15 Pool Exercises for Arms: How to Do Each of The Exercises

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Are you looking for the best pool exercises for arms?

Which exercises are best to tone and strengthen those arms, and how are you going to do that? 

One of the great ways of doing this and is a lot of fun, is exercising in the water, whilst keeping cool especially in the summer.

Owning or having access to a swimming pool can not only be a lot of fun for you and the family, but also beneficial to your daily exercise regime, should you have one.

You have spent all that money on building and maintaining your pool, so why not get the maximum benefit from your investment.

Pool Exercises for Arms: Your new exercise regime

Exercising in your pool can be a great way to start off the day either by yourself or with some friends.

It’s a great way to catch up, socialize and just enjoy their company while getting a workout at the same time.

You can find lots of different workout routines on YouTube which you can play to help mix up the exercises and playing music whilst exercising is a great motivator.

Note: If exercising outside in the sun make sure to wear a hat and sunscreen and the glare from the sun on the water can very strong.

If you do not have access to a pool then contact the local swimming pool or gym close to you.

Find out what classes and times are available and which are suited to you, this is also a terrific way to meet new people whilst getting fit and toning those arms.

The benefits

A workout in the pool is super beneficial as it is low impact on all your joints and muscles and puts less stress on your joints.

One of the benefits is that you will get 12% more resistance to your exercises in the water, than you would do out of the water, that is of course if you are working out correctly. It’s also a great way to lose weight.

Another added benefit of working out in the pool is that it is great for stress relief and it improves your circulation and cardio fitness.


breathing in water

Always remember breathing correctly is a big factor whilst working out in the water, you will need to focus on your breathing by inhaling and exhaling at a steady rate, this feeds your body with oxygen that it required by your muscles while you are exercising.

Can flabby arms be toned?

As we all grow older our skin loses its elasticity and becomes flabby, this and the build-up of excess fat, will tend to stretch your skin.

Let’s face it, none of us like the look of flabby arms, and as we get older they become more noticeable and ultimately, harder to get rid of.

You can decrease this by carrying out triceps and bicep exercises to help get some of that lost tone back into the muscles, and hopefully tighten up that tired skin of yours.

Note: In some people the skin will always stay stretched even if the muscles underneath are toned, this is usually caused by extreme weight loss.

This can be rectified by surgery if extreme excess skin is still present and is distressing.

Warm up

Before working out you must always warm up. Every professional coach or sports expert will tell you how important this process is, and how it should always be adhered to before starting any exercise routines.

It can be as simple as doing a few stretches and a couple of gentle laps in the pool, this is a great way to start a workout.

The reason we should always warm up is because it gradually raises your heart rate and circulation which will help loosen your muscles to prevent injury by increasing the blood flow to them.

There is also a cool down process, but we will get to that a little later in this article.  

Water depth

The depth of the water which is ideal for this type of workout is between your navel and the lower section of your arm pits.

The reason for this level is so you can maintain your balance whilst exercising, rather than floating and becoming unbalanced.

However, as you read on you will notice that some drills are required to be performed in the deeper end of the pool, make sure that you are comfortable and confident in the water before attempting these exercises.

In this article, we will go through some great arm toning exercises that will not only assist in getting those limbs back into shape, but also getting rid of those unwanted bat wings.

Keep in mind that swimming itself is a good exercise for your arms, but it is nowhere near as much fun or stimulating as the water-aerobic exercises that you will discover from reading this article.

Equipment you can use

There are many different types of equipment to assist you with your exercise regime in the water, they will help you to increase the resistance to your arms while you are enjoying your aqua training.

You may need all, or some of the following depending on the exercise routine that suits your individual requirement:

  • Foam dumbbells
  • Pool noodles
  • Large and small Balls
  • Heavy dumbbells
  • Exercise discs
  • Kickboards
  • Webbed Gloves.

All of these items are available at your local swimming pool accessory shop, and are mostly inexpensive.

