deep-water running

The fittest bodies don’t resist this unsung hero of training.

What do dancers, ball players, pregnant women and runners all have in common? They utilize the pool. Specifically, they take advantage of the cardio and cross-training benefits of deep water running. “Ballerinas, basketball players—I’ve had them all in my pool,” says deep water running coach and founder of Blue Ocean Swimming, Robert Valentin. 

Unlike shallow water running, where athletes run across the bottom of the pool, deep water running offers no impact whatsoever. In fact, you don’t even want to move from your initial starting spot. “With deep water running, the goal is to stay stationary,” explains Valentin. “Instead of mimicking land running motions in the water, in deep water running you run with a straight leg. You want your body to be really tall; your core should be tight, shoulders in line with your hips, knees relaxed and toes pointed like a ballerina,” says Valentin. “People naturally close their fists, but you want to keep them open. This allows you to get the most resistance possible.” 

A typical deep water running session consists of four gaits: a four-foot stride “power walk,” three-foot stride “run” (which simulates running on flat ground), a two-foot wide “uphill” and a one-foot wide “downhill” (quick flutter kicks). Think of your hip as the centerline: You’re trying to move your arms and feet past the centerline, forward and backward, depending on the stride length. Meaning, a two-foot stride would require moving your arms and legs two feet back and forth past your hip. 

Constantly fighting against the water’s resistance while trying to stay tall and increase your cadence during each gait is anything but easy. “Deep water running quickly reveals imbalances,” says Valentin. “Any weakness in your core, glutes, hamstrings or hips will translate to the pool. You’ll find yourself drifting forward, backward or from side to side.” To combat this, it’s essential to wear a flotation device, which helps keep you afloat, making it easier to maintain proper form. 


For runners in particular, “not only can you get your heart rate up just as much as on land, but the cooling effect of the water also helps you recover faster,” says Valentin. Fighting to keep good posture in the pool will also carry over to the concrete. “You’re fighting the resistance of the water, just imagine how that would benefit you when you’re up against air.” 

Below, Valentin shares a sample workout:

Warm Up:

1 minute power walk (count and maintain the same cadence every 15 seconds)

45 seconds flat run (count and maintain the same cadence every 15 seconds)

30 seconds uphill (count and increase the same cadence every 15 seconds)

15 seconds downhill (count and maintain the same cadence every 15 seconds)

Set #1:

Uphill 45 seconds x 15 seconds rest, repeated four times (increase each set’s cadence number by 2)

Repeat above set going downhill (1-foot strides, hands sideways, slicing past the hips)

Set #2:

1 minute flat run x 30 seconds uphill x 30 seconds downhill, repeated twice (hold a steady cadence on the 1-minute runs and get faster every 10 seconds on the 30-second run)

1 minute power walk recovery

Set #3:

50 seconds uphill (getting faster every 10 seconds) x 10 seconds rest, repeated three times

Cool Down:

Easy power walk

For full article by Brianna Wippman please visit


grip strength

It’s one of the strongest predictors of good health.

For years, there were a half dozen or so strong predictors of how likely someone might be to develop cardiovascular disease, including whether he or she carried weight in the midsection versus in the legs, if there was a family history, if he or she smoked, and the list, they say, goes on.

But relatively new-ish research suggests there’s one more pretty significant predictor that we shouldn’t overlook: grip strength. In a study published in the Lancet, researchers found that grip strength is a simple and powerful way to predict one’s risk of death and cardiovascular disease. (The study also showed that grip strength is an even stronger predictor of death than systemic blood pressure.) Physicians and researchers reason that if one’s grip strength is weak, it’s very likely other areas of the body—read: your heart—are weak, as well.

Which is not good news for most people including Millennials, who, according to a study published earlier this year in the Journal of Hand Therapy, have significantly weaker hand grips than their 1985 counterparts. (Participants for the study were under 30 years of age for men and between the ages of 20-24 for women.)

Like many conditions such as type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure, weak grip strength can be improved through simple and consistent exercise. “Grip strength goes beyond simply being able to hold a dumbbell for a longer set of reps,” explains Matt Delaney, a Tier X coach at Equinox’s Columbus Circle location. “Improving your grip strength can serious change your overall health for the better.”

