Aqua gymstick – why I use it
I’ve been using aqua gymstick for more than 5 years in my pregnancy aqua, aqua bootcamp and deep water gymstick classes at Hobart Aquatic Centre. The gymstick is diverse piece of equipment that has been designed for the pool environment. The stick has 2 resistance bands that for the most part are attached to each feet like stirrups.
Here are my top 5 reasons for loving the gymstick in water:
- you can do a military press so the shoulders and upper body get a workout just like they would on land (you can not do this with any other piece of water workout equipment)
- gymstick’s resistance bands ensure an ‘eccentric muscle contraction’ while most water based exercise is ‘double concentric’ – what this actually means is the workout is comparable to a land based workout minus the impact that comes with being on land. Without making your eyes glaze over as to why the eccentric muscle contraction is desirable just know that this is a good thing and will make you stronger and ‘land ready’ – this is exactly what you want in a workout particularly if you are in water for rehab purposes.
- postural improvement – as the gymstick bands are attached to your feet they actually draw your shoulders back and down. This is the perfect foundation to build your fitness on whereas the risk of using buoyant dumbbells is the shoulders start to lift, particularly when you get tired and this is not optimal. The gymsticks ‘insist’ that the shoulders are back and down. I get feedback from clients time and time again that they notice this change in posture from their first class.
“Aqua gymstick’ provides a great overall workout. My physio has confirmed that I have greater mobility and strength since doing Gymstick on a regular basis”
Denise participant Hobart Aquatic Centre
4. core strength and stability – as the gymstick bands are attached to the feet and the stick moves in the opposite direction to the feet the core has to react and turn on and the torso has to rotate and twist under tension. It does not take many sessions at all before participants start to notice a stronger core.
5. You can easily increase the resistance of those bands by winding the gymstick bands around the stick (shortening them), or you can unwind them to reduce resistance – both within a flick of the wrist – resistance is changed to suit the move and your strength.
“Since Jo introduced me to the Gymstick I purchased one. It is a marvellous extension to resistance work. It is possible to commence use at a low level and to work up to a greater resistance – similar to the resistance straps in use at the physiotherapists.
- The use of the aqua sticks involves resistance in the legs
- The torso and abdominal – core muscles get a greater workout
- The use is incremental in degree of difficulty
I can attest that I rarely get puffed even in an excellent workout with dumbbells, but I always increase my heart rate and am puffed and hot following a workout with the stick”
Elizabeth Williams participant Hobart Aquatic Centre
So whether you are attending because you are pregnant, or you are looking for a high intensity low impact workout, or whether you just want a stronger workout than mainstream water workout classes offer, if there is a gymstick component to the class you are on to a winner.