SpeedoFit is yet another moronic Fitness industry abomination that tries to mash together athlete development practices with injury rehabilitation practices. In this case, it puts skill, speed and strength based sports performance activities into a swimming pool where rehab is often performed. It is another shining example of how the ignorance of the fitness industry achieves Strength and Conditioning worst practice. Here’s why.
Everyone can figure out that training an athlete to do something badly will make that athlete very good at doing it badly. But in Strength and Conditioning circles it is recognised that it is even more dangerous to train an athlete in the same movement as their sport, but with different loading patterns.
Getting golf or tennis players to practice swinging a club or racket using a dumbbell or cable pulley machine has proven to do great damage to the athletes swing/stroke by reprogramming the timing and their finely honed movement patterns.
Similarly, training a footballer to tackle or dive to catch a ball while wearing a weight vest or being held back by an elastic band has been tried by some coaches. The theory was that the player will become stronger and faster at everything when that resistance is removed. It makes sense and sounds good. Unfortunately, what has been discovered is that it actually reprograms the athlete to mistime their movements such that they’d miss tackles or drop the ball and even wind up injured as a result. Instead of building the strength of a skilled athlete, adding resistance to the skill reduced the skill of the athlete.
Strength and Conditioning coaches know to use resistance training to make athletes strong all over. Then they train to apply that strength to the specific skills of their sport.
With that in mind, consider practicing an olympic clean, underwater, as shown in this SpeedoFit promotional video! The only possible outcome is hilarity or injury upon trying to do the same exercise without the water’s resistance. Doing olympic lifts underwater is literally training to lose the vital timing and coordination that the olympic lifts are based on.
consider practicing an olympic clean, underwater. The only possible outcome is hilarity or injury upon trying to do the same exercise without the water’s resistance
It is the same with cycling and running. An athlete’s training is significantly about very finely tuned neuromuscular programming. The subtle, subconscious use of momentum and bodyweight to limit the energetic requirements of an activity, while also limiting impact fatigue, are vital to performance and also safety.
The very fact that the resistance of water dramatically reduces impact and joint strain enables a person to train to move in a way they never would out of water. It allows the training in of movement patterns that will deliver more impact and joint strain when taken out of the water.
Reprogramming the delicate precision of an athlete’s movements by practicing training with false gravity and resistance in a pool is a tragically bad idea! But, of course, health and fitness professionals would have absolutely no appreciation of this fact.
Health professionals only know how to return a sick person to their natural state of not being sick. Thats all! And a health professional’s singular focus on avoiding anything that risks injury to a patient is the exact opposite focus to what an athlete needs to do to perform at the absolute limit of their capability.
To draw an analogy, imagine riding a motorbike fast around a winding road. A sports coach knows that trees are best avoided not by focusing on the trees, but by ignoring them and focusing 100% on the road ahead. A health professional would tell the rider to get off the bike and push while looking out for absolutely every tree that needs to be avoided.
To draw another analogy, a health professional is trained to help a drowning person return to the surface and float so they don’t die. That does not mean they know anything about teaching them to swim at the Olympics. Their competence is not even vaguely related to a performance. They understand nothing about how to achieve performance and, similarly, nothing about how bad training practices can destroy performance and cause injury.
And that is underscored by the stupidity of SpeedoFit and all other similar fitness activities. These are not just innocuous bits of fun to get people exercising. They are activities that train people to be very, very bad at the actual real activity; potentially to the point of injury.
Strengthening exercises in a pool are valid for rehabilitation. But if you don’t need rehabilitation then stick to performing water sports in the pool and keep everything else on dry land. Stay away from SpeedoFit.