Spring Training Means Plenty of HydroWorx Therapy Pool Use!
Whether famed groundhog and would-be meteorologist Punxsutawney Phil was correct or not, spring is around the corner, and that means baseball season isn’t far away! There are tons of ways that professional baseball teams prepare for spring training, including by getting their HydroWorx therapy pools ready for use. In fact, you may not realize it, but some of your favorite teams are devoted to aquatic therapy for cross-training, supplemental training and injury prevention.
Here’s a quick look at some of the ways that HydroWorx will play a role in baseball this year, based on feedback from Nate Brooks, Minor League Rehab Coordinator for the Oakland Athletics; Dave Pearson, Athletic Trainer for the NY Mets; and Paul Harker, Assistant Athletic Trainer for the Tampa Bay Rays:
- If there’s a need for post-op rehab on knees, ankles, hamstrings, quads, etc., teams are prepared to get players in the pool. The HydroWorx allows players who are rehabbing to unload the pressure on their joints, reducing pain while simultaneously doing exercises to improve strength, conditioning and flexibility. Hydrotherapy is a supplement to land-based therapy, and may start out as being 90 percent of a player’s post-op rehab protocol.
- Pitchers often have to do “flush runs” during practice. Flush runs are a way for pitchers to flush out the lactic acid that builds up in their legs. To avoid pounding on the pavement due to ground forces, they can run on the underwater treadmill to save their joints while still helping their circulation.
- It’s a an unpleasant but undeniable truth when it comes to sports: everyone has a “shelf life.” That’s why athletic trainers are focused on doing everything they can to extend players’ ability to stay on the field and be competitive. Older players find that doing a cardio workout in the pool on a regular basis is a huge benefit to maintain conditioning while avoiding potential injury.
- Some major league baseball players are able to fit a daily, or almost-daily, HydroWorx therapy pool exercise session into their regimens. For those who do use the pool routinely, they often appreciate being able to run for miles without risking injuries or bodily strain.
- What happens on the days when players just aren’t able to handle spring training because they didn’t do enough in the weight room and on the track during the offseason? In those situations, they can work through their soreness by getting in the pool. Plus, they can still work their upper bodies using aqua dumbbells and specialized exercises focused on areas above the waist.
- Let’s face it – baseball players, like all athletes, like variety. The therapy pool can mix things up and allow them to engage in different methods of conditioning. They can run on the underwater treadmill, work on explosive jumps, do plyometrics or just add a bevy of extra underwater cardio exercises for weight loss if necessary. By eliminating workout boredom, the results are usually better and more sustainable.
- Shoeless workouts? Why not! In the pool, shoes aren’t needed, and that’s a boon to baseball players who are feeling fatigue thanks to unforgiving ground and tough-as-nails cleats. Being able to relax the foot and still get a workout in a warm water environment can help ward off issues like plantar fasciitis. Additionally, it’s just easier on the lower back and legs.
- Baseball has a particularly unique component: the rotation of the body during the swing. To work on the swing path, which is usually only seen in baseball, golf and perhaps tennis, the pool provides a forgiving atmosphere. The swing motion in the water forces the player to work against the natural resistance of the water, but at the same time offers natural compression and warmth to alleviate strains and sprains. It’s a controlled resistance that strengthens the obliques and improves players’ high speed reactions.
“After they’ve done a few sessions in the HydroWorx, they are asking for it…’Hey, am I going to get in the pool again today?’ They really take a liking to it” – Nate Brooks, Oakland A’s
“When you’re going through the grind of 152 games over a 6 month period, it’s a grind like no other sport, getting their bodies to perform at the highest level on a daily basis—not once or twice a week—it’s a lot of work for them. They are going 7 days a week so having our HydroWorx pools has been a big asset to us.” – Paul Harker, Tampa Bay Rays
The next time you’re watching your favorite baseball team on TV or in person, keep in mind that their spring training and year-round continuous training might include a water-based component. Having a HydroWorx therapy pool, as well as plunge pools, is becoming more commonplace, especially among major league baseball teams. Even minor league baseball teams are making the plunge to reduce player injury and ratchet up performance.
Free On-Demand Webinar: Hydrotherapy for Professional Athletes
Ryan Bitzel, MPT, Rehabilitation Coordinator for the San Diego Padres, located in San Diego, CA, presented the webinar, “The Use of Hydrotherapy in the Rehabilitation of Professional Athletes Post-ACL Reconstruction.” In this webinar Ryan presented on his aquatic therapy strategies used during ACL reconstruction for professional athletes, specifically baseball players. Learn more and watch this webinar on-demand today.