Rollin in the Deep: Aquatic Training | STACK

Rolling in the Deep End: Aquatic Plyometric Training

October 10, 2012 | Kermit Cannon

Must See Strength Training Videos

Want the benefits of plyometric training but hate how it makes your joints feel? Try taking your workout under water. Aquatic plyometric training offers athletes the opportunity for an explosive workout for a longer period of time and with less risk of injury than dry land workouts. Plus, the water offers a new and different training environment, which works as a motivational stimulus for athletes and increases their potential to improve their performance quickly. (See how aquatic training will improve your performance.)

It's hard to imagine traditional plyometric exercises like bounding across a field, leaping over cones and hurdles, and jumping on, off, and over boxes being performed in a pool. But that may soon change, as aquatic plyometrics continues to grow in popularity among athletes.

Exercising underwater confers enormous benefits by challenging the body in ways that cannot be replicated on dry land. Working out in water produces a higher level of exhaustion, because it takes more effort to move against the constant resistance of the water.

According to world champion surfer and radical fitness expert Laird Hamilton, "Water is 800 times as dense as air, so it creates pressure on your body, which increases your blood flow. This can be deceptive, because you will not be nearly as sore but very fatigued due to oxygen restriction and changing your breathing patterns"

Impact

Water's density and buoyancy counteract gravity, thus reducing impact on the body. Aquatic plyometrics allow athletes with joint, muscle or tendon injuries, who cannot take the pounding on hard surfaces, to participate without causing more harm. Even those who can effectively perform dry-land plyometrics can benefit from aquatic plyos, because they help prevent pain in the joints and reduce recovery time. Also, pool work provides a nice change of pace and adds variety to workouts.

Pros & Cons

One drawback to performing plyometric exercises in the pool is the lower intensity of movements, because impact forces are greatly reduced. However, one of its great advantages is that athletes can progress more quickly to higher volume training intensity.

Most aquatic plyometric programs focus on the lower half of the body, but upper-body movements, such as angled Push-Ups with hands on the wall, can be also be performed in the pool. For core strengthening, floating on your back or chest engages the core muscles to keep you in the correct posture.

FROM AROUND THE WEB

Water Workouts

Treading Drills

  • Tread for 10 seconds holding right hand out of the water; repeat with left hand out
  • Tread for 10 seconds holding right ankle behind you; repeat with left ankle

Hand Grenade

  • Hold a 10-pound weight out of the water with your right hand and side-stroke to the other end of the pool. Repeat with the left.

Bobbing Apple

  • Hold a 10-pound dumbbell between your thighs and hold your legs out in front so your body forms a "V"
  • Use your arms to keep from sinking while you move your body across the length of the pool

Treasure Chest

  • Hold a 10-pound weight to your chest and swim from one end of the pool to the other

Source: Laird Hamilton, "Do it in the Deep End: Mind & Body," retrieved from Men's Journal, August 2012

Kermit Cannon
- Kermit Cannon is the owner of Youth Sports Training and the author of "The Beast Factory," a nutrition and fitness book for athletes. For 19...
Kermit Cannon
- Kermit Cannon is the owner of Youth Sports Training and the author of "The Beast Factory," a nutrition and fitness book for athletes. For 19...
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

4 Strength Exercises for Female Athletes

For the most part, men and women should train the same way. Utilizing the rule of progressive overload and increasing performance every workout should...

The 12 Best RDL Variations

3 Athletic Arm Exercises for Big Guns

Kettlebell Swing vs. Olympic Lifting: Which Is Better?

The Softball Dugout Workout

How to Train During Your Hockey Season

3D Triceps Workout: 3 Exercises for Huge Arms

How to Build Muscle Fast With Complexes

Why You're Not Reaching Your Strength and Speed Potential

Female Athletes: 4 Ways to Test if Your Knees Are Durable

James Harrison's Physioball Side-to-Side Bridge

3 Tips to Maximize Your Off-Season Baseball Training

Get Tougher With Skylar Diggins' Bodyweight Workout

Sumo Deadlift for Football Strength

7 Tips to Master Single-Leg Exercises

Exercise of the Week: Tiki Barber's Barbell Complex

Do Your First Deadlift

Build Hockey Speed and Power with the Hang Clean

Should You Train for Absolute or Explosive Strength?

Develop a Bulletproof Core With Advanced Barbell Rollouts

3 Simple Tips to Deadlift More Weight

How to Perform Olympic Lifts, Part 1: The Hang Clean

Baseball Workout for Power Hitting

Get More Explosive With James Harden's Workout

Build Rock Solid Glutes With This 30-Day Workout Plan

How to Perform Olympic Lifts, Part 2: The Power Clean

Improve Your Durability With 3 BOSU Exercises

Hanley Ramirez's Overhead Tire Pull

Develop Speed With a Power Bag Workout

How to Get Fit Like a Marine

Why Bear Crawls Are All the Rage Right Now

Breathing Exercises to Strengthen Your Lifts

The Hardest Plank of All Time

Build Toughness With This Weight Vest Basketball Workout

4 Easy Fixes for Your Bench Press Routine

Why the Dead Bug Is Changing Core Training

Barbell Split-Squat 101: A How-To Guide

5 Exercises to Keep Your Shoulders Healthy All Season Long

3 Loading Schemes to Build Muscle Size

The 4 Rules of Bulking Up

Build Explosive Hips to Jump Higher

Bilateral or Unilateral Exercises: Which Are Better?

The Upper-Body Endurance Combo Workout

Do Your First Pull-Up With This Simple Workout. Guaranteed.

Hockey Training Designed Specifically for Goalies

Man Does 4,300 Pull-Ups in One Day

Why One Bench Press Is Not Enough

Strengthen Your Core With Advanced Plate Push-Outs