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Personal Training in The Pool: 11 Benefits & How to Start Offering it

personal training in the pool

Offering a unique service like personal training in the pool is a great way to target new clients and do more than your average PT in your area.That’s why we’ve put this guide together, covering:

Before we briefly talk about why this is beneficial for your professional career, if you’re just getting started in becoming a personal trainer why not take the dive and become fully qualified with our level 3 diploma in personal training? Or, find advancement courses and much more here in our downloadable course prospectus.

7 Reasons Why You Should Take The Plunge With Aquatic Personal Training Sessions

Personal training in the pool can be highly beneficial for your business, and even more beneficial for your clients. 

Here are some of the top reasons why you should begin offering these sessions for your clients and how this can impact your business and your clientele.

#1 Being an Aquatic Personal Trainer Means that You Can Reach a New Clientele Demographic

aquatic personal trainer

Offering a service as an aquatic personal trainer targets a wide variety of cliente that you may have otherwise been missing out on.

Aquatic training is very popular among the elderly thanks to the physical benefits on the body which we will get into a little more later.

Nonetheless, the obvious reason is the fact that it puts less pressure on the body, with buoyancy supporting the body. So how can you reach these people who may want this style of training?

A typical approach to getting your business out there is through personal trainer social media channels or some sort of online advertising but, if you’re looking to attract an older demographic, this might not be the best approach. 

Instead, if you’re trying to reach older people who would actually be interested in aquatic personal training, you might want to see where they are first. 

For example, in Liverpool over-60s have been granted free entry into council-run leisure centres.

PT in the water

This means that your best chance at advertising to the right people is going to be at these council run leisure centres; let's talk about how you can use this to your advantage.

As you can see, there are 13 Liverpool leisure centres, so you could ask if reception could leave a stack of your personal trainer business cards or leaflets for people to take if they’re interested in training with you in the water.

You could even ask if they will be willing to let you have a stand for a day, where you can meet some potential clients and let them know what you do. 

This isn’t just in Liverpool though, there are discounts like this across the whole of the UK. You should check your local leisure centres’ rules and go to the most appropriate place to reach a new kind of demographic like the elderly.

#2 Aquatic Training Reduces the Risk Of Injury for Clients

aquatic trainer

This is something that is beneficial to your clients and can really put them at ease if they’re at the start of their fitness journey. 

As we mentioned, personal training in the pool whether it’s classes or 1-2-1 is popular among older individuals and this is because of the safety aspects that come along with it.

It is widely known that exercising in the water is good for those who struggle with painful joints or arthritis. Thus, if you’re training these clients in the gym perhaps, you’re going to have to be very careful with what exercises you do to ensure you don’t aggravate the problem.

On the other hand, with aquatic training you can rest assured that the risk to the client is minimised. Though no kind of exercise is risk free, training in water can certainly help. 

When swimming or in water, up to 90% of your body is supported which relieves a lot of the pressure that may otherwise cause injury. It means that with just the right amount of resistance, the quality of life of the client can be improved without rigorous exercise. 

personal training in the pool

For example, your client may need to improve their cardiovascular endurance and overall health but brisk walking, running and other alike cardio activity aggravates their arthritis. Instead of their condition deteriorating, aquatic training can help to improve their condition without risking the worsening of their joint pain.

The good thing about this form of exercise too is that so long as your client is comfortable with floating and basic swimming, they won’t run the risk of a fall. Plus, the resistance can easily be manipulated in the water compared to on the gym floor, you can use body weight exercises in the water that may have been difficult on a mat perhaps.

For example, take a brisk walk on a treadmill. This is going to improve cardiovascular health but can be incredibly intimidating for somebody who has issues with their joints or balance. This kind of intimidation can deter people from exercise altogether due to the risk of injury that comes along with using a treadmill.

Yet, you can combat this with aquatic exercise. You could swap this for walking in water and adjust the intensity by changing the speed that you walk, this would combat the fears behind cardiovascular exercises and introduce an effective and safe way of improving overall health. 

#3 Minimal Equipment is Required

water PT

Another great benefit for you and the client is the lack of equipment that is required for a successful workout.

The water presents itself with a great amount of resistance alone, adding exercises into the mix can result in a highly effective workout.

Of course, the intensity for every client is going to be different, meaning that you may need equipment for some people if it is seeming a little too easy for them.

However, for those looking for a light to moderate intensity workout, their body weight will usually be sufficient enough. 

