By Prof. Alvaro Romano
If you feel tired of your intensive training routine and your body needs a little rest, working out in the water can be a great option to recover and prevent injuries.
For many years since the 80s when I stared to train athletes from various sports, I have been using water training as an option, but in the 90s I had the opportunity to meet up and then work with the Physiotherapist Nilton Petrone, a reference in the area of physiotherapy in Brazil and many other countries, who developed a method of rehabilitation and prevention of injuries that is used and recognized by various areas of the human wellness movement. I was invited by Nilton to teach classes and physiotherapy courses applied in physical education at the University that he was directing at the time; and for several years followed and participated with him in their clinical work with many athletes from MMA, Jiu Jitsu, Soccer and other sports.
Along with the Physiotherapist I introduced the Natural Gymnastics to the rehabilitation of several athletes with the most varied types of injuries resulting from sports. With this opportunity I could observe the importance of working in the water to the recovery of these athletes, so I incorporated and adapted the water training for the physical preparation of athletes and fighters of different modalities.
The preparation of a fighter is totally different from an American football, soccer, or tennis player. However, knowledge and experience within the martial arts is very important to make this adaptation of training.
The specific training of a fighter is already stressful enough and this training option can complement and develop various physical qualities. In the water, we can use devices that can increase the intensity of the exercises through resistance, what works better because there are no impacts on the joints.
Ideally, you should pick out an outfit that will offer resistance to your legs and arms. For part of the training you may be using a palmar or surf gloves. You can also use something like a device that you can ” put in your hand ” like boxing gloves to increase resistance in the water.
Let’s set up a basic water training that can be used once a week if you want to change a little bit your workout routine to recover.
1 – Walking with water at chest level, going forward, sideways, and finally flexing the knee at your chest. Then after, extending the legs forward, one leg at the time, and also stretching the back of your legs. Do these movements for approximately 10 minutes.
2 – Swimming Front Strokes for 250m
3 – With the surf glove, try to swim for 25m (or as far as you can) with your head in the water, and then come back breathing slowly. Go like this, back and forth, for 250m.
4 – Swim as far as you can under water and then swim back, Front Strokes, slowly. Do this until you complete 200m.
5 – Using resistance devices on your hands and legs (if you do not have the equipment you can do without it) reproduce the movements and sequences of punches with water up to your neck. Complete sets of 50 repetitions, then reproduce the movements of “Knee ups” alternating on average 10 times on each side.
6 – Immediately plunge and try to stay emerged under water holding your breath for as long as you can, coming back up when you feel you can’t hold it any longer. (Make sure you do this under supervision; it can be dangerous trying this alone).
7 – Repeat everything again for 3-4 rounds of 3-5 minutes total with a break of about 30 seconds to a minute between the sets.
This water training has been tested in several athletes, and I use in my daily workouts. It’s important to understand that exhausting workout routines and competition training can often overwhelm your body and change an outcome.
Remember that rest is also training.