The Magic Of Water Training (Part 1)

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.)


Water Magic

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 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”.

Next Time
Part 2   Water  As A Valuable  Training Tool


  1. Coach Z says:

    Enjoyed your water article. Wish I had known about your interests for Loran when we were in South Carolina. I’ve been exterminating with AiChi, Tie Chi in the water. At least two times a week for six months. Results. The pain I use to have after three days of competitive golf are no more. I’ve added yards to my distance because of better flexibility and mobility. My concentration and focus have greatly increased. Roz did an article on the important of water shoes, they are highly recommended as well as an certified aerobic water coach. Looking forward to sharing AiChi with Loran and my granddaughter. I know it will making a contribution towards the Gold. I got it from the Japan Olympic team training
    Coach Z

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