Are you an injured runner trying to maintain or rebuild fitness? Aqua jogging is a great non-traditional method to maintain peak aerobic fitness without causing damage to an injury. This activity is utilized by quite a few professional athletes but you don’t have to be an injured runner to give this a go. It’s a great alternative form of cardio training for anyone. Scientific studies have proved that aqua jogging can help to maintain aerobic fitness in an injured runner for up to six weeks (read more here and here).

A flotation belt is required for this activity, since you must ensure that a part of your torso is above the water or you will spend too much energy attempting to stay afloat.

Here’s the basics of proper deep-water running form:

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– Lean forward.

– Bring the knees up towards the chest and kick back through full range of motion, exactly as you would when running, but slightly more exaggerated. Imagine you’re running up a steep hill.

– Pump the arms vigorously, but leave the fists closed.

– Avoid a straight up-and-down posture with a piston like up-and-down movement of the legs. This is more like bicycling, and won’t stimulate the running muscles as much as leaning forward and kicking through the range of motion.

– You can jog in a stationary space, but it is more interesting and beneficial to actually move forward, such as down and back in a lap lane.

Sample workout for aqua jogging. This workout offers multiple benefits – it works on running form, intensity, and muscular strength:

5 minute warm-up (i.e. 3 laps running)

1 HARD exaggerated running effort at max capacity for 1 length of the pool, then easy jog back

1 HARD “heel-to-butt” kick effort for 1 length of the pool, then easy jog back

1 HARD “high-knees-running” effort  (knees come all the way up to chest), then jog back

1 HARD “cross-country ski” effort (straight legs, straight arms), then jog back

Repeat these HARD efforts as a circuit, going 2, 3, or 4 times through. Workout time will range from 15-30 minutes, depending on how many circuits you perform. Cool-down jog for 5 minutes.

The great thing about aqua jogging is that it can be intense, but very forgiving on the body because of its non-impact nature. If your form is good, you can perform hard aqua jogging workouts on consecutive days and maintain fitness, VO2 max, and lactate threshold without risk of overtraining or injury.

Are you a runner and interested in more information from us? Have a look at these blog posts on ankle stability and running shoe selection.

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