Focus On: Aqua Zumba

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A couple of months ago, I got my Aqua Zumba license along with some friends from work.

aqua zumba3

I was waiting until I had my first class under my belt, and now that I’ve taught and survived, here’s a Focus On post 😉

What is it? Aqua Zumba is very similar to regular Zumba classes, except for the very obvious: you’re in the water. Similar to many pool classes, you’re going to be doing lots of resistance work with the water, including cardio elements, lateral movements and jumps!

What to expect? A pool dance party. Something about being in the water with loud Latin music playing really makes you feel like you’re at a beach party. Everyone is smiling and having a blast. Similar to classic Zumba classes, the moves are not broken down. You dance along and follow the instructor, who will use physical cues and patterns in the music to teach. The beauty about Zumba is that the moves will repeat themselves for the same portion of the song (for the chorus, you’ll always do the same thing, for the hook, you’ll do the same thing and so on) and if you’re not doing it perfectly, it doesn’t matter. Feel the music, enjoy yourself and as long as you’re not slamming into your neighbor, you can pretty much do whatever you want 😉


[Photo source]

One of the things that makes Aqua Zumba appealing is the fact that no one can see your dance moves. They can see your face, shoulders and head, so if you’re smiling and moving the bottom half of your body, no one knows if you’re doing the moves perfectly. It’s a great option for those who are intimidated by dancing in front of others, and also a great option for those with joint concerns.

What to wear? A supportive swimsuit (lots of shimmying…just sayin’) and water shoes to protect your feet. I also recommend a hat and sunglasses if the pool is outdoors. Bring a water bottle, towel and SPF.

Pros: Like I mentioned above, Aqua Zumba is a fantastic option for many people with joint concerns. (Of course, check with a doc before taking any new classes, especially if you have health considerations or injuries.) There’s also the added benefit of resistance from moving against the water, so you’ll get some strength gains as well! When you’re moving under water, the cost of energy rises as your speed of movement increases. To be able to keep up with the faster movements, your muscular endurance gradually improves. You’re able to more safely move through full ranges of motion, without extra stress on the joints, which can thereby increase flexibility.

This is a benefit of aqua fitness in general (not just Zumba!), but being in the water can help to improve circulation while your heart pumps more efficiently.

It’s something different to try. Anything you can do to challenge your body in a different way is a GOOD thing, and it’s a fun, low-impact cardio option.

Cons: Getting used to moving in the water can be a little tricky, especially if you’re not used to it. The more you go, the easier it gets.


[Photo source]

Some teaching notes:

-Most of the movements for Aqua Zumba are half-time, since it’s hard to move quickly under the water.

-If you can team-teach (especially if your pool is outdoors), DO IT. We team-teach at work, each instructing two songs before switching, while the other instructor gets in the water to cool off. It gets hot out on the deck!

-Your core and booty will be sore after teaching the first time. Since you really need to overemphasize the pushing and pulling motions of dancing in the water, it’s amazing how much of a workout you get get on the deck. Especially those jumps.. you’re not quite as buoyant on land 😉

-Use music you already know well. Teaching Aqua Zumba is like starting a new class format from scratch, so if you already know the music, it can make it a lot easier to come up with and remember your choreography. YouTube is a great resource, too.

I used this dance last weekend:

Have you taken Aqua Zumba? Are you a fan of pool fitness classes, or notsomuch? They can be deceptively challenging!



Summer Shape Up: How was Workout 3 again today? Here’s a leg burner if you’re looking for one to go along with it!

More Zumba posts:

Is ZIN worth it?

Focus On: Zumba

“Don Juan” choreography

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  1. michele on June 19, 2013 at 2:21 pm

    Late to the party but so excited to sign up for the summer shape up!

  2. Sharon on June 19, 2013 at 2:25 pm

    If they offered these types of classes in my area in an outdoor pool I may be more inclined to take one. I love being in the water outside in the sunshine. I do like the fact that no one can really see your moves so you won’t be embarrassed if you mess up any steps:)

  3. Leslie W on June 19, 2013 at 2:38 pm


  4. Rachelle on June 19, 2013 at 2:38 pm

    I am a water aerobics instructor and actually just did aqua zumba last week!! And I loved it!!!!

    Do you have to have a Zumba certificate before you can teach aqua zumba? I might have to say that I like aqua a little more then floor zumba.

