It's the latest craze in exercise, and one of the best ways to get a full body non-impact workout. Doctors and physical therapists have been offering it to elderly or injured patients for years because it is a safe, low impact aerobics, easy on the joints, and good for the entire body. But now, it is being used even for strength training by professional athletes as it's been found to be able to smash through plateaus that even the weight room can't touch. Why is aqua training so beneficial? Well for starters, water offers a natural form of total body resistance while under low levels of gravity; an almost unmatched, unparalleled environment to work out.
The Science Behind Water Resistance
Ever wonder why a huge cruise ship can float, yet a tiny rock sinks? Due to buoyancy, the ability of water to support a mass of weight, bodies of mass can float when they displace the amount of water that weighs the same as the item itself. It all depends on the size, weight, shape and surface area that comes in contact with the water. The human body is uplifted by buoyancy and since the water density is greater than that of air, any movement in the water is met with a level of resistance.
Fat is more buoyant than muscle. Therefore, the chest and abdomen cavities have the highest buoyancy levels since this is the area where most body fat is located, and where air is processed in the lungs.
The concept of buoyancy and water resistance was first discovered by the ancient Greek astronomer, mathematician, engineer and physicist, Archimedes. Yes, he was all of the those things, and he can be considered the father of Aqua training!
Why Choose Water?
There are many reasons why one would include aqua training as part of their regular workoutroutines. The buoyancy factor provides many benefits for the body such as:
- Low Impact and Reduced Stress on the Joints. Water exercises reduce a person's body weight by approximately 90% when they are immersed in the water to the chest level, and 50% when the are at waist level. This significantly removes stress on joints and their supporting tissues. With the reduced amount of gravity, and reduced joint stress, people can execute exercises and movements more easily in the water using the full range of motion they are usually denied, which can then help them to improve their flexibility.
- Develop and Tone Muscles. You may be thinking that with gravity and buoyancy you may not gain the strength you could on land, but this doesn't always hold true. If you require greater resistance in your training than the water provides, there are water tools and equipment specifically made to challenge you. Yes, there are water weights and running machines!
- Water Exercising is Open to Everyone. From novice to professional, special populations to healthy and strong individuals, aqua training is open to everyone. People with medical conditions such as arthritis, chiropractic problems, strokes or obese, who once were unable to partake in cardiovascular exercise regimens, can now do so.
- Physical Fitness. The same level of physical fitness on land can be accomplished in the water, and even better, the equivalent amount of calories can be burned in both! In fact a water based class may burn even more calories due to the increased force of resistance added to the movement. Water training also provides both increased muscle strength and endurance.
- Circulation. The water pressure alone is great on the body for circulation. Meaning even just standing still in the water can provide you with benefits.
How Can Aqua Training Benefit Martial Artists?
- Injuries are less likely to occur when practicing jumps, kicks and punches when they are done under water. The water serves as a cushion for the ligaments and joints, yet allowing for full range of motion for each movement. The water is a great place to practice jump, jump kicks, and kick flips. There are much less chances for impact injuries.
- The buoyancy of water offers balance and improved posture for practicing techniques and forms.
- Punches and kicks can be performed in the water at slower paces working on muscle development, and at the same time building the muscle memory for correct and accurate execution.
Your Heart Rate During Aqua Training
- Dive Reflex - When the face and/or chest are submerged in water, the body's blood pressure and heart rate naturally lower and slow down.
- Gravity - With gravity and compression, the blood requires less effort to find its way back to the heart.
- Partial Pressure - Oxygen enters blood easily under pressure just as a gas enters a liquid with ease.
- Temperature - Water has an amazing cooling effect on the body thus requiring less effort of the heart.
Aqua training is the new workout craze. You will find it at almost every gym or YMCA, and for good reason. There really is no other form of exercise that can be conducted that offers the body such great physical benefits while simultaneously protecting the body the way it does.
Aqua Training Exercises for Athletes
Raring to get started on your aqua training? Check out some routines in the video below.