Dynamic Aquatic Workout for Football Player
One way to help combat muscle soreness and fatigue is to incorporate an intensive off-season and pre-season training regimen as well as an effective recovery program during the season. Of course there are many different forms of training and recovery, but below is an example of how aquatic therapy can be utilized for a strength and conditioning workout.
Football Case Study
At ACCUA the Physical Therapist put Travis Polster, an incoming senior defensive lineman, through what a typical workout would be in their HydroWorx 500 Series pool. The session ended up becoming something he may not have expected. This football protocol focused on stretching, cardiovascular improvement, and muscle strengthening, while using some sport-specific movements.
The goal for Polster was to be able to get both a cardio and strength workout simultaneously, which is often hard to do on land. The session began with a brief warm-up of walking on the underwater treadmill and then adding the resistance jets in all directions. After about a 10 minute warm-up of stretching and walking, the dynamic work out began.
Polster began by walking and catching a 10lb medicine ball in front and then above his head all while walking on the underwater treadmill. Then after a few repetitions of that, Polster is asked to catch the ball, turn and hold the ball with straight arms out in front for 30 seconds and then above his head. Slowly that ball begins to feel a little bit more like 20lbs and then 30lbs. This football player didn’t know what he was in for when he came to ACCUA for an aquatic therapy workout. The Physical Therapist is able to work on core strength, shoulder and arm strength as well as endurance and balance all with this one exercise.
Next, the treadmill was increased to 7mph with 40% of the resistance jets against him, all while performing high knees and butt kicks. One of the main components of his aquatic workout was incorporating intervals with almost everything. For example, he did high knees at a normal pace and then increased to about 90% of his maximum potential for 20-30 seconds. This pattern of high intensity intervals with an active recovery is repeated a number of times throughout the workout, which you can see in the video on our video library.
After a number of dynamic exercises and sport specific exercises are performed, it’s time for high intensity interval sprints. Polster did three 20 second sprints with a 40-second active recovery, meaning he is walking on the underwater treadmill after each sprint. The last exercises Polster performed were vertical jumps out of the water to catch the medicine ball above his head. This exercise is dynamic to say the least and it engages almost every muscle from hamstring and quads to core and arms. This athlete certainly received a high intensity workout in the aquatic therapy and exercise pool.