Progression of Running Drills Using Hydrotherapy
One of the finalists in the 2014 Excellence in Aquatics Award running was Seton Hall University’s Anthony Testa, Med, ATC, CSCS, for the Return to Improved Play of a Baseball and Softball Player. Seton Hall uses their hydrotherapy pools extensively and has found that they are able to improve running performance for athletes that require rehab from an injury. The two players referenced in the award were able to improve sprint times after injury without any training on land. Read the full nomination case here>>
Seton Hall training staff have also recognized that they are able to work on reducing injuries from hard foot plants (such as groin and ankle injuries) by focusing on the core in the water. It is easy to recognize the issues in the water because if they are cutting from their feet, they slip when they are in the water. Once they learn how to use their core in the water, athletes don’t slip as often when changing direction and speed. This increased strength in the core translates to better executed changes of direction on land.
Testa and his team have come up with a “prescription” starting point for athletes that need to get in the pool for conditioning. To start, they teach the athlete how to run in water by analyzing gait and correcting form. The first session is primarily basic drills in the water, before even beginning to run on the underwater treadmill. This ensures the athlete focuses on good form and is prepared for running underwater.
Once they are ready, the underwater treadmill is used to continue working on gait and body mechanics beginning with walking, progressing to jogging, running and sprinting. The focus continues to remain on keeping form accurate and safe. By focusing on driving the knees through the water, they are finding that athletes are becoming more explosive and covering more ground once they are on land and driving through the air.
Watch Tony take an athlete through a progression of running drills in the HydroWorx 500 Series pool>>
To learn more about underwater running from Oregon Project coach, Alberto Salazar, download the book, “Underwater Treadmill Running” by Alberto Salazar and Dr. Dennis Dolny>>