Addressing Potential Misconceptions about Training with Aquatics – Watch this Webinar On-Demand
Last week, Lance Walker, Global Performance Director at Michael Johnson Performance (MJP) in McKinney, TX, presented a fantastic webinar that took a look at some common misconceptions about aquatics and its usefulness for athletic training purposes. “Addressing Potential Misconceptions about Training with Aquatics” took place on May 14, 2015, and Lance reviewed some of these potential misconceptions and to what extent his considerable experience with using aquatics as part of his training program has supported or contradicted them.
Lance focused on four commonly held beliefs including:
- The effectiveness of an aquatic environment is limited strictly to rehabilitation purposes.
- In the water, it’s not possible to match the intensity of a land-based workout.
- A natural running gait cannot be replicated in the water.
- The use of hot and cold pools for athletic training is strictly for passive recovery.
Lance relied heavily on personal experience and existing research to dispel these misconceptions. He provided real data to identify specific measurements that allowed attendees to understand to what degree using aquatics is beneficial in different situations. He immediately refuted the idea that the aquatic environment is limited to rehabilitation purposes, based on the fact that at MJP they use aquatics daily as a part of training regimens for many athletes.
In the water, it’s not possible to match the intensity of a land-based workout. Lance reviewed an example of a high performance aquatic training session that was used at MJP in the water. The training session looked very similar to one that could occur on land and included dynamic mobility, core sprint work, reactive work, plyometrics and regeneration. He also focused on the multitude of research that has been done to show the responses that occur in water compared to on land, such as metabolic costs, cardiorespiratory responses, physiological responses and RPE, and RPE and physiological variables.
You can’t mimic dry land running in water. Interestingly, there is a lot of research and information available on the similarities and differences between running in the water and on land. Ultimately, Lance identified which aspects (like kinematics vs. kinetics) of water running are similar and different compared to specific types of land running techniques and how they can be useful. Additionally, he touched on the differences between underwater treadmill running and deep water running and the usefulness of having video feedback to identify opportunities to improve gait.
The use of hot and cold pools for athletic training is strictly for passive recovery. Research is identifying that passive recovery might not be effective: static stretching doesn’t improve flexibility, but dynamic stretching combined with use of a massage hose can create a 240% increase in flexibility. Lance reviewed how MJP uses hot and cold water immersion for prep work and recovery work. There is some evidence to indicate that cold water immersion is more effective than using compression garments, carb-loading and stretching between events.
The webinar was a great challenge to all clinicians to work to continually improve!