Over two years ago seeking to add some variety and fun to Lauren’s summer training we did some research and talked to Dr. Rick McAvoy, a well-respected authority on water training, sports performance and rehabilitation in water. I was already excited about the idea of water training but after getting to know him and the power of water, I was sold.( Dr.McAvoy has a new DVD series that shows just how to do many exercises that I have recently tried with Lauren and myself and really enjoyed it. More on this later.)
It makes perfect sense that water (being over 98 % of the human body) would be a gentle, relaxing invigorating exercise for the serious and recreational athlete young and old alike.
Water is a natural weight training machine …the more effort you exert the more resistance the athlete will meet. Whether you seek to heal an injury or change-up to a land training program, water offers something for almost every athlete that is willing to take the plunge. Water training also offers a unique opportunity to training though soreness even injury with a relaxing soothing approach. Somewhat different from traditional land training, affording a mental let down and change of pace that can be extremely therapeutic to the athlete while allowing a quality workout session that can help up hold the athletes goals and bottom line training efforts.
Where Do I Find A Pool
We live in So Cal but do not have the privilege of a backyard stocked with a pool. The family that doesn’t have a personal pool like us, no need to fret. In many communities around the country, local pools are free to low cost to use during open play hours. Search your community parks on the Internet to find facilities near you. Once you find a facility, simply need to check that you can do your workout without interfering or being interfered with during the training session. It’s a good idea to identify at least to pool locations that can be used in case one becomes closed due to cleaning, a swim meet or holiday.
The Many Benefits of Aquatic Therapy
There are many benefits of water therapy as a very safe and beneficial form of training rehabilitation therapy and exercise.
- Helps to increase and maintain muscular flexibility
- Improve mobility and range of motion
- Increase muscular strength
- Improve coordination, balance and postural alignment.
- Has a massaging effect on your muscles
- The ability to train during very hot weather, (using an indoor or outdoor pool or freshwater lake)
- The ability to train during very cold weather, (using an indoor heated pool)
- A great supplement or alternative to regular training
- Pleasurable and very relaxing
Let’s Begin Working Out
Pools have different features and once you find the facility you want to train your athlete at familiarize yourself with these features before you begin planning the workout.
You may be wondering what kind of workout should you do with your youth athlete. Well, like land training you need to either seek a professional coach or trainer if you don’t have the expertise yourself to give the guidance and rationale for the training. You can always begin with flexibility and mobility exercises that would not disrupt the phase of training your athlete maybe be in and are not difficult to implement.
An athlete can do both shallow and deep water training. Each area offers unique workout opportunities. Generally speaking pool temperatures of 88-92 degrees is an optimum temperature to focus on flexibility, stretching and prescribed rehabilitation training. Pool temperatures of 82-87 degrees is comfortable to do deep and or shallow water training. If the water is cool 72-81 degrees can be a bit chilly but, for a high intensity hard training session it would be ok.
One method of training is with a floatation device and resistive devices that are worn on the arms ad legs as desired. Athletes can also use weights, boxes and basically many land training devices . Imagination along with athletic training expertise can be the guide for the athlete that is interested in water training.
There are many approaches to water training . For the track athlete, plyometrics are a familiar activity they perform.
Jack Woodrup for VerticalJumping.com wrote the following information about water plyometrics
“Advantages of Pool Plyometrics One of the obvious benefits of pool plyometrics to an athlete, particularly one focused on improving their vertical leap, is that the impact of landing is significantly reduced when exercising in water. This reduces the stress and strain placed on the muscles and joints, and, as a flow on, reducing the incidence of injury. Another benefit of pool training is that the water itself provides resistance. In terms of vertical leap the resistance decreases as you get higher. So you have maximum resistance at the bottom of your jump, and as you explode out of the water you encounter less slow down effect. This is great for accelerating through the jump”.
Part 2 Water As A Valuable Training Tool