How to Use Pool Exercises to Help With Speed

How to Use Pool Exercises to Help With Speed

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Training in the pool helps you build speed and strength without placing excess strain on your joints, according to Rick Burkholder, head of athletic training for Philadelphia Eagles football. No longer are aqua exercises relegated to the 70-plus age bracket; pro athletes and trainers use pool plyometric exercises to build the muscles necessary for tremendous speed and power. Exercising in water is more effective than on land because of increased multidirectional resistance that builds as you move through the water.

Pool Plyometrics

Step 1

Stand in the shallow end of the pool with your feet hip distance apart. Bend your elbows to 90 degrees and tuck your elbows in by your sides. Bend your knees and squat until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Immediately burst up out of the water, jumping as high as you can. Quickly repeat this drill as many times as you can until you feel fatigued.

Step 2

Stand with your feet hip distance apart, arms up in the air. Jump as high as you can, and tuck both your knees and your elbows in to your chest. Repeat this plyometric exercise quickly, as many times as you can before feeling fatigued.

Step 3

Shift your center of gravity over the right leg and bend the left knee up toward the chest, so you are standing on one leg. Bring your arms out to the sides for balance, or bend you elbows and tuck your arms in by your sides. Jump up and down, as high as you can, on the standing leg. Jump on one leg as many times as you can before feeling fatigued, then switch sides.

Aqua Jogging

Step 1

Stand in the shallow end of the pool, or in the deep end wearing a flotation vest.

Step 2

Jog with your legs underwater as if you were running on land. During aqua jogging, feel free to exaggerate your movements and extend the reach of your legs.

Step 3

Try combining interval training exercises during your water workout. For example, walk in the water for 60 seconds, then sprint as fast as you can for 60 seconds and jog at a moderate pace for 60 seconds. Repeat this interval cycle 10 times for a 30-minute workout.

Kickboard Exercise

Step 1

Hold a kickboard in front of your body with both hands.

Step 2

Swim laps around the pool using a flutter kick, kicking your legs up and down rapidly, keeping the legs close to one another. The legs stay straight during the kick, with movement originating in the hips.

Step 3

Practice a dolphin kick using a kickboard. Holding a kickboard out in front of you with both hands, bend your knees and kick downward with both feet at once. Imagine that you have a mermaid's tail that is propelling your forward.


  • Increase the difficulty of pool exercises by adding weighted belts, fins and special gloves designed to increase resistance.


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