This post is part two of our four part USA Water Polo ODP dry-land series.
After dynamic warm up, the next block of the pre-workout, called Movement Prep, addresses specific areas of the body that frequently engage in movement patterns during training. This focused approach further aids in injury prevention for high risk joints and muscle groups. The best athletes learn which specific areas of the body demand additional attention in warm-up prior to training and competition. Let'discuss a few exercises that address these critical areas.
Combining lower and upper body movements provide full body activation and synergy from head to toe. Legs are the foundation of an elite water polo athlete; a large component of preparation is devoted to improving stability, mobility, and flexibility through the legs and hips, and engaging the surrounding supportive muscle groups.
Here’s a look at a few of these exercises.
Arm Swing Lunge Series
- The Arm Swing Lunge Series targets different areas of your thigh by lunging in a semi-circle pattern. Similar directional leg movements can be seen in the egg-beater motion where there is no fixed leg position.
- Stand with feet hip width apart. Lift arms above head.
- Step forward with one leg and lunge the lower body towards ground with the front knee directly over the front ankle. Lower the back knee towards the ground while the arms lower towards back leg position.
- Repeat movement on same leg. Step out at 45 degree angle, lower back knee to the ground. Lower arms towards extended leg. Remember to keep the chest up and back flat.
- Repeat lunge movement once laterally, once 45 degrees behind, and once as a reverse lunge.
- Return to starting position, execute same steps on opposite leg.
- This full body movement targets various muscle groups from head to toe. Primarily, your shoulders, core, hips, hamstrings, and ankles will engage.
- Stand, feet hip width apart.
- Hinge at the hips, lower your palms to the floor while keeping legs straight.
- Walk hands out to pushup position.
- Hold pushup position, keeping back tight.
- Walk feet to hands while keeping palms on the floor. Return to start position and repeat for prescribed reps.
Reverse Lunge Overhead Stretch
- This leg warm-up wakes up your quads and hamstrings. Adding an auxiliary overhead stretch improves range of motion in your shoulders as you lower into the lunge.
- Stand, feet at hip width. Chest up, back flat.
- Stepping backwards, start to lift arms overhead.
- Plant back foot on the ground, lower hips into lunge and extend arms overhead. Front knee bends over the ankle, and back knee drops toward the floor.
- Drive off back foot to starting position. Repeat for prescribed reps then switch legs.
- A dynamic leg and spine warm-up exercise, the Goblet squat focuses on depth and explosion. Lowering into the squat and exploding back up help prepare your legs and and spine for higher-intensity movements.
- Feet hip width apart with toes angled slightly outward. Place hands in front of chest and elbows inside of the knees.
- With knees in-line with the toes, lower hips into a squat position, keeping the chest up.
- Drive up through the heels, keeping a flat back, to starting position. Do not lock knees at top. Reset & Repeat.
- Star Jumps focus on an explosive full body movement from a compact position. Your limbs work in coordination as you jump and reach.
- Have a narrow stance. Extend arms in front of body. Back flat, chest up, with a slight bend in the knees.
- Laterally extend knees and hips into a jump and spread legs to outside hip width. Rotate and elevate arms above head.
- Bring arms and legs back to land in starting position. Repeat for prescribed reps.
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