// Make a splash with kiwi jam

by Linda Dorrington

Being around water often brings back happy memories of relaxing, carefree days or fun-filled holidays. So when many people first try aquatic exercise, it’s with a sense of returning to something they have always enjoyed – playing in the water. It is up to us as instructors to make a participant’s exercise experience positive and beneficial. And this is what Kiwi JAM (Just Add Music) does. So, let’s tap into both your knowledge as an instructor and your childhood sense of fun to reinvigorate your class.

Class tools

The aquatic environment provides us with a very effective tool that allows us to offer a vast array of intensity alternatives and exercise variations.

Tools include:

  • Changing direction

  • Changing rhythm

  • Travelling

  • Speed

  • Changing levels (neutral, normal, suspended, rebound)

  • Changing planes of movement

  • Changing lever length

  • Changing surface area

  • Using assisting/resisting arms

  • Changing range of motion.

Class techniques

Like land-based exercise classes, water-based classes also have a range of choreographic techniques that can be used to form or vary your class.

Linear progression – smoothly rolling one exercise or intensity into another. Change one thing at a time.

Add ons – a series of simple moves in a particular order. Sequence is built one move at a time.

Pyramid/reverse pyramid – repetitions of a move or sequence of moves either decreasing or increasing.

Organised action – split the class into groups e.g. lines, corners, circles.

Chorus routine – a choreographed routine to a chorus that is used every time the chorus plays.

So, let’s use these tools and techniques to put a cardio section of a class together:

1. Using three moves – cross country, jog and stride jumps (photos 1, 2 and 3) – progress through your four levels (normal/neutral/rebound/suspended) with each.

2. With a two-move combination and differing speeds, use cross country and front punch. Cross country x3, land legs wide stance, then front punches x8 (photos 4, 5 and 6). Repeat.

3. Move side to side across the pool, then use moves in a square with jog/jog/hold either as forward or backward move:

  • pendulum left using long levers (photo 7)

  • jog/jog/hold for 2 counts (photo 8)

  • pendulum right using long levers (photo 9)

  • jog/jog/hold for 2 counts (photo 8).

Then reverse square.

4. Teach each move, then add on:

  • teach CanCan (photos 10 and 11)

  • teach Charlie Chaplin legs behind with crossover arms in front (photos 12 and 13)

  • perform 1 and 2, now teach jog with fast/short levers.

  • perform 1, 2 and 3, now teach tuck jump (photo 14).

Perform each move in a quarter-turn sequence, e.g. CanCan x4, 90 degree turn; CanCan x4, 90 degree turn, etc. Repeat

for each of the four moves. Now travel the moves in a square and then reverse the square direction.

5. Using two moves – cross country and stride jumps – use the pyramid and reverse pyramid combination. Counts are 16, 8, 4, 2 then 2, 4, 8, 16.

Have fun teaching and help your participants create some fresh new memories of playing in the water!


Linda Dorrington
Based in Wellington, New Zealand, Linda is an experienced instructor and presenter with over 12 years experience in the aquatic fitness industry. After managing a fitness facility for five years, she now works as an industry training advisor in sport, fitness and recreation, identifying skills needs, developing training plans, and promoting learning that meets industry standards. For more information e-mail linda@skillsactive.org.nz or visitwww.skillsactive.org.nz

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