T Nation

Sprints in pool

Anyone ever done running/sprints in water? How effective are these? Would the training protocols be different than land springs because of the increased resistance?

I’ve done them quite a bit. It is a great form of GPP work, cardiovascular work and as recovery activity. As for strength training, it is not going to be directly effective, but it can assist growth for all the reasons mentioned above.

So, in other words they’d be a poor subsitute for land sprints. The reason i’m interested is because my shin splints are really bad right now, as are my knees, and i thought that shallow water sprinting might be better because of the very low impact.

For shinsplints I think pool sprints are a great alternative to the impact of land sprints.

It may be a great thing to do right now with shin splints as the workout is tough but low impact, but I do not think they have the same physiological benefit as land sprints.

Jason, what water depth do you recommend or is that variable? 3-4 ft too much? How do you use this in the grand scheme of non-weighted gpp? Thanks for your time.

Optimally, the water should be about waist deep. If you can find a pool that is about 3-4 ft deep, you should be ok. If it gets too deep, the buoyancy of the water pulls you up too much and you can’t really maintain contact with the ground.

I love the water more as a restoration medium than a training medium. Don't get me wrong, I think that you can get a great workout in the water, but other things pack more bang for the buck.

But, during times where your training volume is high and you want to incorporate some cardio/GPP work, the water is optimal.

Here is my favorite circuit for water exercise.

Swim 1 length of the pool - max effort

Run forward 1 length of the pool - max effort

Walk forward 1 length of the pool - recovery, low effort

Walk backward 1 length of the pool - recovery, low effort

Repeat 5-15 times depending on needs. This circuit works out to be about a 1:3 work:recovery ratio and is a great workout.

I would implement pool work mostly when lifting (especially leg stuff) volume is high or during the case of overuse injuries like shin splints.

Great choice, given your shinsplit problem. Naturally, it does not have the same benefit as land sprints but it does have value. However you also need to attack the root of the shinsplit problem as well. In faith, Coach Davies