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Water Polo Conditioning Program

Strength and Conditioning for the Water Polo Athlete

Water polo conditioning is harder to target than many other sports. Water polo needs to be trained rather specifically yet also inclusive of general strength and conditioning. 

The following program is aimed at water polo conditioning at all levels. Of course, due to the volume and intensity, the player should be aware that this is serious, I mean that it is a program designed for very high levels of conditioning and for those wanting to bring their A game.

The following program can be performed for any length of time. I personally recommend around 12 weeks before moving on and creating a bit more variety. This program includes strength, power, dry-land conditioning and water conditioning.

Cycle through from workout one to workout nine on a three days on one day off pattern. You may have to intelligently cycle workouts around game days and skill sessions.

Workout One

With a water polo ball, simply throw the ball as far as possible and swim after it. Keep repeating while doing laps up and down the pool. Complete a total of 3.5km. Time yourself doing this and try and improve on it each time.

Workout Two

The following is a strength and conditioning session.

Deep front squats (all the way to the floor) 3 x 15

Single leg calf raises holding a dumbell 3 x 15 each leg

Bent-over row superset with pull-ups 2 x 10 - 15

Perform push-ups with a further 30 percent added to your body weight. This can be done by having a partner place a weight plate or two on your back. 3 x max

Over-head dumbell press 2 x 12

Workout Three

This one is best done with a coach or partner.

Have a partner stand on the edge of the pool with a whistle. Every time your partner blows the whistle, he/she will point in a random direction, you swim in the direction pointed to until the whistle blows again. Each time the whistle blows the goal is to stop and look as fast as possible and sprint-swim in that direction.

Perform five rounds of five minutes each. Rest one minute between each round.

Workout Four

Single leg squats, AKA pistols 3 x 12

Clap push-ups 3 x 8

Power-cleans 3 x 5

Body weight squats 1 x 50

Workout Five

Egg beater for 30 seconds with hands held in the air, one minute with hands assisting then swim underwater as far as possible and repeat. Do this continuously for 20 minutes.

Workout Six

Heavy barbell thrusters 5 x 5

Workout Seven

For this workout you will need access to a an indoor rower. Preferably a concept two.

For all intervals row as hard and fast as possible.

Rest two minutes between each set of intervals.

Workout Eight

Extra slow overhead squats 3 x 8

Barbell snatch 1 x 8

Extra slow chin-ups 2 x max

Extra slow push-ups 2 x max

BY MAX I MEAN UNTIL YOU CANNOT POSSIBLY PERFORM ANOTHER REPETITION.

Workout Nine

Swim 10 metres backstroke, stop and have a partner pass you a ball, pass it back and repeat for 50 metres. Repeat the process using freestyle with head out for another 50 metres. Complete three rounds of each with two minutes rest between sets. 

When you finish, egg beater for 30 seconds hands up, 30 seconds hands assisting then get as much height out of the water as possible and repeat for three minutes.

The preceding water polo conditioning program is obviously designed for reasonably serious players or those that want to excel. However water polo conditioning can be a great way to gain all-round fitness and increased swimming ability.

Return to our home page from water polo conditioning.

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YOUR COACH – Chris Lyons

Chris Lyons is an experienced strength and conditioning coach, having trained athletes of all ages and levels since 2002. Chris specialises in coaching athletes for speed and power specific to fast-moving sports such as rugby league, rugby union, soccer, Aussie rules football etc. Since 2002 Chris has conducted close to 15,000 hours of training and coaching directly with athletes and members of the general population. From this experience comes Sprint Ninja, based on tried and tested training methods combined with up to date research. Chris continues to challenge himself not only as a coach, but also as an athlete, competing in sprinting events, strongman and Olympic-style weightlifting.

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