January 03, 2021 7 min read

Are you addicted to indoor cycling on a stationary bike or spin bike workouts and their awesome benefits? There’s only one way to make it better, an underwater spin bike workout. Add the health benefits of water, the cool and fun nature of water, and you will want to back up the next day.

Underwater spinning or also known as  aqua cycling or water cycling, is gaining traction in  Australia as an exercise that delivers maximum health benefits for minimum pain. As a country that swelters through summer, this cool fitness trend lets you swap sweat for wet. The water is cool and refreshing and warm and soothing in the winter.

An underwater spin bike workout is a great low-impact exercise that anyone can do with the right equipment, an AquaBike. It's very different than land biking, which uses levers and gears to control speed and resistance. An aqua bike utilises paddles and water resistance to give you a high intensity but low impact workout.

What is underwater spinning?

Underwater spinning is a water-based exercise using a purpose-built hydro-spin bike known as a Hydrorider. This training equipment is submerged in 1.2-1.6m of water. It is as easy as riding a bike on land. You just sit on the bike, slip your feet into the pedal cages as you start pedalling. 

The Hydrorider features a four-paddle flywheel that offers smooth, gradual changes in resistance while increasing cycling speed. It has the largest paddle available in the market for the greatest resistance underwater. This resistance increases as you try to increase your speed. The horizontal and vertical adjustments of both the seat and handlebars can help you set the perfect position for your body according to your height, leg length, and arm reach to make your aqua cycling experience more comfortable.

Underwater spin bike workouts are low-impact exercises that are proven efficient and effective in burning body fat and calories as it strengthens your upper body including the lungs, heart, core muscles, and the lower body muscles. 

In comparison to some other cardio equipment, underwater cycling puts less stress on your joints and overall body while providing an excellent aerobic workout.  

During an underwater spin class, a certified instructor leads you through each 45-minute interval class, which includes a warm-up, different cycling positions, underwater arm resistance exercises, and stretching, all set to paced music. The constant movement of your body boosts your heart rate and can burn up to 800 calories per hour. The water's pressure massages your muscles to help in the stimulation of blood flow and help your body heal. The result? A holistic workout that leaves you feeling toned, fitter, tighter—not terribly sore—and relaxed. This under-water workout is awesome for just about anyone, whether you love the beach and a water environment, injured or sore from training; pregnant; trying to lose a few kgs, mix up your routine, or just wishing you got more wear out of the swimsuits you bought this summer. 

If you don’t have an underwater spin class near you, it can be done at home in your home pool.

Benefits of Underwater Spin Bike Workouts

Here are some reasons why underwater spin bike workouts are great for your health and fitness:

A fun workout

The resistance in the water makes underwater spin bike workouts more challenging and fun than just spinning on land.

By attending and being involved in aqua spin classes which is a dynamic group, also benefits to an emotional level. You will not just be able to meet new people but also build long-lasting friendships. 

Higher calorie burn

Underwater cycling can also help you burn up to 800 kcal in an hour. It is an excellent workout for those who are aiming to lose weight. 

Strengthens cardiovascular health and improves endurance 

Aqua cycling is a great low-impact workout that can increase your cardiovascular endurance and improve overall cardio health. When you're spinning in the water, you can exercise at a higher intensity at a lower heart rate. Thus, it improves your cardiovascular health.  

Improves muscle strength and coordination

This cardio-strength workout makes your muscles stronger as you pedal in water. Simultaneously, you are also increasing your coordination by letting your muscles work together. 

Tones major muscle groups

This whole-body workout targets all of the major muscle groups. Aqua spinning can help tone your core muscles, back, glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, and lower leg muscles. 

Kind on the joints and muscles 

If you are experiencing sore muscles, usually after working out, you will feel safer if you spin underwater. Also, the water's buoyancy will support your body weight; it puts less pressure on your joints and muscles as you enjoy an intense workout. 

It is a useful rehabilitative exercise

Underwater spin bike workouts serve as a rehabilitative exercise program because it puts less strain on the joints, muscles, and the bones with the help of the water's buoyancy. Aqua spin exercise programs are also suitable for individuals who are recovering from injury or with limited mobility. 

It is also beneficial to the elderly, pregnant women, or individuals with muscular, joint, or weight issues. Spin bike workouts can also be a good exercise for osteoporosis. 