Beefing up your grip strength is relatively easy, says Delaney. “You can easily incorporate strengthening exercises into your regular gym routine.” For example, Delaney recommends Farmer’s Walks or walking lunges with dumbbells or kettlebell swings to increase grip strength while exercising. Or, he adds, work it into everyday tasks. “The same tools you use in the gym, you can also mimic in real life. Carrying grocery bags to your car as opposed to using a shopping cart is similar to carrying dumbbells. Or, something as simple as carrying a laundry basket up and down the stairs can help bump up grip strength over time.”

Increasing grip strength can also significantly improve your workout intensity, adds Delaney. “When you have a stronger grip, you can hold onto a pull-up bar longer, which means you can crank out more pull-ups.” It also equates to being able to hold heavier weights during exercises like walking and static lunges or squats as well as Farmer’s Walks. “Grip strength is one of those small but often overlooked things that you can improve that can affect your health in major ways.”

For full article by Blake Miller please visit



Experts say it’s wiser to change now.

Despite good intentions (a cleaner diet, a commitment to strength-train), New Year’s resolutions are inherently flawed. Research shows as much: A study from the University of Scranton found that six months into the New Year, fewer than half of us are still on the track we set out on.

Yet the solution isn’t to stop goal-setting: That same study found that having a resolution made a person more likely to achieve success than those who didn’t bother with one.

It might just be that our timing is off. “January 1 is an arbitrary date,” says Damon Bayles, Psy.D., a New York-based clinical psychologist. “If you’re actually committed to your health, and you know that healthy behaviors get tossed to the wayside over the holiday season, why not start now?”

Introducing pre-resolutions: specific goals and plans you can put into action right now. They’ll propel you through the holiday season stronger, healthier, and happier— and that’s important. After all, between November and January, the average person gains about 1 pound. While that doesn’t sound like much, researchers say we usually don’t lose that pound. Holiday weight gain, then, is a major contributor to overall weight gain (and thus diseases risk, like diabetes, down the line).

So set your pre-resolution today and use this guide to stick to it all year long. 

1) Build Your Support System: Once you have a specific goal in mind, ID who you need around you in order to succeed. This might include fit friends, a registered dietitian, or a personal trainer, says Bayles. Start your research now and consider reaching out—you’ll beat the crowds and the stress that comes with them. Research from the International Health, Racquet, and Sportsclub Association finds the busiest time of the year at gyms is between January and March.

2) Consider Relapse The Rule: Falling off the bandwagon every so often isn’t the exception, it’s to be expected, says Bayles. Thinking you’re going to make it through the holiday season on a diet of smoothies is not setting you up for success. A better suggestion: Plan indulgences. Building them into your day helps you sidestep debilitating feelings of guilt, says Bayles.

If you’re faced with an out-of-nowhere challenge, use your past experiences to guide your decisions, he suggests. Maybe an a.m. run helped you beat stressful family gatherings last year; so wake up early for some cardio. “Really think, ‘What strategies could I employ to help me through this?’” he says. This kind of thinking, as well as the experiences and solutions you’ll gather throughout the season, will help you tackle issues throughout the year.

3) Find Time For Daily Zen: “After three months of daily mindfulness practice, some of the impacts can be increased concentration, increased attention, decreased anxiety, decreased stress, and increased immune system functioning,” says Bayles. Start now. No matter your goal, guided breathing exercises, classes (like Unplug Meditation), meditations apps like Headspace or Calm, and books can help you build a stronger mental framework to stay fit in the New Year. Don’t throw in the towel if things aren’t coming naturally. “This is muscle that needs to be grown,” says Bayles.

4) Reassess January 1: “Efficacy can get generated for individuals who are successful in this holiday time period,” says Bayles. After all, if you can be healthy throughout December, you can be healthy in January. So use the New Year not as a time to start a new goal but as a time to enter ‘phase 2’ of your original plan, he suggests. Ask yourself: How are you going to continue to manage your goal for the next few weeks and months? What will you do differently? What worked? What didn’t?

For original article by Cassie Shortsleeve please visit