Water Resistance Training for Professional Athletes

Coach Tony Fulton runs “Speed Intensify” and has been training professional athletes and prospects, college, and high school athletes for more than thirty years. Of note, as a sprinter, Tony owns several world records, and two years ago, set records in Toronto at an international level track meet. “Speed Intensify” is a diverse platform that trains specifically for speed agility and change of direction.

Coach Fulton and the team at NL Aquatic Center recently shared how they are using their SwimEx 600T to safely and effectively train professional athletes.

“It’s been difficult on my boys and girls with the pandemic,” Coach Fulton said. “COVID prevented free agents from being evaluated by pro teams in the spring and summer of 2020, and the vast majority of sports camps shut down affecting a whole generation of collegiate and professional prospects. There are a lot of athletes working hard to stay in shape hoping to advance to the next level – whether that’s the pros or transitioning from middle school to high school junior varsity. I needed to come up with something creative; something different to keep my clients engaged.”

Unique water resistance training program

Enter Tyler Santangelo and NLAC’s Swim Smart program. Tyler’s background as an exercise physiologist and Tony Fulton’s experience and style of training were ideally suited to create a unique program utilizing the adjustable current for water resistance in the NLAC SwimEx training pool to further develop athletes sidelined for 15 months by the pandemic. “Hydrotherapy can have many benefits,” Santangelo said. “Introducing water resistance training is something different and engaging. It also takes pressure off joints, alleviates lactic acid buildup, and exercises muscles in a nontraditional way of cross-training.”

Santangelo and Coach Fulton put together a series of water exercises in the NLAC SwimEx pool that had athletes running against the water flow for varied intervals at varied resistance. Besides training for speed and agility, the new format also exercised the core with simultaneous cardiovascular benefits. The analytics from the NLAC Swim Smart system provided excellent metrics to measure improvement over time.

“Traditional training is wear and tear on the joints,” Coach Fulton said. “Resistance training in water extends an athlete’s career. Some water systems have a treadmill at the bottom which I find inferior. The SwimEx paddlewheel system and adjustable water resistance levels, 99 to note, is the ultimate luxury for me to train my athletes safely and effectively. The analytical data I receive to measure improvement is icing on the cake.”

water resistance training NLAC Swim Smart

Professional athletes and free agents training

During the summer, one might have seen players from the Houston Texans, Green Bay Packers, Denver Broncos, along with a myriad of free agents training at going back and forth from the NLAC SwimEx pool to the traditional pool. Head SJAC coach and NLAC facilities owner Pete Holcroft offered an additional perspective: “We are one of the few facilities in the country that have the SwimEx pool and traditional pool literally within a few feet of each other. I look forward to this program expanding in the fall and winter.” Holcoft smiles, “Rumor has it some NHL boys will be hanging out here.”

water resistance training SJAC

Of note, one of Tony Fulton’s clients was just picked up in the second round of the NBA draft.

For more information on utilizing the NLAC Swim Smart program for cross-training or swim training, visit Swim Smart – NL Aquatics Pro Shop.

Interested in more hydrotherapy training programs? Download the hydrotherapy training programs created by Chicago Cubs athletic trainer Chuck Baugham to train and condition athletes.

cubs conditioning program

~ Authored by Kristine Chochrek

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