Leg strength is one of the most important elements for a water polo player. Players hold themselves afloat by eggbeatering and kicking and to add a layer on top of that, wrestling your opponent is a big part of the game. The simple act of legging up to pass and shoot the ball requires a significant amount of leg strength. If a player wants to achieve maximum success in the pool, then they need to work on their legs inside and out of the water.
In the pool
KAP7 has some great training equipment designed to build leg strength and theheavy ball is one of the best tools out there. There are various drills designed to develop leg strength while also improving your game. For example, the simple act of passing with the heavy ball not only helps develop leg strength but also core and arm strength. Coaches love to have their athletes pass with aKAP7 Hydrogrip ball to warm their arms up, then pass with the heavy ball, then move into shooting with the Hydrogrip. Kids love how light the ball feels during shooting and they will be surprised how fast they can chuck it. Another great workout with the heavy ball is to leg up and toss it with both hands as far as they can, then retrieve it, and repeat.
Another product, theKAP7 weight belt is another a great tool to build leg strength and can be used for swim sets, leg set, shooting and and passing drills, and even scrimmaging. Theresistance swim band is another item that really works well for swimming or treading water against.
In the gym
Wall Sits: Wall sits are a great exercise that helps with leg strength and are designed to work players’ quadriceps, while their knees are kept shoulder-width apart. Players should focus on maintaining a solid 90-degree angle with their quads and shins. Once in position, players should begin by holding it for a minute. As leg strength increases overtime, the duration of the exercise will too.
Squats: Body weight squats are a great place to start and eventually move to weight squats. If you don’t have access to a squat rack, using a medicine ball will also work. Using the mechanics of the wall sit position, the goal of this movement is to increase quad strength with the repetitive squat motion. Athletes should ensure their quads and shins continue to form a 90-degree angle, and have their knees stay behind their toes when squatting.
Box Jumps are great for increasing leg strength and fast twitch muscles. This is a great drill for goalies and field players alike.
Designing and incorporating a leg strengthening program into a water polo player's routine is necessary for developing leg strength and decrease risk of injury. Once a framework is put into place and correct movement execution is enforced, a player’s focus can be directed towards strength. Developing leg strength will keep water polo players ahead of their opponents and set them up for success in the pool.
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