For example, we spoke about how a brisk walk can be a great option for the likes of those with conditions that make regular exercise difficult and for many, laps of the pool working against the aquatic resistance is going to help their condition a lot without the need for external weights.

Nonetheless, there are still many clients who could benefit greatly from some extra resistance but still, it is minimal and for the most part, if you work in a leisure centre they will often have these to hand for clients.

aquatic training

Some of the equipment you may need or come across are:

  • Kickboards
  • Water jogging belt
  • Aquatic dumbbells
  • Wrist and ankle weights
  • Swim bar

As you can see, it is quite far from the reality of regular personal training where there are heaps of different pieces of equipment to use and choose from.

This makes the life of a freelance personal trainer especially easy as if a client has a home pool where you attend to train them, carrying this light weight equipment is going to be much easier than some heavy barbells!

#4 Aquatic Personal Training Can Help You to Workout for Longer 

training in the pool

Yes, it’s true! 

Working out in the water can help dramatically in avoiding overheating and in turn, provide you with the ability to work out longer.

Ultimately, the reason we may tire out easily in the gym is due to how hot we get when taking part in intense exercise, whereas with aquatic training you will be able to stay cool longer.

You can still get results with steady exercise, even though the workouts are less intense, the fact that you’re able to continue on longer helps build overall endurance.

Endurance comes with good cardiovascular health which is necessary when you have a condition that can make this deteriorate. 

For example, it can be incredibly easy to neglect exercise if you have something that affects the joints or makes general exercises or everyday tasks like walking even difficult. So, being able to extend your time in the pool makes up for the daily activities that the client could be missing out on.

#5 Working with an Aquatic PT Can Improve Cardiovascular Health 

aqua PT

Working hand in hand with what we have just mentioned, working on cardiovascular health is a huge selling point of aquatic training. 

Cardiovascular health is important for anyone at any age and like regular exercise working out in the water can be an effective and fun way to incorporate exercises into your life. 

This does differ from the conventional ways of exercising and it may even feel like you’re not working nearly as hard as you usually are simply due to the fact that the water can assist you so much. 

Working out in water counts as aerobic exercise which is going to act as a catalyst to decrease the resting heart rate and in turn, improve your overall cardiovascular health which is beneficial for any age.

Plus, being submerged into water can actually lower blood pressure for some and this can happen relatively quickly.

This is because in water, your blood vessels become much more relaxed which allows for your vessels to carry more blood out to the body. This means that there is less pressure on the heart as it is pumping blood out.

It makes a big difference for those who struggle with cardio exercise in the gym, it is also simply a more enjoyable form of exercise that can help you to improve your heart health in an arguably easier way! 

#6 Flexibility Can be Improved Through Aquatic Training

aquatic trainer

The movements necessary to work out in water can improve flexibility in more ways than you may think.

As we have mentioned, there is a natural resistance against every inch of your body when you’re in water (12x more than air resistance!) and this isn’t something you’d be used to on land.

Infact, in the gym regularly you would be accustomed to hitting different muscle groups in each session and it’s rare to be exercising your whole body at the same time. 

This means that if you focus on your legs in the gym, you may find that they’re the most flexible limbs but nowhere else.

However, in water, the twisting and turning of the trunk and simply acting against water’s resistance is going to strengthen your trunk, legs and arms and increase flexibility everywhere even if this isn’t your main focus. 

#7 Personal Training in the Pool Offers a Full-Body Workout Every Time

aquatic personal training

Finally, if you need any more convincing on why you should get started with, or become, an aquatic PT this ties everything that we’ve spoken about together.

If you’re somebody who doesn’t like the idea of split muscle group working days, or you just don’t like the idea of a tight schedule, working out in the pool is a great alternative.

It is a relief from the pressure of feeling like you’re obliged to work your upper body because you’ve neglected it or that you have to create this balance and work all muscle groups separately. This is because it can target your whole body in every session.

Imagine heading to the gym with weights attached to every part of your body, that would feel unnatural but this is exactly what happens when you submerge into water. 

This isn’t to say that you cannot conduct split muscle days in the water, you absolutely can, but even if you focus on your upper body for the session, this isn’t to say that your legs won't be taking the slack too! 

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For more details on different routes and progression opportunities as a personal trainer, read our articles below:

The Drawbacks Of Aquatic Personal Training

water personal training

Though the drawbacks of working as a personal trainer in the pool are minimal, we want to be as transparent as possible on what to expect when entering this career.

