Unlock the Benefits of Water Walking with These Exercises & Tips

by Joost Nusselder | Last Updated:  02.02.2023
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Water walking is all the rage right now and for good reason. But how do you get the most out of this exercise?

Water resistance already provides a great workout, but adding ankle weights can increase the impact of water walking even more. Keep your core and back muscles engaged with each exercise. Simple variations like high knees, water lunges, or side- and backwards walking add the most value.

Let’s look at some of the best tips to get you up and “running” in water.

Water walking exercises and tips

Level Up Your Water Workout

Upper Body Workouts

Ready to take your water workout to the next level? Here are some fun ways to add intensity to your upper body routine:

  • Get your wrists in on the action with wrist weights, foam dumbbells, or resistance gloves.
  • Give your hands a workout with hand webs.

Lower Body Workouts

If you’re looking to up the intensity of your lower body workout, try these ideas:

  • Add some resistance with ankle weights.
  • Take your workout up a notch with a resistance parachute.
  • Jog instead of walking in the water.
  • Do interval training by alternating between jogging or running for 30 seconds and walking for a couple of minutes.

How to Walk in Water Like a Pro

Getting Started

So you want to learn how to walk in water? Well, you’ve come to the right place! Here’s what you need to do to get started:

  • Get yourself waist-deep in water (here’s how deep it should be) and start walking. Make sure you keep your core and back muscles engaged, your back straight, your shoulders back, your chin up, and your ears over your shoulders.
  • Keep your torso upright without leaning too far forward or to either side.
  • As you walk, press into your heel first before rolling your weight onto your toes.
  • Swing your arms as you walk.

Diving Deeper

Now that you’ve got the basics down, it’s time to take it up a notch. Here’s how to take your water walking to the next level:

  • Start off by walking slowly and gradually increase your speed.
  • Once you’re comfortable with walking in deeper water, try to pick up the pace.
  • If you’re feeling really adventurous, try walking in circles or figure eights.
  • You can even try walking backwards or side-stepping.

The Finishing Touches

You’re almost there! Here are some tips to help you perfect your water walking:

  • Keep your head up and look straight ahead.
  • Make sure to keep your arms and legs moving.
  • If you’re feeling tired, take a break and float on your back for a bit.
  • And most importantly, have fun!

Getting Creative with Water Walking

High Knees

Ready to take your water walking workout (it’s great!) to the next level? Start by getting your knees up high! This will help you work your core, glutes, hip flexors, and leg muscles. Here’s how to do it:

  • Engage your core and lift your right knee as high as you can.
  • At the same time, raise your left arm.
  • Switch and do the same with your left knee and right arm.

Walking Lunges

Walking lunges are a great way to target your quads, hamstrings, calves, and glutes. Make sure you’re in water that’s at waist level, then follow these steps:

  • Step forward with your right foot.
  • Lower your front thigh so it’s parallel to the bottom of the pool.
  • Make sure your right knee is in line with, but not over, your ankle.
  • Keep your back leg straight.
  • Bring your left foot forward, and continue by stepping forward with your left leg.

If you’re feeling extra adventurous, try doing side lunges instead of forward lunges. This will help work your adductor muscles, which are located on the inside of your thighs.

Sideways Walking

Ready to target your inner and outer thigh muscles? Here’s how to do it:

  • Stand sideways with your right hip leading.
  • Step your right foot to the side.
  • Bring your left foot to meet your right.
  • Continue like this until you get to the end of the pool.
  • Walk back with your left hip leading.

There you have it! Get creative with your water walking routine and you’ll be sure to see results in no time

What Do You Need for Water Walking?

The Basics

Water walking doesn’t require a ton of gear, and most gyms will have what you need. Some fitness centers may even have water treadmills or elliptical trainers for you to use. If you’re hitting up the gym or taking a class, all you need is a towel, swim cap, and maybe some goggles if you want.

Optional Equipment

If you’re planning on water walking solo, you may want to invest in some of the following:

  • Strap-on wrist or ankle weights
  • Hand webs or resistance gloves
  • Foam dumbbells

You can find all of these items online.

Be Prepared

Water walking is a great way to get a full body workout, so make sure you’re prepared with the right gear. Don’t forget your towel, swim cap, and goggles (if you’re feeling fancy). And if you’re planning on going it alone, don’t forget to grab some weights, resistance gloves, and foam dumbbells. You’ll be ready to take on the water in no time!

How to Get the Most Out of Your Water Exercise

Sunscreen is a Must

If you’re planning on taking your workout to the pool, don’t forget to lather up with sunscreen! You don’t want to be the one with the lobster-red skin, trust us.

Warm Up

Before you dive into your water workout, take some time to warm up with five minutes of light aerobic activity like walking and light stretching. This will help you get the most out of your workout and prevent any injuries.


It’s easy to get caught up in the moment and forget to breathe, but don’t fall into this bad habit! Remember to keep breathing throughout your workout.

It Takes Time

Don’t expect to see results overnight! It takes 6-12 weeks of resistance training to see the intended benefits. So don’t give up if you don’t see results right away.


Water walking is perfect as a low-impact cardio workout and you can make it EVEN BETTER!

I hope these tips will help you get extra value out of your routine. Just remember to keep your form in check, use the right equipment, and don’t forget to HAVE A SPLASHING GOOD TIME!

Joost Nusselder, the founder of Kauai Surf Report is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new sports with everything surfing at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2019 to help loyal readers with surfing and water sporting tips.