    • Fitnessista on June 19, 2013 at 3:28 pm

      you do if you want to call it aqua zumba. otherwise you could call it “h20 latin cardio” or something like that

  5. Katja on June 19, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    I’m doing regular Zumba class and enjoy it very much! Congrats to your license 🙂

  6. Ashley @ Life and Fitness on June 19, 2013 at 2:49 pm

    I’ve never taken any water classes but they sound super fun.

  7. Tracy on June 19, 2013 at 2:55 pm

    This is random/unrelated, but how is Meg? We haven’t seen a new fashion post since pre-wedding. Love her posts!

    • Fitnessista on June 19, 2013 at 3:27 pm

      she’s great! they’re in their newlywed honeymoon bubble 🙂 i get to see her at yoga and work, but they’ve just been basking in newlywed bliss. hopefully she’ll write a post soon!

  8. Lisa on June 19, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    Since I’m a spazz while attempting zumba this would probably be more my scene 😉 although I’ve never tried it, it sounds like it could be fun.
    Very interesting.

  9. Yaara Leve on June 19, 2013 at 3:21 pm

    That looks like so freakin fun!! I gotta find an aqua zumba class here in Chicago! I also love how it’s easier on the joints.

  10. Cara on June 19, 2013 at 3:42 pm

    Workout 3 was sweatastic yet again:)

  11. Ruthie on June 19, 2013 at 4:00 pm

    Had seen Aqua Zumba on the schedule at the YMCA while I was doing a free trial and was intrigued. Haven’t done pool workouts before but hearing your POV, I might just give it a try sometime.

    SSU CHECK IN: Workout 3, ab burner & barre leg burner complete! Thanks for giving us so much to love to hate!! The plie series in workout 3 was so much harder than I thought — kept having to take breaks. Definitely noticing my pushups improving (still do most on my knees but slowly getting there).

  12. Holly @ EatGreatBEGreat on June 19, 2013 at 4:00 pm

    I love regular Zumba, so I’m sure I would love aqua Zumba too! It looks like so much fun! I can imagine that you get quite a workout because of the resistance of the water. I need to find a class near me! 🙂

  13. Ali @ Peaches and Football on June 19, 2013 at 4:08 pm

    Aqua Zumba in an outdoor pool sounds ridiculously AMAZING!!

    Hurray for the blog being back up. 🙂

  14. Niki on June 19, 2013 at 4:18 pm

    Workout 3 was amazing and my legs are quivering after the barre burner, I was looking down at them shaking away while doing the plies! Thanks so much for the brilliant shape up, I’m loving it!

  15. Paige @ Your Trainer Paige on June 19, 2013 at 4:26 pm

    This looks like SO much fun! And I’m actually not really a Zumba person. I love swimming – and pool running – so I bet doing zumba in the pool would be a blast 🙂

  16. Abby on June 19, 2013 at 4:37 pm

    I had to switch my workout days around a bit this week, so I did Workout 3 for the first time yesterday! Love the format of this one with the 400m runs and the full-round style. Its a fun switch-up from the mini circuits.

  17. Leah O on June 19, 2013 at 4:43 pm

    Workout 3 was great today! I was only able to do 2 rounds due to time on Monday so it was nice to be able to do all three rounds today. LOVE this workout! Yesterday I took a scenic walk for cardio 🙂

  18. Victoria on June 19, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    There’s no aqua zumba at my gym (no pool!), but I’ve heard such fabulous things about it. I bet it’s a blast in the heat – cools you down a bit!?

  19. Fernanda on June 19, 2013 at 4:58 pm

    Aqua zumba sounds like a lot of fun!! And a great option for the summer … Will look up if there is anything being offered around the neighborhood.

    On another note, I’m having such a blast withe summer shape up!! It is also been great to use Instagram as a sort of log book.
    Thanks for coming up with the project! Really!! =)

  20. Becca on June 19, 2013 at 5:00 pm

    I’ve just been doing the workouts for SSU (not following the calendar), and since last week I only got in one session of Workout 2 (I didn’t want to be sore before my half marathon), today I did it again. I did better on the ball this time. I’m looking forward to trying Workout 3 soon!

  21. McKel Hill, MS, RD, LDN | Nutrition Stripped on June 19, 2013 at 5:06 pm

    OH my goodness! I want to try this so bad, how much fun! I love this video too, thanks for sharing and broadening my horizons of Zumba lol. 😉

  22. Chelsea on June 19, 2013 at 5:32 pm

    I’ve never been able to find an aqua zumba class in my area, but I’ve read about them in multiple places and think that it would just be such a fun thing to get to do! I love pool classes, I love Zumba…now I just need to find a place that combines the two! 😀 Thanks for this great Focus On!

