Aqua plyometrics is easier on your joints.
Plyometric exercises, commonly performed on land, are effective in building explosive power and strength. Athletes often engage in this type of high-intensity training to improve their performance and sometimes perform the exercises in a pool because it's easier on their bodies. Aqua plyometrics can be just as effective, produce similar benefits to land plyometrics and can be done by anyone who wants to improve his fitness level.
What is Plyometrics?
Plyometric exercises train the muscles to fire rapidly in a stop-and-start explosive manner. First, the muscles go through an eccentric action, that is, an action which causes the muscles to stretch. They then go through an isometric action, in which they remain static, and finally through a concentric action, in which they shorten. This type of training can increase muscular strength in less time than regular resistance training, according to Ohio State University.
Aqua Plyometrics Benefits
Performing plyometric exercises on land has a high risk for injury due to bad flooring, the landing surface or jumping off of platforms that are too high. Water provides more resistance, which allows athletes to train harder with less risk for injury; there is no jarring impact upon landing and no high-platform jumping. Aqua plyometrics can also improve balance, running form, cardio fitness and strength, but without all the joint stress. Post-workout muscle soreness can significantly be reduced with aqua plyometrics as compared to land plyometrics, states Steven Devor, assistant professor of sport and exercise sciences at Ohio State University.
Many of the plyometric exercises performed on land can easily be performed in a pool. Warm up with high-knee marching from one side of the pool to the opposite side. Several jumping exercises can be done while staying in one spot in the pool. Jump, split your legs to the front and back or to the sides, quickly bring them together, land and repeat. Jump, tuck both knees up toward your chest, land and repeat. With your legs together, perform skier side-to-side jumps, as if you are maneuvering around moguls. Move from one side of the pool to the opposite side by hopping as fast as you can.
Until you are used to the performing plyometric exercises, start in waist-high water. Once you become comfortable with the movements and technique, move to chest-high water. To keep your feet from slipping against the bottom of the pool, wear aquatic shoes. If you are already involved in a training program, Chewning recommends adding a one hour aqua plyometric session one to three times per week. To increase the intensity of the exercises, wear aquatic ankle weights.
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