May 17, 2017Hydrotherapy: Capture the Power of Water for Training and Conditioning Success
Pools with a water current (known as hydrotherapy pools) are ideal for aquatic therapy and fitness. They pack a powerful punch of function into a small footprint. Because of the water flow, athletes can achieve full body workouts, swim, run, and rehabilitate for overall fitness and conditioning without additional pool equipment. Another highly effective component of hydrotherapy rooms are plunge pools. During intense exercise, muscles experience microtraumas or tiny tears within individual muscle fibers. Microtraumas are beneficial as they trigger an increase in cell activity which helps strengthen muscles. But, they can also cause inflammation and Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS). The low water temperatures in a cold plunge help minimize muscle inflammation. Used post exercise athletes gain the beneficial effects of microtraumas without the pain of DOMS. Hot plunge pools used before work-outs help increase blood flow, flexibility and loosen muscles. This increased flexibility leads to less muscle strain and a more productive exercise session. Athletic trainers who tap into the power of water for training and recovery understand the basic characteristics of water to facilitate success. These include hydrostatic pressure, buoyancy, and viscosity. Water’s ability to support, decrease the weight of an object, and provide resistance greatly increase results.
Chicago Cubs Hydrotherapy
Athletic trainer Chuck Baughman of the Chicago Cubs regularly uses hydrotherapy pools and plunge pools. Their hydrotherapy room includes a large hydrotherapy pool with an integrated treadmill, independent performance zones, a deep well for nonweight bearing treatments, and an adjustable 99-speed water current. In addition to the pool, they have 2 hot and 2 cold plunge pools for rehab and recovery. The hot plunges are ideal for warming injuries and loosening sore muscles for overall mobility and range-of-motion. The cold plunges can be used after practice to decrease swelling and lactic acid build-up. As the athletic training and rehabilitation coordinator, Baughman has developed effective aquatic conditioning and hydrotherapy workout programs at the team’s spring training facility that allows for year-round player development. Click the link below and download your free copy of Baughman’s hydrotherapy lowerbody workout and overall conditioning program.