Before discussing the benefits of training with the Aquatic Racket Trainer, let’s talk about the water. Moving your workout to the pool can be a fun and exciting way to challenge yourself, mix up your exercise routine and build functional fitness. The water itself is an amazing tool that can assist, resist and support movement. Consider this, when you immerse your body in chest depth water:
- The pressure on your joints is reduced by upwards of 80%
- Your heart becomes more efficient at pumping blood
- Blood pressure and heart rate drop
- The pressure of the water helps you to train your breathing muscles
- Blood flow to your muscles increases by 225%
- The sensation of pain is reduced
The water impacts the body in so many positive ways…and then we can add movement to exploit even greater benefits! Research shows that the right water workout can increase muscle strength and endurance, enhance vertical jump, improve cardiovascular health and endurance, refine motor skills and even boost brain health.
Benefits of Training with the Racket Trainer
To take your workouts even further, you can add interesting and inspiring equipment like the Racket Trainer. The Racket Trainer enhances the resistance of the water while allowing the user to get creative with movement focusing on performance and/or function. As the name implies, the Racket Trainer can be used to emulate movements in racket-based sports. Tennis, pickleball, and racquetball skills and drills can be practiced and improved by using the power of the water paired with the Racket Trainer. Moreover, water-based training can be supplemented for land-workouts, to aid in injury prevention, recovery or to provide a new workout stimulus.
When you pair the Racket Trainer with skills and drills in the water you can use the additional surface area provided by the equipment to create the perfect pairing of muscle strengthening, endurance training and power production. Further, the use of equipment such as the Racket Trainer provides added surface area resistance to the intended movement and creates an opportunity to improve muscle balance which can optimize movement. Muscle balance is when the muscle pair, such as the biceps and triceps, have similar strength, mobility and endurance. When muscle pairs become imbalanced, injury commonly occurs. To aid in preventing injury and enhancing performance, training the muscle pair as well as the dominant and non-dominant sides of the body using environments such as the water, with specialized equipment, such as the Racket Trainer, is ideal.
Beyond Racket Sports
The applications for using the Racket Trainer go far beyond the court. This equipment can aid with balance and gait training, upper and lower body stability and strength, as well as functional movement. Indeed, we can create movements that are both symmetrical and asymmetrical, much like our experience in life. If we consider the seven basic functional movement patterns for the human body, we can easily utilize the Racket Trainer to enhance each and every one of them!
1 / 2. Push & Pull: In the water, every movement that we make is resisted. Therefore, when we push forward and retract back to the starting position, we meet resistance with both the push and pull actions. A Diagonal Row is a great exercise to work both push and pull. You will also notice that it may challenge your balance and core due to the asymmetry of the resisted movement.
3. Hinge: Hinge movements are movements that simulate picking something up off of the ground. These movements are necessary for many activities of daily living and strengthening the body to perform this action can safeguard from a myriad of common injuries. The Twisting Kettlebell Swing emphasizes both downward and upward force production at the hips while engaging the core, stimulating postural muscles, and engaging spinal rotation.
4. Lunge: While a lunge is a predominantly lower body movement, adding upper body actions can stimulate greater muscle engagement via stabilization and control. The Walking Lunge with Single Arm Rotation is a great example of this.
5. Squat: If you consider how many times you perform some type of squat throughout the course of your day, you will never skip squats at the gym again! This extremely functional movement helps us move independently while promoting explosive movement. The Squat with Pilates Pulse is a way to work on gaining muscular endurance, postural control, core stabilization, and even shoulder girdle endurance.
6. Rotation: Our ability to rotate helps us to better engage with our surroundings and allows us to transfer power from our lower body to our upper body or vice versa. We couldn’t introduce the Racket Trainer without incorporating a racket-based sport movement. The Forehand Swing is a magnificent display of how to effectively transfer power that is generated from the lower body into the swing of the racket.
7. Walking: There is no doubt that we can agree that walking is one of the fundamental movement patterns. Multitasking is commonplace while walking. Carrying groceries, reaching for something, or problem solving are tasks that we commonly perform while walking. The 1 Arm Drag is a posture forward exercise that engages the entire body to increase the challenge of walking in water.
Lob the Racket Trainer into your Workout Routine
These seven functional movements can be done in a workout format to enhance mobility while improving overall fitness. There are many ways to incorporate these movements into a fantastic total-body workout. Let’s look at a few options:
- Execute the exercises in order, performing each for 30-60 seconds at a consistent effort with no rest between exercises.
- Complete the exercises in order, performing each for 30-60 seconds at a moderate to hard effort allowing 30-60 seconds of rest between each exercise.
- Perform the exercises as a circuit completing a set number of repetitions of one exercise before transitioning to the next. Continue to repeat the circuit until you have reached your goal workout time (example: 15-30 min)
As with any workout, a proper warm up and cool down should be included. For the warmup, consider including the movements that will be performed during the workout. Doing these movements in a slow and controlled fashion will help to prepare the body physically while priming the neuromotor system for any new movements. In the cool down, use the Racket Trainer to assist in stretching and elongating movements as you bring your heart rate down.
The Bottom Line
We all need to engage in physical activities that build heart health while keeping our bodies strong and mobile. The Racket Trainer paired with the power of the aquatic environment creates an opportunity for new, dynamic workout options that can challenge the brain and body. Whether you are training for a racket-based sport, to grow your fitness, or to improve function, the Racket Trainer can add excitement and results to any workout!
Add a pair of lower body fins to make it a Total Body Workout!
Written by Lori Sherlock, Ed,D
Lori is a professor in the School of Medicine at West Virginia University. She coordinates and teaches the aquatic therapy curriculum within the division of Exercise Physiology and is proud to state that it is the only one like it in the nation. Lori is an Aquatic Exercise Association and Wavemakers trainer and a member of the Aquatic Exercise Association’s Research Committee. She travels around the globe to educate others on various topics concerning aquatic therapy and exercise. Additionally, Lori contributes often to scholarly publications and has a great interest in furthering the field of aquatics through research.