Alternatively, for items such as foam dumbbells, use a water bottle filled with the amount of sand that is comfortable for your level.

1. Tricep dips with a pool noodle.

Step 1. Stand in the water just over waist deep with your legs slightly apart to maintain balance.

Step 2. Position your pool noodle behind you, put your hands behind your back about shoulder width apart (or what is comfortable for you) and grasp the pool noodle firmly, with your arms bent with the noodle ends just on the top of the water.

Step 3. Push the noodle down into the water as deep as you can go, keeping your back straight. (Do not push too fast) do it slowly and firmly so you can feel the resistance of the pool noodle in the water, then slowly bring it back up.

Repeat this about 15 times, depending on your fitness level and routine, then increase it every time you do your workout.

2. Arm swirls

Step 1. You need to stand with legs apart to maintain balance, stand in the water about chest deep, and keep arms shoulder width apart.

Step 2. Lock your wrists and open your hands with your fingers apart, start with your arms out in front of you.

Step 3. Begin swaying your arms around to your side in the water as far as you can go, with as much force and speed as you are capable (without over doing it at first).

You will start to feel the resistance of the water as you are pushing your arms around and back, the more resistance and turbulence, the better the effect of the exercise.

Step 4. Then switch sides and do the same the other way, making sure you keep up the turbulence and resistance of the water.

You will find that you will feel your arm, shoulder and waist muscles benefit in this exercise if done correctly.

This exercise can also be accomplished with weights, webbed gloves or discs to increase the resistance in water for your arms and shoulders for more gain for your muscles.

3. The wood chopper

Step 1. Put your hands together and bring your hands to the top of the water.

Step 2. With a sweeping motion like you are chopping wood, do this motion with as much strength as you can and bring your hands down across your waist and repeat.

Step 3. Change direction making the chopping movement the other side of the body, this exercise is better being timed rather than counting the chopping motion.

You are also able to do this exercise with dumbbells and discs as well, intensifying the resistance in the water.

4. Arm and shoulder circles

This is another timed exercise, you will need two dumbbells, and you will need to choose the weight which is suited to your level.

Step 1. Stretch out your arms either side of you, with feet flat on the ground to keep you stable about shoulder width apart.

Step 2. Make slow, large circular motions, when the time is up, change direction of the circular motions, keeping your arms straight at all times.

This is an excellent exercise for toning the arms and shoulders.

5. Ball press

You will need a large ball for this exercise.

Step 1. Stand in chest deep water, with your feet flat on the pool bottom about shoulder width apart to stabilize yourself.

Step 2. Hold the ball with both hands and push it under the water keeping control of the ball at all times whilst underwater.

Step 3. Proceed to move it side to side holding firmly to increase résistance.

Step 4. You can modify the workout, you must keep complete control of the ball and make the figure eight under the water, do this for 30 seconds at a time.

Step 5. After the 30 seconds is up, bring the ball slowly to the top of the water.

Repeat this for three times until you can increase your workout time. The bigger the ball the more difficult this exercise will become for you.

6. Noodle speed spin

Step 1. Stand with legs apart, about shoulder width apart to help with stabilization.

Step 2. Put the pool noodle around your waist with the ends facing the front of you.

Step 3. Grab the ends of the noodle, start making large circular movements and increase the speed.

Step 4. When your selected time is up, reverse the motion maintaining the same speed.

This is a great for exercise for toning your arms and stomach muscles. To increase the intensity for this exercise try using dumbbells to increase the resistance, you can also add more time the routine.

7. Pool edge dips

Step 1. Stand in chest deep water, with your back against the wall.

Step 2. Put your hands behind you, palms flat with elbows at right angles, onto the edge of the pool.

Step 3. Position yourself halfway up the wall.

Step 4. Lower yourself up and down as high as you can without straining, feeling the muscles in your arms and shoulders work hard.

The slower you do this exercise the more benefit it will be for you. If you find that you are straining too much doing this workout, you can add a little jump when you are pushing your body out of the water.

