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Water polo fitness exercise

Although most water polo players come from a competitive swimming background, it's not strictly necessary if you want to play the game.

Of course, you will need to be a good swimmer to play water polo, but pure swimming speed is not the sole determinant of success.

Water polo combines a number of physical skills including aerobic (cardio) fitness, anaerobic fitness, strength, and flexibility. Training for water polo should therefore reflect this.

A breakdown of the timing in a typical water polo training program would therefore look something like this:

  • Swimming - 50%
  • Skills - 30/35%
  • Land based training - 15/20%
Given the nature of the game, the swimming component would be a mix of steady paced swimming to develop endurance, and intervals to build anaerobic capability.

Skills training reflects the cardinal rule of sports, that the more specific the training is, the more effective it will be.

Finally, there are the land based elements. This will include strength training (weights), flexibility work, and sometimes even running - pool based sports are notoriously ineffective in helping people to lose weight, so many swimmers turn to running if they need to lose weight.

Combining all these elements effectively will require the services of an experience coach or trainer, but will pay dividends when the competitive season starts.

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