I have known Bill Rodgers for the last 12 years. He is a member of my health club and a regular participant in the Swymfit® deep water, movement based exercise program as well as lap swimming. When Bill and I first met, he was recovering from a leg injury and was working to overcome a gait imbalance. The deep water program I developed helped him to recover from this injury, improve his gait and continue running.
Bill has always been a proponent of cross training and adjusting his fitness program as he ages. However, what is the definition of cross traning and how does water exercise help runners?
As I hear the phrase "cross training", it suggests an exercise program that is secondary or an adjunct to the required training program. For example, in Bill's case as with other runners that I have known and trained, swimming laps would be a "cross training" routine for aerobic fitness. Whereas, a properly designed deep water running routine is sport specific exercise for runners and should be built in to every runner's training program.
In the water, a runner is constantly working against resistance to improve total body strength, hip flexor strength, arm/shoulder and core strength. Better hip flexor strength increases thigh lifting capacity, stronger arms allow for a faster and more consistent arm swing which translate into better leg turnover, longer strides and ultimately improved running speed and performance. Core strength improves running effieicency, enabling the arms and legs to focus on propeling the body forward with speed and power.
A Swymfit® deep water exercie training program will put less stress on your joints, help you to recover faster while also improving your running fitness, range of motion and flexibility.