This workout can be difficult so if you are struggling to do it, try doing it in shallower water.

8. Pool push ups

Step 1. Stand in the pool facing the wall, place your hands flat on the ledge of the pool, and pull yourself up as if you are getting out.

Step 2. With feet not touching the bottom, bend your arms and lower yourself down whilst keeping your body straight.

Step 3. Lift yourself back up moving about 6 – 8 inches up and down trying to get your belly button even with the side of the pool.

This is a great workout for the triceps, chest and the shoulders. If you find this to be difficult you can always touch the ground with a little jump up, this will help until you get stronger at this exercise.

9. Punching

i). Front punch:

Step 1. Stand in water that is just below your shoulders, stand with legs slightly apart for balance.

Step 2. Clench your fists and punch the water with alternate hands like you were punching something in the water.

Punch as hard as you can and then increase the tempo.

ii). Uppercut

Step 1. Stand in water the same way.

Step 2. This time place your fists down to your waist and punch upwards towards the top of the water as hard as you can.

Step 3. Continue this with both hands alternately and speed up the tempo.

iii). Side punch or hooks

Step 1. Stand in water the same way.

Step 2. Keeping your fists clenched,swing yours arms out wide alternately and punch the water on the way through.

The further back you take the punch the better the resistance is in the exercise, increase the tempo as before.

It is better to time these exercises rather than count the movements, again depending on your fitness on how long you time yourself.

You will the tendency to be put off balance in this exercise when punching really hard, so use your legs to balance yourself by circling one leg behind you.

Weighted dumbbells can also be used in this exercise routine adding even more resistance to the workout. This is a really good cardio exercise as well.

10. Water taxi

You will need a kick board for this exercise.

Step 1. Start by sitting and balancing yourself on the kick board with your legs dangling, it may help to rotate your lower legs to maintain balance,

Step 2.  Put arms out in front of you with palms facing away from you.

Step 3. Begin to do a breaststroke motion, sweeping your arms out in front of you.

Do this for 30 seconds, then change the direction?

Step 4. Reverse the motion and do a backwards breaststroke action to go in the opposite direction.

Continue doing this for 30 seconds, and repeat the exercise according to regime or fitness.

11. Biceps curls

This exercise you will need a set of weights, pick the weights that are a comfortable weight for you to start. (You can increase the weight as your fitness improves).

Step 1. Stand in waist deep water.

Step 2.  Flex your arms bringing the weights close to your shoulders, with arms touching your chest.

Step 3. Slowly lower the weights to the top of the water hold for 5 seconds and then continue down to your thighs.

Step 4. Slowly bring them back to the top of the water and hold for 5 seconds.

Step 5. Bring back to starting position and repeat.

Repeat this exercise according to fitness levels as usual

12. Triceps extension

You will need one weight this time.

Step 1. Hold the weight behind your head with two hands almost touching your neck.

Step 2. Slowly raise the weight above your head, so you can feel the muscles in your arms tightening.

Step 3. Hold above your head for 3 seconds and slowly bring the weight down to the starting position.

Repeat this according to exercise regime.

13. Arm extensions with noodles

You will need a pool noodle for his exercise.

Step 1. Stand in the water about waist deep.

Step 2. Hold the noodle horizontally in front of you with arms stretched straight out in front of you about shoulder width apart.

Step 3. Slowly push the noodle down into the water keeping your arms and hands the same depth and width.

Step 4. Slowly bring the noodle back to the surface and repeat.

This is a great exercise for your shoulders and arms

14. Noodle Run

You will need two pool noodles.

Step 1. Hold a pool noodle in each hand grasping the middle of the length.

You can start at the shallow end of the pool (if you have one),

Step 2. Start to run in the water, swinging your arms using the noodles to push against the water for the resistance.

