February 01, 2021 6 min read

What is water cycling

Water cycling, AKA aqua cycling, takes your spin class to a whole new level. Performed in a pool on purpose-built, hydro-spin aqua bikes like the Hydrorider®, it combines a low-impact but intense cycling workout with arm, chest and core exercises for all-round fitness.

What ups the ante is the resistance produced by cycling underwater. Twelve times greater than cycling on land, this extra resistance increases blood flow and improves your cardiovascular endurance. At the same time, the water relaxes muscle tension, helping to prevent injuries or the muscle pain normally associated with an intense work-out.



  • Burns up to 800kcal an hour 

The strong resistance produced by working-out in a pool makes water cycling a quick and effective calorie burner. As your body works harder to cycle through water than air, it raises your metabolic rate, which can help you reduce body fat and reach or maintain a healthy weight.

  • Enhances blood flow

When you cycle underwater, the hydrostatic pressure of the water results in a significant increase in blood circulation. Good blood flow energises your muscles so they don’t fatigue as quickly.

  • Low impact on joints

Because your body weight is supported in water, water cycling is perfect for people of all ages with muscular, joint or weight problems who want to exercise. The zero-gravity-feeling of water also makes it ideal for athletes recovering from injury and women looking to maintain fitness through pregnancy. Always consult your doctor before embarking on a new fitness regime.

  • No sore muscles

The surprising lack of muscle pain after such an intense workout is something first time water cyclists often comment on. When you exercise on land, micro damage to the muscle fibres and connective tissue leads to the ‘day after’ soreness we’re all too familiar with. In water, the impact on your joints, muscles and bones is so low you’re much less likely to experience micro-damage or injury. 

  • Less stress, better sleep

 Exercise is a great stress-buster and water cycling is no exception. Spending time in the water also relaxes your muscles and helps reduce anxiety, leading to a better night’s sleep.

  • Improves cardiovascular endurance

 Because your heart beat frequency is 10% lower in water than on land, water cycling allows you to work at a higher intensity with a lower heart rate.

  • Increases breathing capacity

Good breathing is key to a good work-out. It stimulates blood flow and delivers oxygen to our muscles to help them work more efficiently. Because most people don’t feel as out of breath when they exercise in water, aqua cycling allows you to gently increase your aerobic capacity.

  • Promotes flexibility and recovery

Have you ever noticed how much more flexible you are in water? Its buoyancy allows you to move your joints in a wider range of motion than you could on land. This, together with the way water supports your body, makes aqua cycling a great recovery work-out after a big game, marathon or other intense work-out. 

  • Effectively combats cellulite

 Studies show the connection between our leg muscles and our lymphatic system. When working efficiently, our lymphatic system drains toxins from our body. The resistance and movement created by cycling in water acts as a natural massage that stimulates and drains the lymphatic system. Together with improved blood circulation, this helps to improve your skin’s appearance and reduce the effects of cellulite.

  • Inclusive 

Because of its low impact nature, water cycling is an exercise people of all ages and fitness levels can do. Even in a class environment, you’re able to train at your own pace, with no need to worry about ‘keeping-up’. Specialist aqua bikes like the HYDRORIDER® let you control your workout’s intensity. So a triathlete in training can be in the same class as an active 81 year old and their 10 year old grandson, for example, and each individual’s fitness goals can be achieved. Always check with your doctor before taking up a new exercise regime.

What you need

The only equipment you need is an Aquabike.

Whether you’re joining a class or buying your own bike for home, it’s worth remembering that not all AquaBikes are made equal. The increasing popularity of water cycling has inevitably led to ‘knock-offs’ appearing in the market. For your own safety and enjoyment, check that your bike shares the same key performance features as the HYDRORIDER® AquaBike. 

HYDRORIDER® AquaBike features

Features to avoid

4 Paddle Flywheel

Designed by biomechanic and hydro-dynamic experts to provide the smoothest maximum resistance with speed. The Flywheel has the longest and deepest paddle in the market for maximum resistance.

Push Only Resistance or Mechanical Lever Only

Without a flywheel, the bike can only offer constant one level resistance and not provide more challenge over time for the rider as they improve. 

Mechanical resistance

A mechanical lever makes the pedal harder to push but doesn’t use or increase water resistance. You might as well ride on land. Any turn knob adds load to the joints and is dangerous as you could overload the joint. It can be jerky on the joints or require the rider to stop to add. A natural resistance with a flywheel is preferred as self propelled so only adds resistance when you are ready. This reduces the risk of injury and maximises benefit without significant intervention.

Multi-level resistance claim

 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 less levels but a longer, high functioning Flywheel paddle.

Full Handlebar Adjustment

Every body is different. Vertical and horizontal handlebar adjustments ensure you can find the optimal cycling position for both your height and arm reach so elbows have a ‘soft’ bend.

We recommend the HYDRORIDER® AquaBike Pro-Fix and Professional models for fast or frequent use. 

Height-only Handlebar Adjustment

Doesn’t adjust for arm reach. Fast frequent use too far forward or back can strain the lumbar region, as the knees and hips may not be in a bio-mechanically correct position.

Full Seat Adjustment

Vertical and horizontal adjustments ensure you can find your optimal cycling position for your leg length and height.

We recommend the HYDRORIDER® AquaBike Pro-Fix and Professional models for fast or frequent use.

Height Only Seat Adjustment

Adjusts for height but not the vertical and horizontal positioning that helps protect your knee joints with fast frequent use.

Marine Grade Stainless Steel

Made from marine stainless steel AISI 3 l 6L anticorrosion to withstand continuous use in pools. The laser nitrogen process used to cut the frame also prevents corrosion. Built for longevity from the most environmentally friendly material available, it requires little maintenance.

Aluminium, HDPE Plastic PVC

Aluminium doesn’t last as long in water. Its light weight makes it more likely to move during fast strong movements and damage the pool surface.

HDPE and PVC plastics are cheap but not as durable or good for the environment.

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

The wide wheels have been designed to make it easy to get bikes in and out of the pool and storage. 

No or thin wheels

Without wheels, lifting bikes at all can be difficult and dangerous, leading to back injury. Thin wheels don’t support a frame making it easy for bikes to tip and cause damage. Light bikes jump with speed causing damage to the pool surface.

High performance design

A perfect balance of European stye and biomechanic and hydro-dynamic design, HYDRORIDER® AquaBikes are celebrated for their sleek stylish look as well as performance.

Poor design

Clunky design with a low price is unlikely to last or perform well. It’s short term gain for long term pain.

Style without function

A good-looking bike without customisable handlebars, seats or water resistant mechanisms is unlikely to improve your fitness level and may cause injuries.


How to get started

Step 1

Try a class here at Water Resist.

If you would prefer to water cycle at home, get in touch with us.  We can help you with an Aquabike for your pool at home.

Step 2

Get the right gear. Chances are, you already have it. Just wear what you feel comfortable wearing in the pool. You don’t need to worry about chafing in water. We also recommend wearing sunscreen, hat and water.

Footwear is mandatory when using aquabikes with cage pedals. Reef water shoes are highly recommended as they allow water to drain away. Ordinary sneakers absorb water and add weight that can cause calf pain.

Step 3

Crank up the music and have some fun pedalling.


Note: Please seek medical advice before exercising & always train under the advice your medical specialist.

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