2019 trend: Pool based fitness

 Why Trust Us


First came hydro spinning, then a HIIT class on water. Now we’re pumping iron beneath the surface and practising underwater training as a powerful tool for mindfulness. Hettie explores the new workout trend that’s making a splash…


Lifting weights underwater might seem unorthodox but it’s at the heart of Laird Hamilton’s XPT programme. LA’s most exclusive workout provides an opportunity to work hard without putting impact on your joints. “You can be dynamic and explosive without paying a punishing price”, says co-founder Gabby Reece.

Breath holding during training has been shown to improve performance in a variety of sports. A recent study done on triathletes, used breath holding twice per week as a part of their normal training routine. After 5 weeks, the breath hold group improved their performance while the control group saw no improvement. Their results were an average improvement of: 3.7s in 100m, 6.9s in 200m and 13.6s in 400m.

“In a sport where the difference between 1st place and 5th place are fractions of a second, these results are significant” explains Coach PJ Nestler, Performance Director at XPT. “The use of intermittent hypoxic training can improve acid buffering, delaying muscle and blood acidosis as well as enhancing tolerance to rising levels of acid, improving anaerobic performance.”

XPT retreats take place in Hawaii, Miami, Costa Rica and Malibu this year. XPT also has several certified coaches in Europe that will be running workshops in 2019.


While the physiological benefits are all well and good, for Lee Mullins, founder of Bvlgari Hotels & Resorts’ Workshop Gymnasium, underwater training is a powerful mindfulness practice.

“Pool based training has recently gained a lot of praise, and for good reason”, he explains. “Not only are there big physiological benefits to training underwater, including less joint impact and challenging the body against a different type of resistance that you can’t replicate on land, but one of the biggest benefits is psychological.

Underwater training is a powerful mindfulness practice. The fact that you’re training underwater helps bring a consciousness to the present, which has been shown to help lower stress and anxiety. We have been so impressed with this method of training that we plan to launch it across all Bvlgari Hotels & Resorts’ Workshop Gymnasiums across the globe from April/May 2019.”

Bvlgari Hotel London


Being able to control your breath can increase your physical output and recovery. But it can also improve your cognitive abilities and capacity to handle stress and the everyday issues we all encounter.

While being held under by a 50ft wave for up to 5 minutes isn’t exactly an every day issue for most, for big wave surfers like Andrew Cotton, this is when the hypoxic training kicks in.

“It doesn’t matter how fit you are, you’re never going to beat the ocean. You have to surrender to it. Sit-ups and press-ups won’t prepare you – meditation will. And when those frightening moments come, you have to accept and yield to it”, he says.

Not that you’ll be surfing giant waves any time soon but if you are looking to boost your confidence in the water, you can join Cotton and Personal Trainer Andy Blake (or “Cotty and “Blakey” as the duo are fondly known), on a Surf Fit retreat in Nazaré – with a focus on meditation, psychology and pool-based breath sessions.

“The pool sessions teach participants how to remain calm and control their emotional state”, explains Andy Blake. “Physiologically we are increasing tolerance to carbon dioxide, cortisol and high stress levels and heart rate. Psychologically we are training the mind to remain calm under all conditions.”

The Surf Fit Nazaré retreat takes place 20th – 27th April 2019.



If that all sounds rather intense, you can always stick to FloatFit HIIT with Aquaphysical followed by a slap up brunch at Haymarket Hotel. The class includes burpees, lunges, squats, mountain climbers, planks and stretching – all on water, to set you up for a weekend of healthy hedonism.

30 minute classes will run throughout February and March 2019, Saturdays 8.45am and 9.45am, priced at £35.

Get your weekly DOSE fix here: SIGN UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTER

By Hettie

Main image: @andrew_cotty


Hettie is the editor and co-founder of DOSE. A keen runner, she’s also partial to a blast of high-intensity and hot yoga. A country girl at heart, she divides her time between London and the lush rolling hills of North Devon. When she’s not jetting off on her next adventure, Hettie can be found in a candle-lit alcove with a laptop, a spaniel and a full bodied Malbec.

Related Stories

Share the Article

Want 3 Free Spirituality eBooks?

Your Daily Dose of Spiritual Guidance, Personality Quizzes and a glimpse of what the future holds for you – right in your Mailbox.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *