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Kristin Gellert presents: Aquatic Training

Aquatic training programs benefit more than just those looking to compete in a swim meet or water polo game. Training in the water alleviates pressures from the body, decreases pains from arthritic or overused joints, elongates and stabilizes the spine, and will help develop long, lean, and balanced muscles.

Swimming is perfect cross training for any sport. Keeping the spine in a neutral position, and engaging the core, both sides of the body work equally while rotating along the central position. A weak muscle cannot hide out in a swim workout, expecting others to compensate, causing the entire body to strengthen as one unit. However, focus can be placed on certain muscle groups to reach a fitness goal. A good swim set will last anywhere between 45 minutes to an hour, with a proper warm up and cool down. As with any workout, a good warm up will help to prevent injuries, and controlling the rise and fall of the heart rate will determine the benefits from such a workout. Swimming is great cross training for runners and other athletes who put a lot of pressure on their knees, hips, and ankles. The water will allow the legs to get a burning workout while giving the joints a break from the pounding pavement.

Swimming at an average pace, a typical 130lb athlete will burn between 600 and 1100 calories in an hour.

Water Polo is what I believe to be the Ultimate Workout. Imagine basketball, wrestling, and rugby in the water without ever touching the bottom. Zigzagging down the pool to beat an opponent, and then trying to score a goal while treading water and someone hanging off of you and a goalie to block. Then if your efforts don’t end in a goal, swimming back down the pool chasing after someone who has just used your momentum against you, kicked off, and who is raging down the pool already a body length ahead. All that being said, I would debate that water polo is the best sport in the world.

The training for water polo involves quite a bit of swimming, as well as leg training- they use a water treading technique known as “egg-beater”, also used by synchronized swimmers. Shoulder, quad, gastroc, tibialis anterior, and pectoral strength is essential as well as a strong core, with a definite focus on lower back strength. Water Polo is a great sport, wonderful workout, and if you get a chance to watch a game, or even try a practice, jump in and have fun! You’ll feel a sense of exhaustion you haven’t felt in a long time. Whether you are 15 or 55, it’s a great workout and a great time.

Local Resource:
Bainbridge Aquatics Center
8521 Madison Avenue North
Bainbridge Island, WA 98110
(206) 842-2302
biparks.org‎

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