Try These Abdominal Exercises in the Pool for a Great Workout

Burn extra calories and build strength with these effective and energizing pool moves.

Updated June 2, 2019
Pool exercise class

If you're looking for an effective ab routine to do while swimming, try abdominal exercises in a pool. You'll get an effective, safe, and low-impact workout that will tone your abs right inside your bathing suit. Try each exercise as written, but if you struggle to complete any of the moves, just do your best. Adapting the exercises to suit your strength and fitness level is always fine! Build up slowly, over time, until you're able to do each move with ease.

Pool Exercises to Strengthen Abdominals

To work out in water, stand in the shallow end so that the water comes between your navel and your chest. This will offer the best resistance, safely. Many exercises are done by the side of the pool for stability. You can further increase resistance with the use of water gloves and paddles. Always wear pool shoes while you work out in water.


This abdominal exercise requires stability and control and can be quite challenging. You'll likely feel this in your lower abs.

  1. Stand with your back at the edge of the pool and your arms extending along the top out to either side.
  2. Bring your legs straight out in front of you and then swing them up and to the right before bringing them down.
  3. Repeat to the left in a swinging pendulum motion.


If you've done a crunch on land, doing one in water won't be too difficult.

  1. In the same starting position as the pendulum, extend your legs in front of you, feet together.
  2. Pull your knees in toward your chest and hold, squeezing your abdominal muscles.
  3. Release your legs and repeat.

Tuck Jump

Tuck jumps are challenging moves on land and are high impact. Doing them in water lessens the impact substantially and slows the motion down, allowing you to squeeze your abs on the jump.

  1. Stand toward the center of the pool with your legs spread wide.
  2. Jump explosively upwards as high as you can, pulling your knees in toward your body as you do so.
  3. Land with your legs extended and repeat.


Scooping through the resistance of the water provides a challenge to your oblique muscles. You'll also tone your arms and shoulders at the same time you get a great core workout.

  1. Stand with your legs hip width apart and your hands together in front of you, forming an upward scoop.
  2. Pull your arms upward, scooping the water as you do so.
  3. Alternate the scooping motion from left to right, pushing the water toward your opposite shoulder.

Leg Lifts

Leg lifts target your core, not your legs.

  1. Stand with your back to the side of the pool, and your arms extended behind you.
  2. Boost yourself up so you're sitting slightly on the edge of the pool, with the water coming to mid-thigh.
  3. Lean back slightly on your arms for support and lift your legs straight out of the water to form a V with your upper body.
  4. Hold the position for a couple counts, squeezing your abdominal muscles.
  5. Lower and repeat.


Controlling your legs in this exercise uses your core muscles and can strengthen your abs.

  1. Stand with your back to the side of the pool and your arms extending outward to either side.
  2. Grasp the side of the pool for support and lower yourself slightly into the water so you are submerged to your shoulders.
  3. Extend your legs upward so they are parallel to the bottom of the pool.
  4. Spread your legs open as far as you can and then bring them together, crossing one over the other, i.e. left over right.
  5. Spread your legs open again, and place the opposite leg on top when crossing, i.e. right over left.

Noodle Transverse Twist

Pool noodles aren't just for recreation; they can help strengthen your core, too.

  1. Stand in the pool, feet about shoulder-width apart.
  2. Place the noodle in front of you, allowing it to float.
  3. Grasp the noodle wide.
  4. Brace your core, tightening your abs as though you're readying to get punched in the stomach.
  5. Slowly twist your upper body to the right, pulling the noodle along in the water.
  6. Repeat to the left, keeping your core tight.

Floating Crunch

Stabilizing your body in the water forces your core to get to work.

Overhead of woman floating in a pool
  1. Lie on your back in the water, allowing your body to float.
  2. Once you feel stable, crunch your abs by bringing your knees inward and your shoulders up.
  3. Quickly release and re-stabilize back into a floating position.
  4. Repeat.

Why Work Out in Water?

The best part about working out in water is that it's extremely adaptable. Work out in a pool just a few times a week to increase resistance and calorie burning. Try abdominal exercises in a pool whenever you get the chance. This will help tone your abs effectively and safely with no strain. Plus, you add water as a component to the list of the best ab exercises out there.

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Try These Abdominal Exercises in the Pool for a Great Workout