We have picked out two of the main concerns that pop up when people choose to become a water PT. First off, you’re of course going to need to work in a gym that has a pool, which often may sound easier than it truly is.

This is because many commercial gyms that offer pools are typically the more prestigious and higher end ones meaning, you may need to go above and beyond to land yourself a job there. This isn’t a bad thing though, in fact you could use this as a motivational tool to work toward.

Nonetheless, you can actually get hired as a personal trainer whose job is to solely train people in the water, you can see below an example of a leisure centre that does just that.

training in the pool

However, the drawback of this specific role is that for a fitness professional, this is a relatively low wage of £13 - £14 per hour. Though this is more than the national minimum wage, personal trainers can usually expect to work for a minimum of £25 - £30 per hour in the gym. 

So, what does this mean for you? 

The good news is that if you want to create a career for yourself as an aquatic personal trainer, it is clearly possible and could be a great addition to your practice as a PT in the gym also. 

It is a great opportunity to versify what you offer and reach a new demographic of clients that could then benefit from your gym sessions too. 

Another concern that is often spoken about is the expense. Hiring a pool is expensive if that's what you plan on doing per client. However, this is completely subjective to which path you take, for example are you:

  1. Wanting to become an aquatic personal trainer only?
  2. Wanting to have more than one revenue stream?
  3. Wanting to work freelance?

You need to ask these questions to yourself because this is what will decide where you will operate and the drawbacks or limitations that you may face.

aquatic personal trainers

For example, if you want to be freelance, you could focus your attention when it comes to personal training in the pool for private sessions for people who have pools in their home. 

This is something that could act as an additional income alongside gym sessions as the demand for this may not be high enough to rely on solely. 

Though there are small drawbacks to this career, they are relatively easy to not just overcome but more so work around. Being a fitness professional allows you to dip your toe into different prospects including being a personal trainer in a pool.

 

Expand Your Portfolio with an Exercise Referral Course!

Get qualified to work with clients with chronic physical conditions or illnesses by enquiring about a level 3 Exercise Referral course

4 Steps To Take Before You Offer Aquatic Personal Training

How to be an aqauatic PT

Since this is a relatively different and unique way of training, you may be wondering what you need to think about, do and prepare before you decide to offer this service.

Below we have 4 steps to take to prepare yourself in this line of work.

Step 1 | Become Comfortable With Using The Pool For Exercise

aquatic personal training

First off, you’re going to want to get comfortable with training in the pool. You should avoid simply starting to offer this right off the bat, instead you should get to grips with the practical aspects of being an aquatic trainer.

Delivering sessions in the water is different than on the gym floor. So, when you decide that this is what you want to offer, you should be actively trying out the programmes you design on yourself before posing them on a client. 

You will have to get into the pool with your client and you may need to assist them depending on the level that your client is at. For example, if you have an elderly client who suffers from arthritis, they may find some exercises difficult.

Therefore, you need to adapt your spotting techniques for aquatic training and get comfortable with doing that. When it comes to delivering sessions, it depends on where you are practising. For example, if you’re in a public pool or the gym pool there may be noise around you or potential distractions. 

You will simply have to work around this, if there is certain equipment not available (if you don't have your own) you should be prepared to work around this and be sure that your client still feels comfortable all the while.

Nonetheless, this isn’t so different from working in the gym where you also have to be prepared to adapt if machines are taken up too. So, you may be more prepared than you think when heading into the pool to train but you should still remember that you need to practice in the pool first.

Step 2 | Attend Water Aerobics Classes To Learn More

training in the water

Leading on from step 1, getting comfortable in the pool comes from practice. To do this, you should be attending water aerobics classes yourself to get used to the physical impacts that you could feel when working out in the water.

We’ve spoken about how the resistance on the body is different from air resistance, you can only know this feeling when you have experienced yourself. Plus, this is how you’re going to learn more about movements and how instructors behave when teaching a class.

You could take tips and tricks from the instructor and you can see the kind of demographic that is showing up to these classes. You can assess the dynamic between the instructor and the clientele and also take note on how they attend to clients.

Do they get in and out of the pool or do they stay in/out of the pool for the entirety? 

You could ask yourself what you think works best and apply this kind of knowledge to your own instructing techniques. You should never stop learning, whether it is going to classes or asking the instructor how they teach in the pool - put yourself out there and your practice will improve.

