July 16, 2017 By BridgeAthletic

Water Polo Building Blocks: Strength Training Exercises


Water Polo Building Blocks.jpg

The BridgeAthletic Building Block Series is a set of 5 exercises that can be performed by water polo players of all levels on the pool deck.


The Building Block Series is designed to give water polo players an edge on defense, by helping strengthen hip capsule, improving thoracic extension (stealing the ball), and improving egg-beater range of motion and power.


1.) Band 1-Arm T

Level: All

Equipment: Resistance Band

Movement: Start facing the band holding a handle in each hand, palms facing each other. Keep a slight bend in the right elbow as you rotate slightly and pull the right arm back at shoulder height keeping the left arm stationary. Pause. Bring the arm back to the starting position. Repeat the movement on this side for the prescribed number of reps then switch arms. Keep the movement controlled and avoid using momentum to initiate the movement.

Bridge Tip – Keep the movement controlled and focus on the connection between your trunk and moving arm.


2.) Band Y Squat

Level: All

Equipment: Resistance Band

Movement: This is an excellent progressive exercise to work overhead stability during a lower-body movement. Start with the bands behind your legs in a squat stance. Hold a handle in each hand and extend arms overhead at a 45-degree angle to create the Y-shape. Keeping the arms stabilized overhead, perform a squat with the movement controlled both ways. Repeat for the prescribed number of reps keeping your arms at full extension above your ears.

Bridge Tip - Keep your arms stable overhead by focusing on depressing your shoulder blades (pulling them down) while your hands are above your ears in the Y formation throughout the squat.


3.) Lateral Squat

Level: All

Equipment: None

Movement: Start in an athletic stance. Take a large lateral step to one side to set up a wide base. Rotate toes out slightly, while keeping the chest up, lunge down to the right, bending at the hip and knee on your right side. The left leg should be at full extension with both feet flat on the ground. Drive up through your right leg to the start position. Pause. Repeat this movement to the other side this time. Repeat this sequence for the prescribed number of reps, alternating each side. 

Bridge Tip – Keep your chest up throughout the movement – avoid lowering your chest in trying to get more depth.


4.) Band Rotation – Long-Lever

Level: All

Equipment: Resistance Band

Movement: Start standing in an athletic stance, perpendicular to the bands, holding the handles with both hands. With arms extended at chest height, rotate to the right and control the contra-movement as you return to the start position. Keep a slight bend in the knees as you rotate. Perform all the reps in one direction, then switch and perform the movement in the other direction.


Bridge tip – Keep your back flat and rotate from your mid-section.


5.) Partner Tuck, Roll, Jump

Level: Intermediate to Advanced

Equipment: Partner

Movement: This is a great progression from regular jumps and lower-extremity plyometric exercises. Start standing with the feet shoulder-width apart. Squat to take the body down to the ground in a sitting position. As you reach the ground, tuck knees to the chest, roll backward in a tight ball, then roll forward. As you roll forward, use arms to create momentum to help plant your feet underneath you and then launch your body off the floor into the jump segment. As you jump, aim to reach higher than your partner’s outstretched hand. Control the movement through the air to land softly. Repeat the movement for the prescribed reps, then switch partners.


Bridge Tip – When starting out, use your hands to push off the ground as you initiate your jump. As you improve, use this method less and less. Work on landing softly each time



Water polo players can increase their defensive skills by building their strength using these Building Blocks as a progression. The main goal of these exercises is to increase strength using already formed techniques, and taking them to the next level. To learn more about how to become a stronger player in the pool look at these links for more information.




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