The healing power of the pool was shared earlier in the post aquagenesis, and I decided to elaborate more with some protocols. Water will never replace the land, and the land will never replace the water, so what is an optimal balance of both? What I do know is the pool work that Flow Jo did didn’t create a big enough problem to slow her down, regardless how she ran her times. The fear of altered coordination from chlorine, sensory organelles, a change in gravity, or the resistance of the water has merit. A similar debate with the use of grass running can serve as a learning experience that what may appear to be unfavorable at first but may have some hidden benefits that we may not be aware of. I decided to write more of what I have observed with pool training after the emails I received on what I do.
While it’s impossible to share workouts as the circumstances I decide what to do is largely based on factors that may not apply to everyone, what I do know is that he pool can be used with those with once a week for 8-10 weeks (including the comp phase) with no sign of disturbance of coordination, power, and other performance factors. The reason I keep sharing what I feel works with the pool is because people need to exercise period. Therapy on a lacrosse ball or foam roller is not exercise, even if the person is sweating to hold their body up because they are out of shape. Here are some protocols to using the pool:
- The pool is more a compliment or supplement to a program rather than a replacement. I currently use pool workouts as a replacement if the athlete is training in a major training block or is injured. If you are constantly doing pool work to survive it is sometimes a case where the athlete was on a long break and is out of shape and must keep going in order to fight the battle with time.
- The duration should be less than an hour and I find 45 minutes to be enough or the athlete may get board. Based on coaching style and how much initial preparation is need to start a new component, this may be longer for the first few sessions.
- I prefer to do pool work after very intense days that leave a 72 hours between sessions. Between sessions don’t seem to make an impact that I find to be enough to warrant special use beyond alternate means on land.
- Equipment is tricky, you need to see what you have access to on a regular basis and not be dependent on such devices as they are not available too often during travel or are poor investments budget wise. Alternate and common options for equipment can be things like an extra towel, kickboard, pull buoy.
- Deep water running with belts represent a very small percentage of my program. First, they require great swimmers as poor swimmers or those that can’t swim at all will fight you on doing this. Also the deep water running is just water cycling vs pushing, and many athletes don’t get their heart rate up. I want to really challenge the cardiovascular system and unload the joints and soft tissue.
- Aquatic Circuits can be made by looking at training area and amount of athletes. Kickboard/ pull- buoy relays can be done by even poor swimmers by teaching only a few patterns without the loss of training effects. Flutter kicking is short straight kicks, breastroke arms are just scooping a big bowel. Experienced athletes in your program should be able to improve over years and the new athletes will have a model to observe, just like technique in the weight room or track/field.
- Jumping patterns are of use since they get similar patterns and they don’t get the eccentric stress. Split jumps, double leg jumps, side leaps, and other motions respond well to the reps of 12-20.
- Rest periods should be briefer than land based programs. I find that 30-40 seconds is a good start.
- Athletes that are fried after competitions or busted from contact sports (soreness) respond well to senior workout paces as they need pain free range of motion. If you are walking like an old man train like one for a time to get better as easy workouts promote athlete wellness. Research shows that even light aerobic work helps the symptoms of fibromyalgia. Trigger points and other tissue texture issues are often in need of pain free aerobic work to exploit the natural endorphins and opiate release.
- Movements should be non specific as well, to encourage range of motion and prevent pattern overload. Explosive martial art like motions are great ways to get out of the motion stereotypes.