Step 3 | Develop Your Exercise Programmes For The Water

can i personal train clients in the water

Naturally, exercise programmes are going to be different, you won’t have the equipment nor machines that you’re used to in the gym and your clientele is likely to be different.

This means that you should develop new programmes that are still going to offer effective results like in the gym.

So how do you do this?

You should first, asses who your clientele is, are they:

  • Old
  • Struggling with any health conditions?
  • Looking to reach specific goals?

Once you have this understood, you should then assess what they’re capable of in the water and decide for a start, if you need any equipment at all.

Some body weight exercises working against water resistance would be sufficient for those looking for a low impact yet still effective exercise. 

how to do personal training in the water

On the other hand, you should prepare the right equipment for those who need to intensify their aquatic training. Things like:

  • Water weights 
  • Leg floats
  • Aqua jogger belts
  • Ankle cuffs

There are so many different types of aquatic training equipment that can help you to intensify a workout, it isn’t as easy as showing up to the gym but once you have your equipment, the job is done. 

As we mentioned, the equipment necessary is minimal and won’t break the bank and it allows you to cater to specific populations and even target particular muscle groups. For example, if you have a personal training client with arthritis, you may have areas that need more attention than others; however, this client is not prepared for weights on the gym floor.

This is when programming and adaptation is incredibly important. You could use the aforementioned equipment to still hit the muscles that you would plan in the gym, but create a less intense version in the water.

Step 4 | Explore Additional Qualifications To Support Your Aquatic Personal Training

qualifications for aqua personal trainer

Though not always necessary, additional training can never be a bad thing. 

Initially, you’re going to need at least some fitness training behind you, preferably a level 3 in personal training. We did some research and the most common ground was a level 2 or level 3 qualification that is CIMSPA recognised, take a look below at this snippet from a job description below:

personal training in the pool

With this in mind, our recommendations would be to take a level 3 diploma in personal training. This is because it is within this course that you will learn the importance of delivering a session whether it is in the water or not - the principles of exercises should be, and need to, be learned sufficiently.

Along with this, you should be on the lookout for any other relevant qualifications that would make you even more fit for the role. 

Some of these include:

Lifeguarding Qualification

This is decided on a case by case basis depending on the requirements of your chosen gym. However, for the most part, you will need this to work in a pool setting.

First Aid Course

Like regular personal training, you must have a first aid certificate and you also must remember to keep up to date with this. One certification doesn't last a lifetime, you will need to go for refresher courses when the time comes up.

qualifcations needed to be a water PT

Exercise referral Course

Similarly, an exercise referral course is going to help you when it comes to training particular populations which is likely to be common when it comes to personal training in the pool. 

Exercise referral will help you in understanding how you can help those who have chronic conditions that could be improved through exercise. Doctors will refer their patients to you when necessary and you can handle them with care. 

A low impact exercise like pool training is a great option for those who are candidates for referral so this is a great course to look into. You can find out much more about how to become an exercise referral specialist here, it is something that could benefit your revenue and career greatly.

Obesity & Weight Management Course

Another population that you may see often in the industry as an aquatic PT is obese clientele. This is because as you know by now, the water is great in assisting movements and putting less pressure on the joints and body as a whole.

Becoming qualified in this area makes you much more knowledgeable on this kind of client and you can approach them with the education behind you. They are much more likely to trust your practice if you have been trained specifically in this area and you understand the treatment this client will need. 

Before You Go…

We hope that with our help, you feel confident in adding this career prospect to your services. It is a great way to reach a new clientele and really make a difference in people’s quality of life.

Don't forget, if you want to learn more about how to help specialist populations or to simply offer more than your average trainer check out our level 3 in exercise referral here. Alternatively, find our level 3 diploma in personal training and many more in our downloadable course prospectus.

Written by Kimberley Mitchell

Editor

Having gained a B.A Hons degree in Media, Culture and Communications, Kimberley has gained experience in areas of web journalism, website production and marketing.

Alongside this, Kim expanded her knowledge and passion for fitness, by becoming a fully qualified fitness instructuor and personal trainer. Kim has also gained specialist qualifications in yoga, nutriton, spin and many more.

After working in the industry as a PT, Kimberley went on to study an MA in Digital Marketing and continues to expand her knowledge in the industry. Her main focus is to keep up with current trends and communications with a focus around health & fitness, writing and being creative.

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