Maybe do about 6 lengths to start with depending on the length of the pool increasing as your fitness improves…

15. Noodle bends

Step 1. Hold your pool noodle at each end and bend it up into a u shape with the curve sitting at the top of the water.

Step 2. Slowly stretch out your arms, so the noodle is straight.

Step 3. Slowly push the noodle back into a curved shape using a much tension as you can in your arms to increase resistance.

Repeat this motion about 20 times to start off with.

For the hard core try this — The reptile crawl

Now this is a more extreme exercise, to be done with caution.

Step 1. Put two dumbbells on the bottom of the pool. (Starting with weights that are not too heavy for you, increasing the weight as your fitness improves)

Step 2. Place the weights parallel to each other, placing one slightly more forward from the other on the pool floor.

Step 3. Take a large breath, and in a push up position grab your dumbbells at the bottom of the pool, your body should be prone with your legs floating behind you.

Step 4. Proceed to lift the dumbbells forward one at a time staying underwater for as long as possible. Go as far as you can on one breath, come to the surface and repeat.

This exercise is better if the pool is the same depth all the way along,

Note: Do not over exert yourself especially if you are a beginner, just slowly and confidently build up your fitness and strength.

The beauty of the water if you get tired you can just float around and keep cool and rest your muscles until you are ready to start your routine again.

Cooling down

Although it might sound a little strange, cooling down and stretching after your pool workout, or any exercise for that matter, is a very important part of the aqua-aerobic exercise routine.

This  helps bring your heart rate back down and your muscles return to a resting level after your workout, releasing any lactate, if any, that has built while your were working out.

If you do not cool down after a big workout you could end up with tight sore muscles, which is not only annoying, but may also depend your enthusiasm for any future pool workouts.

Note: You will always end up with sore muscles when you have completed a new workout or a more intense exercise regime.

This soreness is caused by microscopic damage to muscle fibers which will result in muscle tightness and the muscles becoming sore, but will they will be back to normal in a couple of days.

Because we are only concentrating on your arms, here are a few cool down exercises you can do after your workout.

Put your arm out straight and place your wrist on the elbow of the straightened arm and bring it across to your shoulder and hold and stretched for 10 seconds and then repeat with the opposite arm. Do this around 4 to 5 times for each arm.

Place your hand behind you, and place your palm flat between your shoulder blades, grasp your elbow with the other hand and push down gently to stretch the muscles, repeat with the other arm, again do this 4 to 5 times for each arm.

Put your hand together and link your fingers, then twist your wrists so your palms are facing outwards.

Slowly stretch out the arms until they are straight out in front of you, you will feel the stretch in your arms and shoulders.

Does water training help after injury?

Because exercising in the water is low impact it is a great way to strengthen your muscles after any recent injury or if you have health issues like joint problems etc.

You may have had surgery, broken your arm, torn muscles, and even severe burns to your skin.

Hydrotherapy is a great way to strengthen your arms, performing exercises that have been formulated by professionals.

This form of therapy can help regain mobility and balance with exercises that will build and stretch the muscles which have been affected by injury doing the low impact workouts.

Stress Relief

Working out in the water is a great stress reliever, for a start exercise encourages the brain to release chemicals that make the body and mind feel better.

Additionally having the warm water flowing against your body promotes a feeling of both relaxation and massage. This all helps to exercise in a great frame of mind.

Overall Health benefits

All in all exercising in the water has great benefits to your overall fitness, health and wellbeing, whilst keeping your body cool at the same time.

With the natural resistance and support in the water your muscles work harder, but it will feel less strenuous.

Exercising in the water also keeps your heart rate at lower level, compared to working out on land if you were doing the same training, the advantage is you still get the same cardiovascular benefits, it is also great for your lung health.

Therefore, it is a great way to work out if you have cardio problems.

If you are lucky enough to have a pool then jump in and give it a try, see what results that can be achieved and get those arms toned and back into shape.

If not head to the local pool or gym and bring along some friends and encourage each other as you go through your workouts.

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