If you want to be a great water polo player, then water polo dryland workouts are essential. Being a good swimmer is just the beginning. Water polo also requires strength and coordination. And good water polo dryland workout not only makes you stronger, it also helps improve your balance. On top of that, the right conditioning will decrease your chances of suffering an injuring, whether it be while training or in the heat of competition. Here are some things you should keep in mind when putting together a dryland workout routine, along with some specific exercises that will help make you a better water polo player.
- Stay fit during the “off season.” When the season is over, it can be tempting to slack off until the next season starts. But the best water polo players stay in shape all year round. A great way to do this is by taking up other activities that you enjoy. If these other activities promote strength and coordination, all the better. Good dryland workout options include running and weight training.
- Keep your heart strong. Cardiovascular exercises will help keep your heart strong and healthy, which will increase your endurance. Therefore, you won’t run out of steam during even the most brutal water polo matches. An activity like jumping rope can be fun and help improve your coordination.
- Strengthen your arms and shoulders with one-arm dumbbell rows. A water polo player’s arms and shoulders see a lot of action, so a lot of your dryland workouts should be focused on exercises that strengthen your arms and shoulders. While you should do a few “pushing exercises” (like push-ups) during your workout, “pulling exercises” (like rowing, pull ups and chin ups) are best for water polo players. A great “pulling exercise” that doesn’t require a lot of equipment is the one-arm dumbbell row. Before you begin, place the dumbbell on the floor where you will be able to reach it easily. Kneel over and place your left hand and knee on a bench. (Or something else about the same height off the floor that will be able to support your weight.) Your upper body should be horizontal to the floor, so you’re facing down. Do not round out your back. Pick up the dumbbell. Now slowly pull it up to your side until it touches your rib cage. Slowly let your arm extend back down towards the floor. You should feel a good stretch in your shoulders. You can do one to three sets of one-arm dumbbell rows, ten to fifteen reps per set.
- Strengthen those legs with squats. You might have heard that the stronger your legs are, the better a water polo player you will be. And there’s definitely some truth to that. Anything you can do to make your legs stronger—whether it’s running, training with weights, or hopping on a stair climber several times a week—is a good thing. Squats are a particularly good exercises for strengthening your legs. You don’t need any fancy equipment to do them. Stand with your legs about shoulder width apart. Bend your knees and lower into a squat. Make sure your knees don’t go past your toes. You also want to keep your upper body upright. Don’t bend at the waist. Hold the squat for four to five seconds. Pressing down on your heels, slowly straighten back up into a standing position. You can do one to three sets of squats, with ten to fifteen reps per set.
- Keep it simple. Your water polo dryland workouts don’t have to be convoluted and complex, involving doing a dozen different exercises. Trying to rush through a bunch of exercises, and not doing any of them correctly, can do you more harm than good. It’s better to focus on doing several repetitions of three or four exercises. In fact, you can design several different water polo dryland workouts of three to four exercises each. Focus on mastering each workout before moving on to the next.