A good recovery workout

After finishing a major game, marathon, or intense land-based workout, underwater cycling will be able to help you recover better and faster as well as work out without stress. In addition, you can reap the benefits of pedaling in water more frequently with less impact on the body. Hydrostatic pressure from the water generally helps in relaxing, soothing, and stretching your muscles as it is a low-impact water exercise. As a result, this lessens your chances of getting "next-day soreness" that you frequently experience with on-land workouts. This is because it only creates less micro-damage to the muscle fibers and body tissues.

It helps improve blood flow

The hydrostatic pressure of the water can significantly improve your blood circulation. It strengthens your heart muscles, lowers your resting pulse rate, and reduces fat deposits in the bloodstream. Moreover, it can also help prevent muscle fatigue. 

It helps to reduce stress and improve the quality of sleep

Exercising generally improves sleep quality, eliminates tension, and reduces stress. Spinning underwater can provide you that benefit!

The Underwater Spin Bike

Unlike regular and stationary bikes, AquaBikes have no gears nor knobs. They simply rest on the pool floor and use waist-high water for resistance—the faster you pedal, the harder it gets. If you’re used to spinning on land or indoor cycling, it feels different due to the buoyancy. This helps take the impact off your joints but forces you to engage your core muscles much more and the result of your feet and knees. The water resistance makes it challenging to cycle and is engaged with speed and velocity rather than a knob. This provides a natural and smooth resistance that grows with you.

Getting a water bike is completely different from a traditional on-land bike. The right water bike can either make or break your workout. Are you wondering how to choose a pool bike? Here are some things to consider:

  • Multi-level resistance claims - The key to water resistance is the paddle, not levels. A bike with more levels but a shorter paddle has less resistance than one with fewer levels but a longer, high-functioning Flywheel paddle.
  • Paddle flywheel — Some aqua bikes in the market do not have a flywheel. They only offer a constant one-level resistance. A feature of a good aqua bike provides maximum speed and smooth resistance. This resistance comes from the flywheel. Hydrorider Pro-fix and Professional water bikes offer the longest and the deepest paddle on the market. The better the resistance and the better the workout will be done because of the deeper and longer the paddle.
  • Full seat adjustment — Height-only seat adjustments account for height but do not allow for the vertical and horizontal positioning necessary to protect the knee joints. 
  • Full handlebar adjustment — Height-only adjustments do not account for arms reach. Without being able to adjust the arm’s reach, you may strain your lumbar back. 
  • Marine-Grade Stainless Steel — Water bikes available in the market are often aluminum or HDPE plastic PVC. Neither of these materials will really last long underwater. Light-weight aluminum is more likely to shift underwater. Marine-grade stainless steel is built to withstand the pool's environment with little maintenance. Apart from that, they are also environmentally friendly. 
  • Base with Anti Skid rubber feet - These feet provide stability in strong, fast movements and protect the surface of the pool.
  • Base with Suction Caps- These stick the bike to the bottom of the pool and lose their suction power quickly. Strong, fast movement can result in jumping and surface damage.
  • Base with wide wheels - Some water bikes come with thin wheels, and some, entirely without them.
  • High-performance design — Some water bikes are really clunky, especially those that are the less expensive ones. In addition, those bikes and styles are not hydrodynamic therefore making it harder to ride. 

What is the difference between Spinning Underwater and Spinning at the Gym?

Both focus on speed, intervals, and power, motivated by instructors and music. However, the water provides full-body resistance that can be up to 12 times greater than that simply being on land. The water makes spinning therapeutic. The buoyancy will put little to no impact on the body, so there is no soreness or tightness in the muscles providing enhanced flexibility and strength. 

Interested to try underwater spinning? Here’s what you need to know:

  • What to wear: Just wear swimmers or whatever you feel comfortable in, as chafing is not an issue! Chances are, you already got the right gear. 
  • You will get wet! Though the water only comes up to the middle of the chest, all those splashings will definitely get you and your hair wet. There are showers available.
  • What to bring: Don’t forget to bring your water bottle to keep you hydrated and your sunscreen and hat to protect yourself from the sun. Shoes must be worn on the AquaBike. We recommend reef water shoes that drain water quickly. Ordinary sneakers are not a good idea since it absorbs water easily and can cause calf pain.
  • Cost: A single class is $25 unless you choose to buy a  package (then the cost ranges from $14 — $20 per class). Training with mate for a  10% discount is always a good option.
  • Book: You need to book, so there are enough bikes. You can do this  online.
  • Where: If you are not on the Sunshine Coast and there is not a class near you, if you have a pool at home, you can shop for a bike for your home pool.


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