September 14, 2021 10 min read

The world of aquatics has changed over the years and is no longer just about swimming and facilitating games like water polo. Innovative recreational facilities and aquatic centres are starting to offer Water Resist, a water resistance program that integrates the therapeutic qualities of water with the strength and endurance elements of exercise, for health and fitness benefits.

As our knowledge base behind water expands, so does the development and implementation of innovative equipment to better leverage these powerful forces. Professional sports teams, rehabilitation centres, and spas worldwide are starting to incorporate aquatic equipment into their state-of-the-art training facilities, and more individuals and fitness facilities are discovering the potential of aquatics.

Aquatic equipment has been developed to help achieve better health outcomes, enhance physical capabilities, and provide therapeutic benefits. But how do these tools work, and what advantages do they offer to our bodies? This article will serve as a guide for different types of aquatic exercise equipment, including inflatable boards, resistance bands, aqua trampolines, aqua bikes, and underwater treadmills.


Equipment designed for movement in water has its benefits; it can help us move, or move us, in very specific ways for improved health and fitness outcomes. For example, you can rotate your legs in the water, and it’s still a low-impact exercise. The buoyancy of the water makes it low impact but there is no control over the movement. The leg will rotate all over the place varying with each individuals buoyancy and generated water turbulence. This can create issues with muscles and ligaments and exacerbate any tears (i.e., meniscus tears). There is also no alignment or proper biomechanics without structural support. However, you can get a proper Aquatic Bike called a Hydrorider to provide this control structure and enhanced resistance. A Hydrorider, while an investment, creates the proper alignment, rotation and provides stability in the right areas. A large, well-designed flywheel also creates a smooth rotation, aligned momentum, and scaled resistance, which cannot be achieved without special aqua cycling equipment.

While you can run in shallow water or in deep water, utilising an underwater treadmill is different and even more beneficial for the body. The treadmill offers adjustable buoyancy, reduced impact, and enhanced control, and its benefits are backed by sports science research.

Similarly to mimicking the cycling motion without the bike, running underwater without the treadmill is much less structured. The treadmill allows for controlled movements and a more intense workout in many cases. It’s powered by the body and the water’s resistance rather than machine mechanics like a land-based treadmill.

For example, when using a buoyancy belt, there is no impact at all since the individual is suspended in the water without touching the bottom of the pool. With a water treadmill, the impact is still very low, but there is a constant point of contact and structure to the running motion. It more closely resembles running and gait patterning on land, but with all the added benefits of aquatic fitness.

Using aquatic equipment can increase the intensity of any water workout by its shape and design. This may be especially necessary for athletes, individuals looking to push themselves, and those who want to level up their training through cross-training.


Though some of these pieces are similar to their land-based counterparts, they are different. Aquatic equipment is unique in its leverage of water for optimal movement outcomes, water resistance leverage and scale, durability, design, safety, lower carbon footprint, and maintenance procedures. Hydrorider have been world leaders in Aquatic equipment for 25 years and are who we recommend for optimal biomechanics, equipment longevity and quality customer outcomes in mind.


Traditional mechanical exercise equipment often focuses on similar movement patterns. Aquatic equipment, however, diversifies the movement patterns and offers movement patterns not experienced in typical workouts but more closely mimics movements used and needed for daily life. When you lift heavy groceries its not a balanced weight like a 10 kg dumbbell on land, and when lifted isn't most often linear. It's important to build strength in a way that has practical application for daily life. It’s also important to reach both large functional muscles and the smaller accessory muscles required for stability.

This is especially true for the core, which includes abdominal and back muscles. For example, balancing on an aqua fit mat engages muscles that aren’t easily activated through traditional exercise. With greater core strength and stability, people are less likely to experience lower back pain, which plagues so much of the population. Furthermore, improved core strength is related to improved balance and coordination, lowering fall risk in the ageing population.


Water provides multidirectional resistance. This means that no matter which way you move in water, there will be resistance against that movement. Aquatic exercise equipment capitalises on this property, offering increased resistance to build strength in all directions. On land, traditional weights and machines often provide unidirectional resistance, linearly targeting specific muscle groups. 

Resistance in water is both scalable and self propelled. This means you can only add the level of resistance your limb is ready for. Water is denser than air providing heaver resistance that increases with speed. For example on a Hydrorider AquaBike the faster you pedal the more resistance you encounter. However, you can only pedal as fast as your legs strength and knee joint will allow. The more you cycle the stronger then legs then the faster you pedal and the more resistance you encounter. This uses water resistance to build strength at a resistance level you are ready for, regardless of where you are at or how long you have been exercising.


