Dean Benton’s water-based training module

Dean Benton, former national head of athletic performance at Rugby Australia, presents this programming module which explains both the theory and practice of water-based training, including sample programs and an exercise database.

This module is available to HMMR Plus members and for individual purchase in the HMMR Store. If you are having trouble accessing please contact us for support.

Topics Covered

Understanding water-based training
  • Background and concepts
  • Methods
  • Equipment
  • Planning and programming
Applying water-based training
  • Sample program: novice
  • Sample program: intermediate
  • Sample program: mid-stage return to play
  • Sample program: 2-3 days post-injury
Exercise database
  • Exercise video library
  • Exercise prescription recommendations

Background and concepts

Water-based training has been used extensively for many years in the preparation for athletes. This may be for:

  • Conditioning – to supplement training that cannot be completed in traditional sense due to injury, disability or severe environmental conditions (heat or cold);
  • Rehabilitation returning from injury – the use of water to progressively reload soft tissue or joint injuries;
  • Reconditioning returning from injury – as a modality restore physiological qualities back to pre-injury levels; or
  • Recovery from training and competition – to elicit mild aerobic stress and the use of water’s hydrostatic pressure properties for active recovery.

Water-based training is a very effective modality to bridge gaps in an athlete’s training programme that cannot be filled with orthodox running modalities due short-term injury, a compromised joint or permanent disability. The unique benefits it provides include:

  • The ability to simulate speed, power and endurance that may not be possible, or functional with other modalities due to circumstances
  • Allows athletes to supplement their broader training program, which otherwise would potentially see their long-term performances compromised
  • Overweight individuals can undertake a rigorous program in a safe, friendly environment without fear of social comments or stares
  • Reduced impact on the musculoskeletal system
  • Water has a massaging effect, which assists with recovery
  • Water Based Training enables athletes remotely to maintain their training program wherever a pool is available


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