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If there’s a time of year best known for tanning and toning, it’s Summer.

But exercising outside during the hottest months can be dangerous (be wary of heatstroke and sunburn, friends). In search of a way to train, cool off, and stay safe at the same time, I tapped a few knowledgeable New York City-based fitness trainers to utilize fun pool floats for an instantly Instagramable, colorful, and challenging sweat session.

Scroll through for fresh ways to flex those muscles without using barbells or doing burpees — and while wearing a bathing suit!

I Tried a Workout Using Only Pool Floats, and Here’s What Happened

Poolside Plank — Obtain Defined Obliques

Achieving defined abs requires only a little more effort than relaxing in a lounge chair. Katia Pryce, founder of DanceBody in Manhattan, offers the following instructions to solidify a strong core while hanging poolside.

  • Lay on your side on your pool float outside of the water.
  • Rest one arm at a 90-degree angle on your float.
  • Push with your arm to lift off the float into a side plank and hold for 10 seconds.
  • Repeat on the same side 5 times, then switch sides.

Floatie Lunges — Strengthen Inner and Outer Thighs, Butt, and Core

Pryce’s NYC studio DanceBody will also be in the Hamptons this Summer. She utilizes lunges in sculpting classes (sans pool float, plus weights). But when you’re outdoors, a light and bright float is the perfect lunge accessory.

  • Hold your favorite pool float over your head.
  • Pull your belly button in toward your spine to engage your abs.
  • Balance on one leg for a moment, then step into a deep lunge forward.
  • Continue, alternating legs until you reach the other side of the pool.

Slice Squats — Concentrate on Core and Legs

Tough Mudder X Champion Hunter McIntyre suggested raising floats overhead while doing squats, but items like this Pizza Slice Pool Mat ($10) can be held out in front of your body for added core work, too. “Squats are an easy way to work the legs while firing up your core at the same time,” said McIntyre.

  • Wear flat shoes to stabilize yourself, like these water-resistant and stretchy Seastar Beachcomber Espadrilles ($89).
  • Stand up straight with your feet hip-width apart.
  • Lower your bottom down, as if you’re going to sit in a chair, while holding arms (and float) above your head or in front of your chest. Focus on going very slow on the way down.
  • Straighten your legs and repeat 20 times.

Pool Floatie Paddle — Produce Powerful Lats

Tone House coach Evan Betts usually instructs inside a darkly lit room in NYC. For this lat move, however, a brightly colored pool toy will do the trick — and allow you to get competitive. “If you have a friend and another floatie, race one another to one side of the pool and back!” said Betts. “If you’re by yourself, time yourself, and then try to beat that time.”

  • Kneel down on the float as it floats in the water.
  • Lean forward and put your hands in the water like paddles.
  • Pull yourself forward with your hands as if you’re rowing a boat.
  • Continue for the length of the pool, then repeat.

Not-So-Lazy Day Lunges — Get Stronger Glutes

Betts also suggested a butt workout, because suns out, buns out, right? Utilizing a float, the side of the pool, and your own body weight, this is one of the best ways to fire up glutes. “This will be a fun and solid way to attack those buns for the Summer,” Betts said.

  • With one leg on the side of the pool and the other leg on the float, descend into a side lunge.
  • Keep most of your weight in the heel of your foot on the pool deck, using the leg on the float for balance and support.
  • Straighten the poolside leg for one rep.
  • Complete 10 reps on each side.

Sweet Summer Savasana — Rest!

After exhausting your muscles, it’s time to relax and give your body a break. “Otherwise known as ‘dead body pose,’ [this move] is the best when it comes to relaxing Summer days! Completely let go, and take in some vitamin D!” said Jen Lobo, cofounder of bodē nyc.

  • Within a body of water, mount yourself on the middle portion of a long float (like this Lollipop Pool Float, $6), giving yourself enough room to stretch out.
  • Lay back on the float, extend your legs straight in front of you, and place your arms by your side or out in a T formation.
  • Breathe and float in the water.

Your workout is complete!


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