Water due to its buoyant properties provides an easy non weight bearing environment vs traditional land based equipment which is weight bearing to various degrees. Resistance training on land often involves heavy weights which provides added risk of injury.


Specialised aquatic equipment made by Hydrorider is made specifically for water, so it is rust-resistant and mould-resistant. It is durable and will not break down from being wet over time. Quality aquatic equipment is made with marine-grade stainless steel. We recommend Hydrorider Aquatic equipment.


Equipment made for the water is designed with Aquatic Centres and home pools in mind with easy movability and storage. Hydrorider’s treadmill and Aqua bike have been designed by experts with efficiency in mind for health outcomes, safety, and portability. The sleek and professional design allows things to fold into a lightweight and compact apparatus.


All Hydrorider equipment is made for pools and safe to be used in the water with no protruding edges or sharp corners and anti skid rubbers for ease of use on all pool floors. 


By opting for aquatic workouts, users minimise their carbon footprint by reducing the need for electricity-powered equipment. This makes for a more eco-friendly exercise alternative and promotes sustainable fitness practices.


All Hydrorider equipment is well made for the aquatic environment and requires little to no maintenance. Simple rinse and store. 


One of the biggest misconceptions surrounding aquatic fitness is that it's 'easier' than land-based workouts. While the water offers buoyancy, making it less impact on the joints, its resistance can make exercises more challenging. This makes it more accessible for all levels of fitness, but its natural resistance is dense and highly scalable, providing ongoing challenges should you want it.

Adding equipment amplifies the benefits of water workouts, creating a challenging environment that caters to both novices and seasoned fitness enthusiasts. These diverse tools can be combined or used individually to customise and enhance any aquatic workout, catering to different fitness levels and objectives. 


Equipment meant to be used on top of the water creates a challenging environment to build strength and balance. This instability causes the activation of more minor but essential stabiliser muscles. Things that float offer support for beginners or those rehabilitating but can also be used for more unique fitness modalities.

Aqua Fitmat

Hydrorider's FOW (Fitness On Water) is a slip-resistant inflatable board that adds a new level of intensity and challenge to your fitness program and steps up the challenge of any yoga or pilates moves. The FOW promotes proper posture and alignment and enhances core stability and strength. It can also be used while the exerciser is in the water for other moves related to strength, balance, and flexibility. 


Though water is already 800 times the density of air, adding resistance equipment is helpful for extra challenges to promote muscle and bone growth. After all, 
resistance training has many benefits and can reduce the risk of age-related declines like decreased bone density, low back pain, heightened fall risk, and impaired cognition.

With increased muscle mass comes an increase in metabolic rate, meaning your body burns more calories at rest.

If you don't like dealing with heavy weights in the gym, this form of resistance training is a safe and effective way to build muscular and bone strength and endurance.

Resistance Bands

Resistance bands are very beneficial for functional fitness and rehabilitation.  Aqua resistance bands are specifically designed for water, so they will not break down with wear and tear as quickly as using normal elastic bands would. The Hydrorider Riderband has 10-hole options for differing limb lengths and exercise variations. This elevates the need for multiple bands. For those who travel often they are also easy to pack and store.

Resistance bands can be used for a full-body workout, including both upper-body and lower-body exercises. All the while, the core is activated to maintain balance and stability.  


The goal of using aerobic equipment is to promote endurance and stamina for cardiovascular benefits, so we've included the water treadmill, aqua bike, and aqua trampoline in this lineup.

These pieces of equipment mimic are similar to land-based equipment of a similar name but without the joint strain and self-propelled. This is why many athletes and sporting teams use aqua fitness as a form of cross-training or injury rehabilitation. Aquatic aerobic equipment is perfect for when you need to stay in shape but need that process to be gentle on the body. This equipment is especially beneficial for those who avoid exercise due to joint or back pain. Physical inactivity can have negative impacts in the short and long term. Thus, the benefits are compounded if water fitness helps get people moving who would typically abstain from physical activity which is common with injury.

Underwater Treadmills

Underwater treadmills can help combat common injuries associated with running on land, such as plantar fasciitis, knee pain, and Achilles tendonitis. When running in water at waist level, the force on the body is reduced by 34-38%. All the while, that person is doing a resistance workout from the water's pressure and a cardiovascular workout from the jogging/running. Particularly for someone rehabilitating, an underwater treadmill can be used to reintroduce weight-bearing by adjusting the pool water's depth or the treadmill's placement.

