Cycling in water or aquabiking is an activity that has many followers arround the world. Thanks to the resistance of the water, you work more without risk of injury. The key is a more muscular body and better physical and mental shape. 

What is aquabiking? What are the benefits of aquabiking? and how to practice it? In this article, we will answer all these questions and much more.

Pedaling on a bicycle with your body semi-immersed in a pool, such is the principle of aquabiking, a sport that fills up in municipal swimming pools, aquatic centers, sports clubs, and institutes… Proof of its interest, The activity is offered in rehabilitation by physiotherapists. 

In group lessons, alone in the cabin, supervised by a coach or a physiotherapist, we play on the intensities by pedaling at different rhythms against the water. 

We vary the postures (in the saddle, standing…) and we sometimes integrate arm movements with accessories (mini fins, dumbbells, elastic, board…). To win on all counts, here is everything you need to know about this aquatic sports practice.

What are the benefits of Aquabiking?

Slimming, well-being, health … The list of aquabiking benefits is long. Over the course of the aquabike sessions, you feel better in your body and in your mind. If you still hesitate to adopt this sport which has everything good, here are the different benefits it brings.

Aquabiking burns a lot of calories and loses weight faster

The intermittent (split) exercise offered in aquabiking with its roller-coaster intensity variations, accelerates weight loss compared to known exercise, in parallel with a balanced diet. This type of short and intense effort makes you lose weight faster in water whose temperature is not too high (between 24 and 28°C) “to accentuate the post-exercise effect on the metabolism ”, says Pascal Prévost.

We will burn more calories after a session in cool water because “the body defends itself more against a downward temperature variation than an upward one”.

Aquabiking tones the body

Water resistance acts as a catalyst. “The faster you pedal, the more resistance there is and the greater the effort,” explains the physiologist. The exercise primarily targets the legs and glutes. The abs are sheathed to stabilize the bust during pedaling. 

Does it make you lose your belly? Yes, but… Aquabiking, like sport in general, can only slim down one area, and therefore only targets the stomach. Fat loss is seen on the overall silhouette and not locally. 

Aquabiking develops endurance and breath

The muscular effort raises the heart rate. In the water, it is superior to that provided on a conventional bicycle. Because water slows pedaling, which increases muscle contraction. The cardiovascular system has to work more than out of the water to oxygenate the muscles. 

And since cardio work stimulates lung metabolism, increasing oxygen transport, the regular practice also improves breathing capacity .

Aquabiking improves circulation which help with cellulite

After several aquabiking sessions, blood circulation improves. Like any aquatic activity, movement in the water has a massaging effect. “The friction of the water on the skin during pedaling resembles an effleurage massage”, observes Pascal Prévost. 

Combined with muscle contraction linked to exercise, the massage drains the fascias, these fibro-elastic membranes made up of water and collagen which surround each organ, each muscle.

This facilitates venous return. With practice, you can even improve the orange peel appearance. A less effective solution than palpate-rolling in an institute, but less expensive! It is a good ally against cellulite!

Aquabiking relieves the joints

Aquabiking is a carried sport where the mechanical constraints are reduced, unlike sports with an impact on the ground such as running. 

The absence of articular constraint proves to be interesting for rehabilitation, in particular of the knee. “In the event of a knee problem, you have to move to regenerate the tissues”, recalls the physiologist.

But out of the water, the effort is sometimes too heavy for the injured tissues to bear, impairing healing. With aquabiking we rule out any risk of weakening. We respect the extensibility of the fabrics. 

Aquabiking maintains the bones

Sportswear was thought to have no positive impact on the joints. A belief challenged in the light of recent studies.

“Working vertically in the water, like on an aquabike or aquagym, and not on your stomach like swimming, is beneficial for the bones,” sums up Dr. Pascal Prévost. 

A study published in the Clinical Journal of Sports medicine, for example, revealed that water polo players have better bone density than swimmers! 

Aquabiking deeply relaxes

After an aquabike session, when you get out of the water, the body is relaxed. “The water massage, even without effort, stimulates the fascias and indirectly leads to post-session muscle relaxation “, notes Dr. Prévost. 

Aquabiking is good for the morale

Sport is the best antidote to depression. Aquabiking is no exception. It boosts the mood thanks to the hormones of well-being (endorphins, serotonin ) released during physical effort. It also boosts its neurons and its cognitive abilities such as memory, attention, and concentration…

5 tips for practicing Aquabiking well

1. Start accompanied by a fitness professional. 

Even before practice in an individual cabin, being supervised by a sports instructor or lifeguard allows you to adopt the right positions and know how to manage the intensity. 

2. Set up your bike properly. 

Saddle not too low to avoid bending the knees and hips too much. How to fix it? “When you extend your leg (pedal down), it is almost stretched,” advises Matthieu Launoy. The handlebars sit a little higher than the saddle. Too low, there is a risk of curling forward and “pulling” in the lower back. 

3. Go gradually. 

In the beginning, you can underestimate the resistance of the water… “It’s better not to force too much during the first session otherwise you risk feeling slack afterward”. A benchmark for practicing at the right intensity: “You feel out of breath but you can say a few words. » 

4. Change pace. 

Over 30 to 45 minutes, you pedal at different paces, alternating accelerations and breaks to feel the benefits of split training. 

5. Vary the postures. 

In the saddle, standing buttocks above the saddle, hands, and forearms on the handlebars to accelerate… We change positions without looking for the perfect posture. “There is no ideal posture, corrects the physiotherapist. You have to move the body in all directions.”

Best Aquabiking Exercises

  • For the thighs: pedal upright on the bike, buttocks above the saddle, hands on the handlebars. The body is sheathed (belly tucked in), the back stretched, the gaze on the horizon. To further strengthen the thighs, accelerate and bend the knees more. 
  • For the back and abs: Sit on the saddle, legs stretched forward, wedged under the handlebars, belly tucked in. Slowly lean the trunk backward and gently rise, blowing, to the starting position. 
  • For endurance: Sitting on the saddle, hands on the handlebars, chest leaning forward, pedal for 10 minutes at a 30/30 pace: alternate 30 seconds of acceleration and 30 seconds of active rest (pedal slowly).
  • To burn calories: Same work 30/30 but the buttocks above the saddle on the accelerations. 

Aquabiking FAQs.

Who cannot practice aquabiking?

Everyone can do aquabiking. On the other hand, this sport is not recommended after a surgical operation , we wait 3 weeks, the healing time. 

How often do you have to practice aquabiking to see the effects on the body?

For everyone, from 2 weeks, with 2 to 3 sessions of at least 30 minutes per week. At the physiotherapist, from 12 weeks for results on the heart and on pain.