Free Choreography #3

Shallow water class

This is the third in a series of Blog posts on choreography. As you are already aware, your choreography is your lesson plan. Preparing a lesson plan ahead of time allows you to teach your class with confidence because you will always know what is coming next.

Previous Blog posts featured samples of linear choreography and pyramid choreography. This Blog post is about add-on choreography.  The simplest way to create add-on choreography is to start with one exercise and follow it with a second exercise. Next you repeat the first exercise, repeat the second exercise and add on a third exercise. You continue to repeat and add on new exercises until your class time is up. The problem with doing it that way is that you will repeat your first two exercises many times, and by the time you get to the end of class, both you and your participants will be sick of those exercises.

So to reduce the number of repetitions of a single exercise and make the choreography more interesting, use sets of exercises. Start with a set of 4-6 exercises and follow it with a second set of 4-6 exercises. Repeat the first set and the second set and add on a third set. Continue to repeat and add on new sets until your class time is up.

The following example will use the same 6 basic exercises as the previous choreography samples. The 6 exercises are:

  1. Knee-high jog
  2. Run tires (like running through tires at football practice)
  3. Jumping jacks
  4. Cross-country ski
  5. Kick forward
  6. Heel jog

These exercises in this order transition easily from one to the next. Each set will be based on one of these exercises with variations. Make your first two sets moderately intense and the next three sets more intense. The last set should be easier to allow your participants to start cooling down.

  • (A set)
  • Knee-high jog with jog press
  • Knee-high jog with breaststroke travel backward
  • Leap forward
  • Knee-high jog faster
  • (B set)
  • Run tires push forward
  • Run tires push across
  • Frog jump
  • Squat & hop

Repeat A set, repeat B set

  • (C set)
  • Jumping jacks
  • Jumping jacks with a diagonal turn
  • Jumping jacks, one arm crosses front & one arm crosses back
  • Jumping jacks clap hands travel backward & forward

Repeat A set, repeat B set, repeat C set

  • (D set)
  • Cross-country ski
  • Tuck ski
  • Cross-country ski suspended
  • Cross-country ski with unison arm swing

Repeat A set, repeat B set, repeat C set, repeat D set

  • (E set)
  • Kick forward with double-arm press-down
  • Kick & lunge R, arms sweep R
  • High kick
  • Kick & lunge L, arms sweep L

Repeat A set, repeat B set, repeat C set, repeat D set, repeat E set

  • (F set)
  • Heel jog
  • Hitchhike
  • Hopscotch
  • Heel jog with triceps extension travel backwards & forwards

Now add a warm up at the beginning of class and finish your cool down with some core strength work. Add 5 minutes of stretching and you’ve got a plan.

For more examples of add-on choreography, see my book Water Fitness Lesson Plans and Choreography. You can find a link to the publisher on my website at

I am presenting a workshop in Plano, Texas on October 1, 2016 that will include sample choreography for a Periodization program. The workshop is called Working toward Peak Fitness. For more information, check out the Calendar on the Metroplex Association of Aquatic Professionals website at

Next Blog post: Layer technique.

See you in the pool!








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