Underwater Treadmill Training: Beneficial for Injured and Healthy Athletes Alike
Previously, Mike Blasquez, UC Berkeley’s head strength and conditioning coach, utilizes underwater treadmill training to enhance the performances of his student-athletes. We learned the Golden Bears not only utilize water with their rehabbing athletes, but also for those trying to raise the ceiling of training.
Additionally, in a 2015 Strength and Conditioning article by Maria Hutsick, MS, LATC, ATC, Hutsick emphasizes the effectiveness of aquatic therapy in training healthy athletes. She presents a series of intense water workouts, including strength, plyometric and cardio exercise, and their benefits to healthy athletes.
Hutsick explains that athletes can work out harder at higher intensity levels several days in a row, without causing wear and tear on their joints. When working in a pool, she says, athletes can handle two or three intense workouts in a row without worrying about overtraining injuries.
These conclusions concur with Blasquez’s usage of the HydroWorx 2000 system and the results he’s experienced over the past six years while systematically implementing high levels of physical stress to elicit positive training adaptations.
Similarly, a clinical study conducted at the University of Idaho by W. Matthew Silvers, Erin R. Rutledge and Dennis G. Dolny, confirms healthy individuals benefit from utilizing aquatic therapy.
In the study, 23 competitive male and female runners performed two maximal-exertion runs, one on a land treadmill, and the other on a HydroWorx underwater treadmill. Cardiorespiratory rates, perceived exertion and blood lactate levels were measured after each run. Workouts were separated by 48-hour intervals.
Findings showed that underwater treadmill and jets elicit comparable responses to inclined land treadmill in fit individuals and that underwater treadmill training can be a viable training alternative to maintain or improve fitness levels for injured and healthy athletes alike.