Weak abs can decrease your gym performance and make you more susceptible to back pain and muscle injuries. 

You can also do water exercises to strengthen your abs if you find land exercises too difficult. They are much easier and less demanding than land exercises.

This article contains twelve water exercises that will tone and strengthen your core. Continue reading.

What are ab exercises exactly?

Abs exercises are core exercises that strengthen your lower back and improve balance. They strengthen the abdominal region and protect your inner tissues against external force or damage. 

These exercises strengthen the abdominal muscles.

What muscles make the abs?

The abdominal muscles (or abs) are four muscles located in the abdomen region. 

These muscles are also found in the back. ‘core’muscles and keep your body balanced and stable.

The abs can be described as the following muscles

  1. The rectus Abdominis is located at front of the abdomen. It is responsible for stabilizing the trunk during movements that involve the head and hands. They are commonly called the six-packs.
  2. Each side of the rectus abdominalis are the external oblique muscle. They allow you twist your trunk.
  3. The internal oblique muscles are located just below the external.
  4. Transversus abdominis (TVA). This is the most deep part of your abs. They stabilize your spine and help maintain abdominal pressure.

Water exercises for abs

Below are the top exercises for your abs. Also, learn how to do them.

Superman kick

Stand at chest level in the water, and grab the pool wall using both hands. 

Keep your body apart from the wall, so your legs are floating in water.

Keep your legs straight and parallel, and then start to kick as hard as possible. 

If you feel like you are sinking towards the bottom of the pool then push yourself up and keep going. 

Continue for another 30 seconds.

Straight leg raise

Perform by putting your hand out in front of the pool wall. 

While you are doing this, place your hips on the pool. Keep your legs straight and together in water.

Now, raise your legs towards water surface and press your lower back against the pool. Then squeeze your abs. 

Slowly lower legs back down. Do 10-15 reps.

Reverse crunch

Do the reverse crunch with water: Place your back into the water and let your body float. 

For stability, wrap a noodle around the back.

Then, you can crunch your abs by bringing in your knees and lifting your shoulders. 

Return to your starting position and do 15 reps.

Alternativly you can move your knees towards you hands while you tread water. You can see the video below. 

Pendulum swing

Standing in the water chest-deep with your feet hip width apart, keep your feet on the surface. 

Lift your right knee off the ground and swing your leg back and forth.  

Move your legs as you tread the water.

Jump and do a hip twist 

Place your legs together in the water, and then bounce on the balls of your feet. Rotate your hips left and right. 

Continue to twist for approximately 30 seconds. Do three sets.

Straight leg kick 

This is a great way for you to tone your abs and strengthen your hamstrings. 

With your feet hip-width apart, stand in the pool. One leg straightens to the other, the other pulls the abs in tight. 

Lift your leg up until it reaches the surface of the water.

Alternate sides, and do ten reps on each leg—complete three sets.

Tuck jump

This is done by balancing on your feet and jumping to bring your knees up to your chest. 

Ensure that your abs stay engaged throughout the exercise. Do 3 sets of 10 to 15 reps.

Trunk rotation

This will help you tone your abs, and obliques.

Place your arms out straight in the pool and clasp your hands. 

Slowly move your hands across your body, twisting your hips. 

Allow your foot to pivot as you rotate your hips so that your core stays engaged and you’re safely balanced in the water. 

Do 10 to 15 reps each side. The more pressure you apply to your abs the faster you go.


This is like a skip ahead and back. 

Start by moving your knees across your body with your hips in front and back. 

Do some back-and-forth swimming in the pool. Do ten reps.

Poolside hip lift 

This is a great move that can work the core as well as the arms. 

Place your hands alongside the hips while you sit on the edge. 

Push your heels towards the side of the pool and lift your hips up. 

You can raise your shoulders by stretching your core muscles. 

Slowly lower your back. Do 10 to 15, reps.

Place your back against the wall

Place your hands on the edge and stand at the shallow end.

Place one foot on the ground and the other on the top. 

To prevent your feet from sliding off the wall, you can place a towel underneath your feet. 

Don’t worry about the walls, and get in the pool. 

Keep your arms crossed to your chest. 

While squeezing your abs, move your head up and down like you would in a crunch exercise.

The deeper you go into the water, the more pressure you’ll exert on your core.

Knee tuck and twist

This move is a bit more difficult. 

Place your arms in the same way as above, with your back against the wall and your back supporting your body. 

To raise your legs off the wall, lift your legs and then tuck your knees into the ground while twisting your hips. 

Quickly extend your knees. Repeat for 15 seconds.

Note: You will sink towards the bottom of the pool if you don’t extend your knees immediately.

Last words 

These water exercises can help tone your abs. Be consistent and follow the exercise program. 

Also, get your healthcare provider’s green light before engaging in any exercise that may affect your medication or health condition.

If you’re looking to lose weight, see our guide on water exercises for weight loss.

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