A Deep Water program offers more challenge when compared to a shallow water program. This is because balance is affected when suspended. In shallow water balance is provided by the feet which can maintain contact with the pool floor, whereas, when suspended in deep water, the center of balance changes to the chest. The lungs are submerged which causes the body to become buoyant, add body fat and buoyancy is increased. Therefore, in order to effectively work in deep water, each person must develop good balance skills by learning to anchor the body by engaging the core muscles. The arms must be cued to synergize leg movements for optimal body position and technique.
Successful DWT requires buoyant equipment to assist with body support and provide a balance between muscle work and rest. WaterART recommends equipment such as a buoyancy belt to allow enhanced range of motion and easy change of “planes” for movement" so muscles will not fatigue before the HR is elevated during cardiovascular training. Participants who do not use a belt often have to overwork their arms while sculling for balance. This causes the upper body muscles to fatigue and decrease the workout potential for the individual. Buoyancy equipment also helps a participant maintain balance and good body alignment to target the lower body for sustained exercise duration.
Generally speaking the lower body muscles are the big calorie burners so they need to be fully engaged for both cardiovascular and muscular conditioning. The arms should be programmed to balance the lower body movements or used for specific upper body strengthening exercises where the legs can assist or be used in stationary positions to provide more resistance. From a physiological point of view the arms can only expend 15% of VO2 max or oxygen uptake (the measure of cardiovascular fitness and performance). If the arms are overworked usually the legs do not work as effectively or move through full range of motion.
There are many benefits to DWT because of the change in environment. For instance, a land exercise program, working with gravity, can overwork the same muscles used for daily activities; whereas water training uses buoyancy which automatically works the weaker muscles and can stretch the stronger side of the pair through good ROM to provide long strong muscles. Instructors should also try to encourage “regular” shallow water exercisers to occasionally move to deep water for cross training if they are comfortable in deep water. If they are not comfortable you can add a belt and teach suspended moves in the shallow water where they may easily put their feet down if need be.
Before you start -Test how much buoyancy you need.
A belt allows you to balance work and rest and perform good technique without straining to keep your head above the water. You cannot perform a good workout if you are fighting buoyancy to maintain good alignment throughout the program. To test yourself - Take a “body check” which is hanging in a “T” position where the arms are out to the sides and the legs are together. The head should be able to stay afloat. The body should be in good straight alignment where the shoulders are over the hips, the hips are over the knees and the knees are over the ankle – in a straight line. Always, recheck posture at the beginning of every session and throughout the session, as it is easy to slip into poor posture. With good posture you are achieving optimal abdominal training (without doing specific abdominal exercises).
It is important that each person wear a buoyancy belt of that has sufficient buoyancy to support their structure. Very few people have the same body composition. Any two people may be built with the same height and weight, but it is unlikely that their muscle to fat ratio is identical. Some people may need more density while others require less. Some people may need to wear 2 belts or have the belt worn backwards. Muscles move, fat floats. As the water becomes deeper, the buoyancy effect will increase. Therefore some participants may be "floating" more than others and will have more surface area to drag through the water. To achieve a good workout each person needs to be educated to work through his or her own, comfortable, range of motion and speed. Everyone will work at a different speed. A participant with longer levers will move slower than someone with shorter arms and legs. Additionally, someone who is skilled will probably move faster than someone who is less coordinated or familiar with the exercise.
Choose A Belt That Works For You
One size does not fit all – there are a variety of belt to choose from – make sure to get the right one for you. It needs to be mentioned that a belt should feel “uncomfortably tight” when put on before entering the water. Once in the water the hydrostatic pressure or the bandage effect of the water takes over and a “traction effect” pulls the body into a slimmer line. If a belt is not fitted properly on land – it will ride up in the water and will not be effective for posture and abdominal training.
By utilizing buoyancy belt your arms and legs are unrestricted and you may engage and target specific muscle groups to tone your body. By maintaining good posture and body movement everyone is able to naturally engage the abdominal muscles to maintain vertical or any other body posture. The belt allows the participant to move in all directions and balance a cardiovascular (aerobic) workout with muscular endurance and flexibility sets. Wearing a belt will allow each person to stretch through a greater range of motion in the water and thereby be able to achieve greater intensity and benefits. ,
Utilize sculling for balance and maintaining good posture. A scull is a figure eight movement with the palm of the hand pressing down against the water. By pressing the hands down the shoulders and body should pull up in good posture. When you travel, you lean (slightly) in the direction of travel maintaining body position. Be sure that the shoulders are relaxed and you are ventilating (breathing out) through the mouth to replenish the muscles with oxygen.
If working out in shallow water, a belt can offer extra buoyancy and cushioning for someone suffering with painful hip or knee joints, foot or back problems, or just give some extra confidence and protection to a non-swimmer.
Using proper equipment may not only add more benefits to the program but add new program ideas to help cross-train the clients.
We recommend the following DVD's :
DVD007 - Deep H20 Workout,
DVD008- Advanced Deep H20 Workout,
DVD036 - Deep H20 Noodles,
DVD056 - Deep H20 Running,
DVD042 - Advanced Deep H20 Cuffs