Is water aerobics a good exercise to increase strength?

Yes, it certainly can help enhance strength, but only to a certain level. The water provides you resistance your muscles must work against which will help improve strength initially, but because the "resistance" of the water is relatively low, you will not see large strength gains like you might see performing traditional resistance training with heavier loads. When performing water aerobics, your muscles are having to work for a longer period of time. Because of this, water aerobics is more effective in building muscle endurance (improving a muscles ability to do work for a long period of time) versus improving high levels of strength.

While water aerobics is a great form of exercise and can increase strength in the beginning over time you will not see continue gains.  Reason being is that the weight you use during classes doesn't get heavy.  Also water tension remains the same.  So if you are wanting to increase strenght you will have to do things outside of the pool to increase strength. 

Water exercise is a great way to increase strength. A lot of people will tell you there is not enough resistance in the water but you can try it for yourself just by doing it. When you are doing exercises in the water, begin by trying to go slow and use a full range of motion. You will find this to be difficult at first but over time you will see that it gets easier. That is because you have gotten stronger. Once you are stronger you can make your range of motion shorter and make your moves quicker and you will tire in just a few seconds. You will in fact notice an increase in your strength even if you have been doing water exercises for years.

The term "aerobics" simply means you are using oxygen to do these exercises. So a lot of water aerobics classes will not put the emphasis on strength but you can do this yourself, again, just by moving the water faster with shorter range of motion. You can also add water weights which are simple little styrofoam weights that feel very light on land but when you put them in the water you can feel up to 50 pounds of resistance. The deeper the water the more resistance you will feel. It's important to incorporate iron weights into your routine once or twice a week so you don't adapt too quickly and hit a plateau too early.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.