Pool recovery: Water exercises for maximum growth

Hard work on the field and in the gym is a must in order to be great. But one of the hidden keys to maximizing this hard work is to have strategies in place that allow for proper recovery. Proper recovery allows for maximum growth and rejuvenation.


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Proper recovery covers many areas, such as proper sleep, nutrition, massage, cold tubs, hydration and other medical interventions to name a few. But one easy and cheap recovery strategy is the correct use of a pool for recovery.

Here at the Fischer Institute in Phoenix, Ariz., I had the opportunity and pleasure of training 14 of next year's NFL stars as they prepared for the 2015 NFL Combine in Indianapolis. Each day my staff and I placed a high physical demand on their bodies with speed training, power development, skill training and much, much more. Their ability to recover daily and be able to fully participate each minute of each workout is critical for their ability to score well at the combine. This means that all of the recovery strategies must be practiced daily in order for this to occur. This article will look at pool recovery strategies.

Here are a few tips to incorporate into your pool recovery program:

1. Temperature

Use a pool that is relatively warm, 78-84 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal.

2. Depth

Workout primarily in water levels that are chest height in order to properly "unload" the body. The buoyancy at chest height will reduce the stresses to the body during the pool exercise session.

3. Time

In order to adequately activate the body's aerobic system, 20 to 40 minutes of continuous, mild to moderate intensity work is needed. Going over 45 minutes to an hour of work will generally tend to create some muscle soreness.

4. Intensity

As mentioned above, mild to moderate intensity is needed to utilize the body's aerobic system. The use of the body's aerobic system is critical because it increases blood flow to the muscles and removes metabolic waste from them as well. This is what we call "flushing your body out." A great rule of thumb to make sure that one is training in this aerobic zone is that the person exercising can still carry on a normal conversation without losing breathe.

5. Parts of the body/movements

It is important to incorporate all parts of the body with all types of movements. For example, I have my NFL Combine athletes in the pool for 40 minutes continuously doing many of the exact same movements that will be required of them at this year's NFL Combine. Movements such as bounding for short distances, carioca agility movements, backpedaling and water dumbbell bench pressing are incorporated into their workouts to ensure proper recovery to their muscles.

So add a pool recovery session to your workout routine. Not only will your body feel better and perform at new levels, but you will enjoy the fun that this workout brings!

- Brett Fischer is the owner/founder of the Fischer Institute in Phoenix, Ariz. He is a licensed physical therapist, certified athletic trainer, certified strength and conditioning specialist and a certified dry needling provider. He has worked with the University of Florida, New York Jets, PGA & Senior PGA TOUR and the Chicago Cubs.

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