Hello USA Water Polo Family.
This is Olympian Genai Kerr with another workout program for you to do at home, as that is where everybody is these days.
It is really important that you do whatever you feel comfortable with, don’t go and do something that will injure you just because you are trying to do too much. Know your limitations, but try to increase them gradually. This is a good opportunity to test yourself, track where you are and work on those small gains every single day.
Start off with limited range of motion, good posture, good body balance. Test where you are with your range of motion. Keeping elbows together, you will see that I start to shake at this point, once I feel like I am locking up, try to go up a little higher. Once it relaxes, try to go up a little higher.
From that position pinch your shoulders back. You can vary what you want to do. If you are a field player, obviously it is going to be shot blocking with one hand. Focus on muscle memory.
After you get warmed up, you can work on your speed, technique, locking out, how quickly you can get up, come back to your base position. You can imagine being with your hands in the water.
Keeping my feet wide as I squat all the way down, try not to lean forward. I try to keep my upper body straight. I place my elbows into my knees to open up my groin a little bit more. Place on hand on the ground, field players, imagine you are not going for a good pass but for a bad pass. Goalies, exaggerate even more, extend this pinky, all the way across to get that last little finger up.
And once you feel the stretched, place your hand on the ground and go to the other side, now, but it feels comfortable, but increase your range of motion a little bit more. Already, just one exercise, I can see I am tighter on my left side than I am on my right side, so it is really important you stay balanced. I might do this a couple more times, just so I open up, so my body becomes a little more balanced. If I am here, raising your hips so you are getting a good stretch in your [inaudible 02:50] slowly rolling up, rather than just stopping here, forgetting about opposite side of the body, push your hips forward, stretching out your quads and do a reverse stretch coming back behind you.
Repeat that sequence several times, may be anywhere between 5 to 10 times. So, a good example of being balanced is a nice little jump and wherever you land with your feet wide, kind of gives you a good indication of where you are going to be with your feet planted. Squatting down, not just to 90 degrees, sinking your hips lower than that, chest is still up, hands are in a blocking position, imaginary blocks, right, center, left, that’s a sequence of one, doing a set of 10 of those… Perfect.
Then the next thing you can do to kind of add to it is exaggerate how wide your base position is, pull your hips back so you are not focusing on bending your knees in, so really make sure you put your hips back, you won’t get as low, but you are going to feel more stretch opening up through your groin, so from the side profile, my knees are not going forward, my hips were just going back, down, chest is still up, realistic imaginary blocking position… Extend, block, extend, pushing imaginary water with my off hand every time.
The extreme of this now, is a lot of movements, sinking down to my hips, getting lower than my knees, square my shoulder to my imaginary shooter base position, block, shift over, rotate, base position and block. Shift over, rotate, base position, block. It feels as if I am pulling water, rotating, squaring my shoulders and blocking.
To exaggerate even more is rather doing a typical launch, it is going to be in line this will be typical launch, in line, it is exaggerated and step out to the side, rather than going forward, I am going to rotate my hips as I step out various angles. Don’t let your weight go over your knees, squatting down, shoulders balanced, imaginary block, recover, open up, maybe now is a cross pass going from 4, 5 side all the way over to 1, 2 side. Exaggerate how much you open up, rotate, imaginary block, put your hands together.
My recover, my left leg is still facing the same direction I started, obviously, you want re-bounce, do it the same way on the opposite side. Right foot, facing forward the entire time, open up my hips, launch out to the side, rotate, imaginary block, all the way back, jumping back, maybe this time I go for imaginary loop and recovering back each time.
So, you are connecting your core, your legs, and your upper body with muscle memory and technique at the same time.
So, another great muscle memory exercise is going to work your plank, your core, but also shoulders and going into your biceps and forearms. Arms out straight, and just hover off the ground. Hold this for 5 to 10 seconds, before you relax, and then come right back up. What this allows you to do is build up that strength and stability at the angle you want to come for the block, and control ball, without swinging, without coming too far forward, to stabilizing, far extend as you can, you need to start off a little bit more now and then get stronger, you can do so.
Your exercise for your hips flexors and your glutes, is to work a little bit in motion, where you are coming up, raise your ankle high, as high as possible, pushing down and round. Up, out and round… Up, out and round… Up, out and round… So, you are not just pushing down towards your heel, so you are actually trying to move an imaginary water inside your thigh, so I am kicking down, I am not kicking here, I am rotating my foot, up, so resistance inside of my thigh, take this by my legs, so I make that [inaudible 07:26] motion in.
Another little good exercise is do the breaststroke kick, as you are stabilizing your core and as you feel more comfortable, doing this motion, you can go, without using your hands, lowering your shoulders, pulling back up, I feel snap, crackle, pop in my hips as I do this. Next thing is just going light on touches, shoulders and legs off the ground, sliding to touch one knee, so small, little movements through your blicks and you will feel it with the first 30 seconds, try to push through for 45 seconds to a minute for each repetition.
So, I am going back to pump fakes whether you have a smart phone or a camera or anything else. Film yourself so you make sure it looks realistic, now just starting off what you think is good, but really exaggerated, increase your range of motion, widen your stance so as you come for your pump fake, you are not just moving your arm, you are actually using your entire body. My leg is coming up and I am rotating my hip, up and rotating my hip. So, if you look at my right hip here, as it rotates, it is coming here, my arm is still behind, so if I do full motion… I can’t do anything, without making a big movement forward, pulling imaginary water with your left arm, not just pushing down, use your legs to give you a height in the water and get into the habit of pulling water with your off hand.
So, this next exercise forces you to use your entire body and stop relying on your arm as much when you pass and shoot. If you have a piece of PVC pipe at home, it is ideal, but you can honestly use a broom stick, Swiffer, any type of pole. So, for now, I will demonstrate with the PVC pipe, if you are right-handed, get the pipe between your thumb and index finger, then again, same thing behind your back, so obviously what I can’t do, is move too far forward with just my arm, it has forced me to come here, and rotate my entire body. So now, I am putting my hand on my hip and using this point as the new pivot point. So, rather than pivoting from my shoulder, I am pivoting from my hip. So, hop big, rotate and pivot, and the side, you will see it here, hop big, rotate and pivot… hop big, rotate and pivot.