Along with being one of the main points in my vertical jump eBook, Believe the Flight, A Comprehensive Guide to the Vertical Jump. For the Better Athlete. By the Better Athlete (coming soon), I can personally attribute a substantially large amount of my success as an athlete over the course of the last 6 years to my discovery of the benefits of aquatic plyometrics!
In my own experience I have built, maintained, and recovered, all using aquatic plyometrics. In the last 5 years I have undergone 2 foot surgeries, suffered from chronic tendonitis in both knees, and recently have suffered from a broken ankle. All of these ailments have been managed by using aquatic plyometrics! Furthermore, aquatic plyometrics have been the Single-Most effective training component I have ever tried in treating “Jumper’s Knee!” Inside my soon-to-be released eBook you will find my own personal aquatic plyometric program, as well as more information on the subject!
Aquatic plyometrics is simply performing plyometric exercises in water, it isn’t much more complicated than that at all! However, the benefits are far more interesting! When applied on land, plyometrics can cause intense muscle soreness, along with serious amounts of stress and impact on your tendons, joints and cartilage. Both land and aquatic plyometrics can have substantial benefits for any athlete assuming that they are utilized properly, and are even more beneficial for athletes who have already been training for a large amount of years and are still looking for an extra edge! The major benefit of aquatic plyometrics is that you can enjoy the benefits of plyometric training, without nearly any of the potentially dangerous stress.
Plyometrics itself is a training style which involves fast and explosive movements, with the aim of increasing the overall power output and sports performance of a given athlete.
Aquatic plyometrics specifically target your legs and your core, with each exercise providing a different benefit and working a unique muscle. Aquatic plyometrics can be performed more frequently on land, as there also is no overwhelming strain on your Central Nervous System (CNS), as in land-plyometrics. Examples of aquatic plyometrics include:
- Squat Jumps.
- Tuck Jump.
- Leaping Lunges.
- Single Leg Hops.
- High Knees.
Challenges of Plyometrics
Although plyometrics offer several benefits to the athlete, there are several issues with them when they are performed on land. When applied on land, plyometrics can cause intense muscle soreness, along with serious amounts of stress and impact on your tendons, joints and cartilage. Both land and aquatic plyometrics can have substantial benefits for any athlete assuming that they are utilized properly, and are even more beneficial for athletes who have already been training for a large amount of years and are still looking for an extra edge!
The major benefit of aquatic plyometrics is that you can enjoy the benefits of plyometric training, without nearly any of the potentially dangerous stress. Issues which make land-plyometric training unsuitable for many athletes include:
- Plyometrics training can easily lead to acute muscle soreness due to its high impact, holding back the rest of your training.
- It is not very suitable for athletes that are undergoing rehabilitation of a major injury, as it could further place stress on the area affected.
- Plyometric exercises themselves are dangerous, as a misstep can easily lead to injury.
Benefits of Aquatic Plyometrics
Several plyometric exercises can be done in water, offering athletes the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of plyometrics with the common issues associated with it. Some of the benefits of aquatic plyometric training include:
- An improvement in joint function. Training in water naturally allows your muscles and joints to lengthen more easily, allowing for proper movement patterns and reduced strain.
- Improvement of peak power, as during eccentric contractions, your muscles are able to achieve maximum power. Aquatic plyometric training reduces the time between eccentric and concentric contractions, enhancing your muscle speed and power.
- The joints of your knee, hip and ankle will all become naturally more stable, as the water helps these joints to work naturally.
- There is research showing a reduced case of acute knee injuries and evidence from several studies using jump based plyometrics which indicate a major improvement in vertical jump performance.
- When training with aquatic plyometrics, the water density and buoyancy counteract gravity, resulting in a reduction of overall impact on your body.
- Plyometrics training makes use of a lot of energy, this is as a result of the intensity of plyometrics training. By training in water, you actually burn even more calories than on land! Water makes your body work harder, even though you do not know it! The intensity of the exercise does not come down on your joints or tendons at all, allowing you to burn more calories as well as train for a longer amount of time!
Laird Hamilton, a radical fitness expert, disclosed that water is 800 times as dense as air and that it creates enough pressure on your body to increase your blood flow substantially. Aquatic plyometrics provides you with a great opportunity to enjoy the benefits of plyometrics training, without experiencing the dangerous side-effects of plyometrics.
I started my own version of this training when I was ~19 years old, and without exaggerating at all increased my vertical leap by about 8 inches in one summer of intense use! I started with simply jogging in the water, and performing high knees/butt kicks. As I advanced as an athlete, so did my methods.
I am 100% confident any athlete can benefit from incorporating aquatic plyometrics in to their training program!
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