Marietta Mehanni

Sensational Aqua Arms

Written by Marietta

November 28, 2013

Sensational Aqua Arms workshop was developed from the desire to get aqua participants to focus more on their upper body technique and to change the typical lower body focus. In exploring the concept, we discovered that two pieces of OKEO equipment were ideal for meeting this challenge and therefore enabling participants to  improve their strength and muscle tone. Hydro Diamond Dumbbells and Boxing Gloves are two quite different pieces of equipment that allowed us to develop a diverse range of movements and exercises.

The hydrodynamic design principles of the dumbbells and gloves enabled us to develop exercises that balanced muscle groups used during a workout. For example moves that utilize rotation, place emphasis on both the anterior and posterior muscles – biceps and triceps, anterior and posterior deltoid. This was important to us, as we were aware of the implications of using buoyancy equipment in the water, and how challenging it can be to effectively use all muscle groups and not overuse the anterior deltoid.

Some of the feedback that we received from our members was surprising. The Hydro Diamond Dumbbell looks bulky, but actually moves very efficiently through the water. The Boxing Glove was a tool that our older adults preferred because of it’s easy grip and lack of buoyancy. We experienced minimal resistance to introducing these new pieces of equipment, and we all know what it is like to try new things with regular clients!

Hydro diamond dumbbells

Hexagonal in shape, the Hydro diamond dumbbell enables some interesting options for manoeuvrability through the water. Rotational moves are not a safe option with conventional dumbbells or noodles, however this is possible with the Hydro Diamond Dumbbell because of it’s angular shape. The different shaped sides make it possible to move the dumbbell through a wide range of movement including rotational exercises that provide emphasis on the important rotator cuff muscles of the shoulder. The different shaped sides result in surface area variations that when exposed to the resistance of the water, allow participants to work at levels that they are comfortable with. The larger surface areas can be utilised by stronger participants, whereas the reduced surface areas can be used as a modification for beginners or injured clients.

The dumbbell can be used effectively for both floatation and resistance exercises. The highly buoyant nature of the dumbbell makes it a wonderful tool for suspended and deep water activities. In fact the dumbbell is so buoyant, that you can sit on it and float! The buoyancy of the tool also makes it a fantastic resistance object that efficiently increases your heart rate.

The hydro diamond dumbbell can be simply introduced into classes as participants intuitively know how to hold them. The dumbbell has a wider, more comfortable handle making it user friendly for participants who will not need to grip the handle tightly in order to maintain effective control. Storage is easy as they readily stack on top of each other, which also allows for drainage after use.

Boxing Gloves

The Boxing Glove is a unique and fresh concept, and it has been very well received in our classes. Participants in our mainstream sessions have enjoyed the opportunity to implement this tool into their regular workout, as using this equipment with traditional aqua arm lines enables them to increase the exercise intensity. More mature clients like working with the glove because it is much easier to grip and is less buoyant, thus those with upper body joint issues can still work with resistance.

The glove lends itself to martial arts type punching movements eg; upper cuts, jabs and punches. These movements feel more realistic when using the glove because of the increased resistance through the water. Encouraging participants to wear the glove creates a mood and atmosphere that motivates clients to work with the passion that is required for this type of workout.

The Boxing Glove can be used effectively to provide a balanced utilization of all upper body muscle groups. For example leading with the back of the hand, in the direction of movement and travel focuses more on triceps and posterior deltoid. Using the same movement pattern but leading with the palm of the hand focuses more on biceps and anterior deltoid.

The design of the glove does not lend itself to be use for flotation or buoyancy assisted moves. It’s compact and lightweight nature, the glove is easy to store and transport. The glove’s simple design makes it a very durable tool that will ensure a long lifespan.


Start with both feet wide and stable on the bottom of the pool. Arms extended to front

In one powerful motion, lift right leg across body while pulling both arms down towards right hip. The leg must stay straight and the kick action happens at the hip joint. This is a very strong and stable move in the water. No bouncing.

Bring leg down to the wide stance again and repeat on opposite side

Boxing Gloves

Kick one leg forward and punch both arms to the front.

Pull knee into chest and pull both arms into body

Kick same leg to the side with both arms punching out to either side

Repeat by going back and then kicking to front again.

To intensify the exercise, propel the body upwards out of the water with the standing leg by bending the knee slightly pushing off the bottom of the pool.

Hydro-Diamond Dumbbells



Left hand on hip, with the Hydro Diamond Dumbbell in right hand extended to back. The right leg is lifted as in a kick in front of the body

Bend the right elbow and bring the dumbbell closer to the shoulder. At the same time the right knee is pulled into torso.

Push the dumbbell hard to the front, while kicking the right leg out behind the body. Allow the body to follow through with a lean to the front.

Repeat the exercise by going back and kick to the front again. The whole action is done without any bouncing or bobbing in the water. The body is very stable on the bottom of the pool.

Hydro-Diamond Dumbbells

Place both hands on top of the hydro diamond dumbbell, but do not grip the dumbbell with your fingers. ‘Surf’ the dumbbell to right side of body and swing left leg out to side as in a pendulum.

Maintain control over the dumbbell with your hands (still without gripping) and bring the right leg in to the centre ready to swap over to the left leg. Try to bring the right leg in to substitute the left foot placement.

Surf the dumbbell to the left side of the body, while the right leg pendulum swings to the side.

The non gripping action on the dumbbell activates use of the abdominal stabilizers and encourages participants to concentrate on their technique so not to lose the dumbbell.

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