Stick it to ’em!- Australian Fitness Network Winter 2011
Using an aquatic tool that enables resistance levels to be easily adjusted can provide clients of every fitness level with a fun and original challenge says Marietta Mehanni.
While using rubberised bands in water fitness classes is not a new concept, attaching them to a stick is – and that’s what the Aqua Gymstick does. An adaptation of the Gymstick, the design of this tool enables stationary, propulsive and travelling exercises to use the extra resistance of the bands to add challenge. And with the ability to increase and decrease tension – and therefore challenge – it’s ideal for use with participants of different strength and fitness levels, from the obese or the elderly, to personal training clients or athletes.
For the instructor, the Aqua Gymstick can be used effectively in a shallow pool, an environment which is not always ideal for other aquatic tools. Enabling a range of interesting new exercises for participants, it also provides variables for modifications and progressions and, in addition to the resistance in the bands, can be used to add extra challenge by creating turbulence.
For the participant, the Aqua Gymstick aids in the development of postural awareness and challenges aerobic and anaerobic fitness. Through combining strength and stability training, it provides a high level of neural activation by challenging the nervous system to react to the unstable movement patterns, which enhances movement reaction times and heightens proprioception (righting reactions). This, combined with the fact that it demands recruitment of the core muscles, makes it an excellent tool for rehabilitation.