Gait training is an especially important aspect of treadmill training in water. Gait training refers to the rehabilitation of walking and movement patterns. It is crucial for restoring independence for those recovering from an injury or fall and also helps address the fear of falling. With time spent on the underwater treadmill, individuals begin to trust themselves again through increased strength and balance.

A specific instance of gait training is after a stroke or other traumatic brain injury.

For example, a study compared training with ankle weights to underwater treadmill training with jet resistance for 4 weeks, 5 days a week, and for 30 minutes each session in patients undergoing stroke rehabilitation. Both groups significantly improved static balance, dynamic balance, and various gait parameters. However, the water-jet resistance group improved more than the ankle weights group in most measured aspects.

However, walking and running on the underwater treadmill has also improved gait in healthy people.  In another study, 25 healthy participants with no lower extremity orthopedic history underwent gait training using an underwater treadmill for twenty minutes a session five times a week over four weeks. After the training, there were significant improvements in step length, velocity, and cadence.

Hydrorider's underwater treadmill comes with adjustable handles for optimal comfort and versatility. It also folds up into a light and compact unit for easy transport and storage.

Aqua Bike 

Like treadmills, aquatic bikes have certain advantages over their land-based counterpart. They still initiate extreme calorie burn and have added resistance from the water. The resistance increases as you increase speed so that it can appeal to someone at any level of their fitness journey.

The hydrostatic pressure of the water helps stabilise inflamed lower body joints, particularly while promoting faster recovery. For these reasons, aquatic spinning is starting to gain much interest in areas of injury rehabilitation and osteoarthritis.

There are a few things to consider when looking to buy a water bike for personal use, like how it is built, if it is adjustable, and the resistance specifications. Both the seat and handlebars are adjustable on Hydrorider's Aquabikes to ensure that the rider is comfortable performing an effective workout, making the bike fit for all body types.

In contrast to land bikes that rely on levels for resistance, water resistance bikes derive their resistance mainly from the paddle's size and design. A bike with numerous levels but a smaller paddle offers less resistance than another with fewer levels but is equipped with a larger, high-performing flywheel paddle. A large flywheel is essential on an aquatic bike.

Aqua Trampoline 

Water trampolines can be a fun and entertaining way to enhance cardiovascular health, improve leg strength, and increase overall stamina. It's a bonus that you can't fall off or hurt yourself on an aqua trampoline, which you can do on a land-based one.

All mentioned aquatic equipment is available for group fitness or individual use. They are items that are considered an investment but can be worth it for those who struggle with musculoskeletal injuries or pain, are highly active and want to preserve joint function, or for those who want more variety in their fitness equipment artillery.  


Starting or refocusing a fitness program to better align with your health and fitness goals may be one of the best things you can do for your health. Physical activity can reduce your risk of chronic disease, improve your balance and coordination, help you lose weight — and even improve your sleep habits and self-esteem. With its unique blend of therapeutic and health benefits, Aquatic fitness is growing as a choice for many.

Any exercise in a pool is a good place to start, and it will give you a low-impact workout. However, if you would like to focus your movement and alignment and leverage the water resistance for improved health and fitness outcomes, a diverse range of available equipment can help you achieve your goals. Hydrorider aquatic equipment is purpose-built for the water environment, and with their leadership in aquatic equipment design and superior quality build, there is no surprise they are the world leaders in aquatic equipment, and the choice of many like Water Resist to help improve health and fitness outcomes.

Also in Blog

Breast Cancer and Aquatic Exercise
Breast Cancer and Aquatic Exercise

October 20, 2023 10 min read

Aquatic therapy can improve strength, cardio, flexibility, balance, lymphoedema, chemo-induced neuropathy, as well as the anxiety & self-image affected by breast cancer.
Water Cycling for Anxiety & Depression
Water Cycling for Anxiety & Depression

September 04, 2023 8 min read

For those with anxiety and depression, the water's gentle embrace offers solace, strength, and a path to rejuvenation and wellbeing. 
Water Exercise for Bone Health
Water Exercise for Bone Health

August 31, 2023 4 min read

Water exercise is proving effective for bone health, has lower risks of fracture, & puts less stress on the joints. It also comes with less risk & additional health benefits. 
Get Started
Enquire today to get started