  23. Sarah Kader on June 19, 2013 at 5:34 pm

    Been stalking the page for a while – my friend inspired me to start #summershapeup – hope I’m not too late! Thanks 🙂

  24. Colleen on June 19, 2013 at 6:27 pm

    Workout 3 was great today! I followed up with a few rounds of the #purelytwins #purelyfitlife Burnout Leg Workout for my leg burner. I LOVE circuit workouts, so I’ve really been enjoying this week!

  25. Amanda on June 19, 2013 at 7:52 pm

    Great workout yet again! Did another 3 rounds and was dripping in sweat at the end. Aqua Zumba sounds like so much fun. As a very “dance challenged” individual I totally appreciate the “no one can see what you’re doing under the water” aspect 🙂

  26. Kayla on June 19, 2013 at 8:03 pm

    I used to take aqua zumba at my gym and loved it. Granted I also love “land” zumba and am an instructor, but there was always something so ridiculous and awesome about zumba in the water. It’s impossible to look coordinated and graceful while bobbing up and down which always made me laugh when I took class with friends– it was hilarious and a good workout. I wish my gym still offered it!

  27. Megan on June 19, 2013 at 8:10 pm

    I can’t wait to take your class! The first day I have an 11 open, I’m out with you at the pool!

    • Fitnessista on June 20, 2013 at 1:46 am

      dooooo it 🙂

  28. Beverly Aragon on June 19, 2013 at 9:55 pm

    Glad to see the blog up and running again! SSU Workout 3 & Barre Burner are done and done 🙂 Totally feeling the burn all over…in a good way!!

  29. Rebecca on June 19, 2013 at 10:32 pm

    This sounds like fun! Not sure if there are any in my area. I totally did see a outdoor Zumba class out in cottage country in Ontario last weekend – thought of you.

    Glad your blog host/server issues seem to be resolved – had a bit issue last year and had to switch hosts, which was such a pain in the ass. It worked out and magically, no problems since!

  30. Elena on June 19, 2013 at 11:58 pm

    They don’t offer a Zumba swim class at my gym, but it looks fun! This month as part of the summer shape up I would like to challenge myself to take a gym swim class, which I never have before. We’ll see how it goes!

  31. Brittany on June 20, 2013 at 6:58 am

    This looks like a load of fun. I have tried water “yoga” before but this looks like it would be much more fun. Thanks for the breakdown of pros and cons.

  32. Caitlin on June 20, 2013 at 7:30 am

    Wo3 and barre burner done! Legs and butt are burning! I have only done Zumba on vaca, but in the pool seems like it would be more fun and I might feel less silly;)

  33. Amy on June 20, 2013 at 7:52 am

    I did some time on the elliptical yesterday and I’ll do workout 3 + leg burner today. My schedule is different from yours this week, but still sticking to the plan!

    • Fitnessista on June 20, 2013 at 10:45 am

      yay, great job!

      • Amy on June 20, 2013 at 8:32 pm

        Thanks! 🙂 And whoa, leg burner! Thankful for a rest day tomorrow… and sad that next week is the last!

  34. Missy on June 20, 2013 at 10:19 am

    Did the leg burner barre workout today. Hopefully will do some of your Zumba vids later.

    • Fitnessista on June 20, 2013 at 10:41 am

      let me know which ones you choose! 🙂

  35. FitBritt@MyOwnBalance on June 20, 2013 at 11:03 am

    I took Aqua Zumba for the first time about a year ago (I posted a review if you are interested: I liked it as sort of a one time thing but it’s not something I would do on a regular basis. I prefer regular Zumba classes. Nevertheless, it was fun and nice to jump in a pool on a hot day!

  36. Debi on September 8, 2013 at 4:06 am

    Great workout, ladies. Love it! Thanks for posting it.

  37. […] confines of your gym?! What about swimming? Has anyone tried an Aqua Zumba class?! If not, here’s a great review from The Fitnessista, a certified Zumba, and now, Aqua Zumba, instructor. It […]

  38. Diane on June 13, 2019 at 11:02 am

    Our gym just opened up the outdoor pool for summer Zumba classes. I am excited to try it, but my only reservation is whether it will be intense enough. I am generally fit & strong. I’m used to high impact Zumba classes. When I peek into the indoor aqua Zumba classes they tend to be made up of seniors & pregnant ladies. I tend to be low in vitamin D, & I love Zumba, so I want to make this outdoor pool class work for me. What can I do to make the workout more challenging, if I need to?

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