Ever since the Acquapole was introduced in Turin, Italy, in 2010, describing the simple apparatus often begins by explaining that it has nothing to do with the kind of pole dancing associated with gentleman's clubs. Aquatic pole training, the form of exercise originated by the Acquapole's inventor, aquatic fitness instructor and pool owner Monica Spagnuolo, is instead a remarkable form of exercise that has gained widespread popularity among people of all ages the world over.

The apparatus is a simple upright pole that attaches to a fiberglass base, which uses suction cups to affix to the pool floor. Working with aqua fitness instructor Stefania Manfredi, Spagnuolo developed more than 150 separate exercises based on both water's resistance and buoyancy. The method focuses on posture in a complete body workout that can be tailored to different fitness levels.

Related: Proof: What Science Knows About Aquatic Exercise

The fitness trend the Acquapole has engendered is far less modest. Training programs for certified instructors have been established Europe, Asia and Australia, as well as the U.S. Now offered in North America by Indigo Aquatics in Fort Lauderdale. Fla., the number of training programs and facilities that offer classes has continued to steadily increase.

According to Craig Yaniglos, assistant aquatic director at the Hubbard Community Pool in Ohio, adopting the program provided a way to add interest and variety to the facility's program options. In an online article in Akwa in November 2017, Yaniglos wrote: "As an aquatic director, I was always trying to stay cutting edge while trying to watch the overall budget. If you want to build a great program you must offer lots of options. As much as we love our traditional fitness classes — land or water — participants can become bored. But equipment costs money, so therefore, it's best to select quality equipment that can be used in a very versatile manner. One of the choices I made for the Hubbard Community Pool in Ohio was to buy Acquapoles."

Eric Herman is Senior Editor of AQUA Magazine.