a go, I’m definitely inclined to believe it.
Sounds Awesome – Where do we Book it In?
Well as in most things – a quick look through the internet will sort you out, but if you’re on or near the Sunshine Coast, we would VERY MUCH recommend getting a session in with “Water Resist”. They visit a few different pools and you can see their availability here:
Yep – this one is a bit of a challenge. Often, workouts are broken into multiple rounds “sets”. There’s lots of reasons for this, physically – but there’s also the mental side of breaking things up to make the overall number more palatable. Yeah….we’re going to get rid of all that. Its start to finish – but now you’ve got to have the mental strength to just push EVERY rep out, all the distances – it’s just as much part of the training as the physical.
The Core Challenge – follows the same theme as the workout. Its end to end and to MAKE SURE you get a solid BURN – we give it a little special sauce RIGHT at the end.
Come and check out what we’re up to online.
There is definitely a time and a place for those gym workouts – particularly when you have a skilled Personal Trainer to keep you honest and on track, but simple body weight exercises, disguised in out of the box movements can be phenomenal for achieving gains in strength, flexibility, and overall health. Best of all, they don’t cost a thing and you can usually do them just about anywhere. Here’s a couple of reasons why we love our Bodyweight Training
1 – It’s YOUR weight
Weights, strength and cardio are all relative to a particular person. It’s not uncommon to hear two VASTLY different body-shaped people in the gym comparing weight usage and lamenting the fact that one can more than the other. There are so many reasons why this is not an accurate measure of relative ability. Body-weight is a true equaliser. A pushup, for example, requires you to manipulate your own weight through the action, it’s an intrinsic barrier, rather than external, a manipulation of all the muscles through your body, with relative weight that they carry through the same repetitive actions. This is why classes like Les Mills GRIT and other HIIT based workouts are so effective and REMAIN effective. It takes a lot of effort to manipulate your own body weight, and no matter how heavy or light you get, you are still going to have to move your entire body. To put that a bit simpler – if you get lighter, you’re going to get faster. So instead of doing 10 slower heavier squat jumps, you might get out 15 faster ones in the same time, which means you’re still working just as hard and continuing to improve. Bodyweight training is typically able to be done just about anywhere – have a look at this list for 50 moves you can throw down as you like:
2 – Flexibility, Balance and CORE
The two metrics that a lot of people base their fitness on are brute strength and cardio, forgetting other essential elements like flexibility, balance and core. These are just as essential as the two perceived primary attributes. A really quick simple explanation of how flexibility helps:
Think of your muscle and how far it can move. The bigger its range of motion, the more work you are able to do. I.e a longer running step is more effective than a walking step (this is simple yes, but bear with me). As you get tired and fatigued, you also start taking shorter steps yes? As muscles soreness kicks in. So in undertaking flexibility training, and therefore increasing our muscles range of “effective” motion, we: a) allow for a greater efficiency in every movement, and when you are cycling and doing a silly amount of legs actions every minute this small increase adds up to a very surprising increase over time, and b) Allow ourselves a LONGER time at increased effective range because the muscles don’t shorten up as quickly. And I haven’t even touched on injury prevention. Add in balance and core strength required to keep your body stable and braced during just about everything bodyweight related (chin ups, jumps, pushups, running, burpees) and you’re going to increase your posture and overall sense of self-awareness in space.
Events like Tough Mudder and other obstacle challenges show us how much flexibility and core strength can help when it comes time to climb a wall or run along a plank of wood over an ice pool. You can start with these simple moves (they’re going to be surprisingly challenging I assure you!)
3 – You are going to see results quickly
We mentioned before how effective HIIT training and BOOTCAMPS etc can be. This is because that style of training engages compound movements (i.e those that utilise multiple joints and muscle groups). Isolated muscle group training (like bicep curls) is going to do wonders for the targeted group yes, but if you’re looking for an all around increase in general fitness, a reduction in body fat percentage and gains in functional strength – then body weight training is your friend.
This article is now to say that this method is the godsend of training methods – it’s merely one style that suits a lot of people for what they want to achieve. It depends largely on what you want to achieve, what interests you and probably a lot on where your friendsip circle trains etc. Bodyweight movements offer lots of benefits, especially if you haven’t entertained much resistance training before. If you haven’t looked into it much – have a look at the LES MILLS Grit series of classes (https://lesmills.com.au/gritseries) – there are 3 different types (strength, plyo and cardio) to get an idea of some different styles of body weight training. There are bootcamps, obstacle courses and all manner of “At Home” workouts you can search on the web.
Have fun – go hard – no matter how you train. Go for your goals – you are capable of more than you know.