Super Aqua Abdominals

This is an Aquatic pattern from (pattern 13777)

I work with all ages, including seniors in water therapy classes. I needed to add some good abdominal work to increase core strength since so many of my students don't include land work in their work out and needed stronger abdominals and lower backs. I use a noodle, bouys, or float boards as props, but the real work starts with proper placement which I show visually before starting the exercise. I demonstrate the position and tell students to think of it as the "HANS AND FRANS" crunch from SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE. I pull hands inward similar to a weight lifter. They get the idea of contracting the abs. I call this a "standing" crunch. I have students then place a hand on lower abs and exhale sharply to feel how I want the lower abdominals to contract. This helps them understand the movement. I also explain how the abdominals work, abdominus rectus, obliques, tranverse abdominals - which they always tell me they appreciate.

Feet should be slightly apart, knees relaxed - student crunches noodle or whatever prop, towards their thighs. It is important that they allow knees to bend (also giving quads a stretch), lower back rounds (giving lower back stretch), and lower abs contract inward (drawing navel towards the spine). To make it less tedious and to make sure students are breathing correctly we count to 10 using various counts in English (1 Mississippi - 1 little witch (Halloween), by 10's, by 100's, forwards, backwards, etc.) as well as German, Spanish, French, Latin, Italian, Swedish, Japanese, etc. (whatever someone in the class can contribute). In no time my students were able to do as many as 6 - 7 sets of 10 and began to notice a difference in back strength and flexibity as well as abdominal strength and toning. By changing the way we count, use of props, etc. they have no idea how many "crunches" they are doing and don't suffer neck problems, etc. as they do on land.

Note: If doing these with arthritics you may find that pressing against the noddle is painful. You can tie noodle in pretzel shape or fold it over so they rest their fore-arms on prop. If using bouys, change which hand is on the bottom frequently, making sure that one hand isn't always taking most of the pressure of pushing prop down. If using float board tell students to think of pressing down lid of Rubber Maid container that is full of pillows.

Good luck and let me know if this exercise works with your students. I am excited by how quickly I have seen results.

Added by Diana Duda at 9:47 PM on Sunday, November 2, 2003 EST. Add to favorites (view favorites)
From: Glenwood, Illinois (USA)
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