The Combine: Aquatic Training & Conditioning for Athletes
Countless hours have been spent over the past months preparing for this one week, this one chance to impress the NFL teams in Indianapolis at Lucas Oil Stadium. Millions of people will tune into the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine. Viewers will watch football players of great strength, perseverance, speed and skill compete in what will be the biggest tryout of their entire life. What the spectators don’t see is how much time each of these athletes has devoted to improving speed, agility and strength.
Once a prospect has completed his college football career, he typically signs with an agent and reports to a training facility to begin preparing for the Combine. Most players arrive at a training facility at the New Year and have up to 8 weeks to work on performance. The goal for the athlete is simply to become stronger, faster and better.
Many athletes will warm-up using dynamic training exercises such as, lateral shuffle, jogging, lateral skips with crossover, butt kicks, B skips and more while being on the underwater treadmill. Hydrotherapy is often considered a rehabilitation tool, it has strength and conditioning advantages, too.
Not only does underwater treadmill running reduce muscle soreness post-workout, it has been shown to make a difference in performance. Aquatic therapy has lasting effects on the body. Movement underwater has the ability to improve the balance, coordination and motor skills. It can also improve muscular endurance and strength as well as decrease pain. Here are five of the many ways that training underwater can improve your conditioning:
- Active recovery is effective and efficient – While it is important to let the body rest from difficult training days, “off” or “recovery” days don’t have to mean inactivity. Using complementary exercise that is less stressful on the body such as underwater training can be even more beneficial to an athlete. Specialists at Michael Johnson Performance set aside one day a week for active recovery sessions including yoga and underwater treadmill training.
- Daily recovery using contrast therapy reboots muscles – The experts at Michael Johnson Performance also believe in the power of daily recovery using hot and cold plunge pools to reboot muscles after a hard workout. They have found that their athletes’ muscles are better prepared for the next day of training after using contrast therapy.
- Running underwater improves land-based running function – Underwater treadmill running requires the use of different muscles in order to push through the viscosity of water. This, in turn, provides additional power when on land.
- Running on an underwater treadmill increases aptitude without increasing injury risk – Even elite runners, such as those of the Oregon Project coached by Alberto Salazar can run “too much.” Each runner has a threshold where the risks of extra mileage are not worth the potential benefit. Because of the reduced impact on the body, underwater running is a way to increase mileage without increasing risk of injury.
- Running underwater increases strength and lean muscle mass – According to a research study from Texas A&M University, underwater treadmill training combined with resistance training increases lean muscle mass more than land-based training combined with resistance training.
So, this year, don’t simply watch the Combine. Instead, watch and celebrate the athletes who’ve trained hundreds of hours with thousands of reps to be at their absolute best for the biggest moment in their lives.
Want to learn more about the benefits of running underwater? Here is a FREE download of the Underwater Running Book. Read the Underwater Running Book to learn more about the advantages of underwater treadmill running for training and conditioning. Download the book now.>>