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Athletes have long used the pool for rehab, but many are discovering the advantages of working out in the pool for strength training. Aquatic strength training workouts have many benefits for football players and other athletes.

Benefits of Aquatic Training

Standing in chest-deep water reduces weight by as much as 90%. The reduction in the force exerted on the body allows athletes to work out at high-intensity for more days in a row without soreness and reduces the wear and tear on joints and the incidence of overtraining injuries. 

Water also provides more resistance than air, which increases the intensity of workouts. An athlete can get as much benefit out of a half-hour aquatic training session as a two-hour workout in the gym. 

Additionally, because the water provides resistance for every movement, athletes are getting both an eccentric and concentric workout with every exercise performed.

How to Design an Aquatic Strength Training Program

Most of the techniques employed in designing a strength training routine out of the pool will work in the pool, but you will need to make some adjustments to account for the increased resistance of the water. 

You will get more out of your workout if you make sure it has structure and you set specific, achievable goals. You will also need to adjust your workout plan based on whether you intend for aquatic training to be your primary workout or you plan to use it to complement other types of training.

Just about any pool will work for aquatic training, as long as the water is deep enough and there is enough space for the activities you intend to perform. 

Some gyms and most YMCAs are equipped with pools. Some public pools offer hours for people who want to exercise while there are no recreational swimmers in the pool. 

Having your own pool provides you with access whenever you need it. A local pool installation company can help you determine inground swimming pool costs in your area. 

You will need a pool with deep water for cardio workouts. Chest deep water is better for interval training, strength training, and plyometrics.

Types of Exercises You Can Do

Most exercises that can be done outside of the pool can be done in the pool. The water provides natural resistance, but additional resistance can be added through the use of water dumbbells, leg resistance, weighted boots, hand paddles, and bungee cords.

Strength and Agility Training

Much popular strength and agility training exercises can be adapted for the pool. Foreword kicks can be done by standing, lifting the thigh, and kicking the lower leg to the front. 

Another good exercise for football players is to perform a lunge, followed by a front kick. Stand on one leg and lunge back with the other. Then bring your leg forward and do a kick. Repeat the exercise while alternating legs. 

Other exercises to try out for the lower body include skateboards, skips, heel clicks, tire runs, frog jumps, sidekicks, jumps, hamstring curls, and kickboard runs.

For the upper body, you can do sweeps by standing in a split stance with arms held out to the side. Hold water dumbbells or hand paddles in each hand right below the water's surface and sweep your arms forward and then back.

An exercise that mimics the breaststroke can also be performed in the same standing position with water dumbells or paddles. For this exercise, you extend your arms to the front and then sweep them out to the sides. Other upper body exercises to consider include curls, presses, stick swings, and pistons.

Aquatic strength training workouts can be a great low-impact workout to supplement traditional strength training or even replace it. You can adapt many of the strength training exercises you do now to the pool or try out some pool-specific techniques. 

All you need to get started is access to a pool and a few pieces of equipment.

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