Easy Underwater Exercises to Strengthen Your Back

By on April 20, 2015

If you suffer from back pain or are recovering from a back injury, an underwater workout routine might be the best choice for you. Working out in a pool provides a safe environment for stretching and working muscles, and because the constraints of gravity are removed, you might even find that you are able to do more than you could in a normal workout routine.

Getting Started

While the buoyancy of water removes weight from your joints, beginners should be sure to stay close to the shallow end of the pool, where they can use the sides and the floor for stability. Make sure that the pool you are using has a large enough open area that you will not interfere with anyone else around you.

Once you are more experienced, try to work in a pool that has varying levels of depth. You might notice that as you move around in the pool, the effect of the water depth is very different. For instance, when you are immersed in water up to your waist, your body bears just 50 percent of its entire weight. When you are immersed in water up to your chest, it’s 25 to 35 percent, and all the way up to your neck, just 10 percent.

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If you have any issues with balance, invest in a pair of water shoes to help you.

Warm-up: Water Walking

For an extra low-impact activity, get into water that is about waist-high. Try walking across the pool and swinging your arms as you normally would. Keep your abdominal muscles tight, and your back as straight as possible. To make this exercise more of a workout, use resistance devices on your hands, like hand webs.

Vertical Kicking

Vertical kicking exercises can help with lower back pain. With vertical kicks, you must maintain your balance in the pool and use your abdominal muscles to keep upright. Perform a freestyle kick while keeping your arms out of the water.

Dolphin Kicks

Try turning onto your back to do dolphin kicks, focusing on using all the muscles in your abdomen. Try doing this exercise with and without swim fins. This is a good exercise once most of your back pain has already been minimized.


Underwater weights are a good idea for those looking for back-strengthening workouts. Start in chest-depth water with your hands at your sides. Lift the weights to water level, keeping your back as straight as possible during the exercise, and your wrists straight. Repeat 15 to 20 times or until tired.

Pace Yourself

If you feel that any of these exercises add too much pressure, then stop, rest, and return to a lower-impact activity like water-walking. Play around with different strokes and movements to see which you feel are best suited for your level of back pain.

Working out in the pool should be a relaxing and fun experience. Water is supportive and makes it easier to move around, so it’s an ideal place to work out, especially while you’re healing a back injury or working to minimize general back pain.


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Easy Underwater Exercises to Strengthen Your Back