Developing strength and flexibility is very important for the water polo athlete, and here are some water polo training exercises that will help the athlete develop to his full potential. There was a day when talent was all an athlete needed to reach the top, but times have changed. Athletes in all sports are getting bigger, stronger and more powerful every year, making training for strength and power very important. Proper training can also reduce injuries to the shoulders and elbows.
- Lap Swimming. Aerobic exercise can build up your heart muscle which is very important for endurance. Lap swimming is one of the best ways to strengthen the aerobic system which provides for 60 percent of the fuel needed for water polo.
- Chin Ups and pull ups. Chin ups and pull ups are considered pulling exercises. It is important to do pulling exercises on a three to two basis to pushing exercises.
- Bench pressing. Bench pressing is considered a pushing exercise. Do not do too much, if any, barbell bench pressing, as it is not good for the shoulders. Do your bench pressing with dumbbells instead, because it is more effective.
- Push ups. Doing push ups can help keep your shoulders healthy. They are considered a closed chain exercise which helps to make the shoulder joint muscles, like the rotor cuffs, more stabilized and allow for more natural movement of the shoulder.
- Sleeper stretch. Limit amount of stretching to the front of your shoulders. If you have any of the following issues, you should see a physiotherapist and should not stretch: shoulders that get dislocated or pop in and out, double joints or loose joints in your body, or a shoulder that does excessive popping or clunking. If you do not have any of those issues then you should do the sleeper stretch which is a great exercise for anyone who has to throw.
- Sled dragging. Leg training is very important for better shooting, quicker return when counter attacking, becoming an explosive driver, or dominating the center forward position. Strong legs are important to take some of the stress off your shoulders when playing water polo. Instead of just concentrating on swimming, do some leg strengthening exercises for part of the time such as sled dragging.
- Cossack Squats. To be able to do the egg beater kick and other kicking movements, your lower body must not only be strong but must also be flexible. Your hips and lower body can be assisted greatly by doing the Cossack squats. They give you power to elevate out of the water and help keep your hips and knees healthy.
- Litvi-Prowler exercises. These exercises are good for giving the athlete explosive power even when they are fatigued. It is important for the water polo player to be able to burst out of the water even when they have been playing for several minutes.
- Dead lifts and squats. Water athletes differ from land athletes. While land athletes have the majority of their bone mass and density on the lower limbs, water athletes are just the opposite. Water polo redistributes bone mass and density to the upper limbs. To even out this redistribution, perform dead lifts and squats.
- Running. Running is very important to strengthen the entire body and also your aerobic system. It should be incorporated into the training exercises.
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