How can dumbbells and noodles be used for deep water exercise?
Dumbbells and noodles are popular aquatic tools, predominately in shallow water, for resistance, turbulence and buoyancy type exercises. But can they be used effectively for a deep water class? These two pieces of equipment can suspend the body very effectively, so yes, it is possible to consider utilising them for deep water training. There are several advantages for this type of training:
How can dumbbells and noodles be used for deep water exercise?
Dumbbells and noodles are popular aquatic tools, predominately in shallow water, for resistance, turbulence and buoyancy type exercises. But can they be used effectively for a deep water class? These two pieces of equipment can suspend the body very effectively, so yes, it is possible to consider utilising them for deep water training.
There are several advantages for this type of training:
1. When using dumbbells, muscle strength is required to push the dumbbells through the water – strength which is not required when wearing a buoyancy belt.
2. The body, being completely suspended, then consequently requires greater muscle recruitment to manoeuvre the dumbbell or noodle through the water, and subsequently potential muscle imbalances can be highlighted.
3. Dumbbells and noodles can be held in various positions, thus providing countless exercise possibilities.
4. Each position places a different emphasis on muscle groups and joint actions.
5. Moving equipment through water will create turbulence, which in turn, provides a greater stability challenge for the core muscles to maintain appropriate posture and alignment while performing the exercise.
6. Holding a dumbbell or noodle under the water will create intra abdominal pressure, which consequently has the effect of engaging the core muscles.
Principles of water and how they apply to using dumbbells and noodles in deep water exercise Turbulence sub sub Bernoulli’s Principle states that a stationary body in water will always move towards any turbulence because of the negative pressure drag. The greater the turbulence, the greater the instability, the more intense the workout, as participants will need to work against the turbulence created by their own noodle or dumbbell as well as the turbulence that is created by other participants using these tools. Buoyancy: assisted, resisted and supported sub sub Archimedes’ Principle states that when a body is wholly or partially immersed in a fluid it experiences a vertical upward force equal to the weight of the fluid displaced and acting through the initial centre of gravity of the fluid displaced. Noodles and dumbbells are buoyant objects; therefore, they can be used both to help float the body as to create resistance when they are forced under water. Generally, when the noodle or dumbbell is held low in the water the exercise becomes more strength orientated and repetitions are performed at a slower speed. However, if the noodle or dumbbell is held close to the surface, the exercise can be performed at a faster tempo and therefore, the exercise becomes more cardiovascular. Buoyancy assisted refers to any movements that move in the same direction as the buoyancy, e.g. after holding the noodle or dumbbell down in the water and allowing it to float. Controlling the movement for muscle conditioning on the ‘way up’ can be used just as effectively as pushing the noodle or dumbbell downwards. Buoyancy resisted refers to any movements that move in the opposite direction of the buoyancy, e.g. pushing/holding the noodle or dumbbell down in the water. This is effective for strength-based exercises and is also an excellent way to encourage the use of core stabilisers. Buoyancy supported is when the body is supported by the water, e.g. holding the noodle or dumbbell under the arms and allowing the body to float. These types of exercises are helpful in providing finger releases. Contraindications As with any mode of exercise, there are contraindications when using buoyancy equipment. The main issue is the lengthy hand holds required to manoeuvre the equipment through the water. This can raise issues if participants have pathology in the joints of the fingers, wrists, elbows and shoulders. Pregnant women during the second half of their pregnancy could potentially have problems with the intra-abdominal pressure against their over stretched abdominal muscles and pelvic floor. It is recommended that, at this stage of their pregnancy, women use dumbbells and noodles predominantly as a buoyancy tool (held under the armpits) and under the water for only short periods of time. Submerged dumbbell and noodle exercises are also contraindicated for people suffering from hernias and any other condition that may be aggravated by intra-abdominal pressure or abdominal bracing. Finger breaks One of the implications of using the noodle and dumbbell for an entire workout is the issue of holding the equipment for extended periods of time. It is important that ‘grip releases’ are built into the choreography. Dumbbells: When the arms are held straight down, the fingers do not need to grip the dumbbell as the buoyancy of the dumbbell pressing up against the hand will be enough to hold the dumbbell down in the water. Another popular alternative is to put the dumbbell under the armpits whenever excessive fatigue is experienced, though this option should not be used as a permanent substitute as it defeats the purpose of using the dumbbell in deep water. In this situation it would be more beneficial to use a buoyancy belt. From a technical point, shoulder depression, scapula retraction and neutral spine (whenever possible) should be maintained. There is also a tendency to shrug the shoulders when hand-held buoyancy equipment is being used, so regular coaching on posture is necessary. Noodles: Use a ‘buoyancy assisted’ method, allowing the noodle to float while performing a lower limb or stabilisation activity. Provide exercises where the noodle is supporting so that the body and arms are allowed to move freely. Educate participants to not grip the noodle too firmly or for lengthy periods. Encourage participants to use only the palms of their hands or bodyweight to assist with controlling the noodle.