Why this Champion Shadowboxes Underwater
"My muscles feel better than they did before" is not what you expect a boxer to say after a vigorous workout. In this case, Shakeel Phinn, the current IBF and NABF North American middle-weight champion, is talking about his aquatic workout in an Endless Pools® installation.
"Joints that were great before won't hurt after the workout that I do in the pool," Phinn attests. As his trainer, Chris Pommier, puts it, "You're not using weights, but it's kind of powerlifting, especially on certain moves.
"We did plyometrics, jumps in the water, and you can tell he's working hard, because you have to fight against the current. You have to be powerful for one minute, one minute thirty," Pommier explains. "It is challenging, 100 percent."
"We've been training for a little more than two years," Phinn adds. When we spoke, they were counting on their Endless Pools training to help give Phinn the edge for his first international fight.
Their Endless Pools Workouts
Of athletes who do not add aquatic workouts to their routines, Pommier says, "They're missing a big part because the water resistance, it's not a weight, it's just resistance. It's really just for the joints. This is just my opinion," he qualifies, "this is the best add-on I can put on my athlete's training right now."
Phinn agrees: "I don't feel it on my joints that much" even when Pommier has him doing "a lot of explosive moves: jumping against the current, a lot of standing, stability stuff, core workouts. I'm standing on one leg, but I have to make sure my body doesn’t move because the current in the pool is so strong. That works on my core and stability. It's really been helping a lot.
"Last week when we did it, I had a sparring session the next day, and I thought I'd feel a little tired; I wasn't sure how I was going to feel, but I felt excellent. It's a great feeling." Research backs this up: Australian sports scientists found that "a swimming-based recovery session enhanced following-day exercise performance, possibly due to the hydrostatic properties of water and its associated influence on inflammation."
More than Just Boxing
Pommier believes that his Endless Pools workouts can help his regular client base too. "Everyone that's tried it really loved it," he reports, but that doesn't mean that he lets every client try it. "They have to be ready for it. They have to be working out properly first, and after they have the fundamentals, OK, let's add the pool."
For one client, Pommier says, "Every week, once a week, we're doing a pool session because he's working to do a triathlon. He's feeling great.
"I'm doing a pregnant woman's program in the pool. You use the water to feel a little bit lighter," he notes. "The current is really low, but they still feel the current pushing … You're working a lot of core, a lot of glutes, and the joints are pretty safe with that." According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, aquatic workouts offer many benefits to healthy women with normal pregnancies.
Another of Pommier's clients is the owner of Spracklin Performance, Kenny Spracklin. He's using the Endless Pools current as part of his preparation for a planned record-breaking swim of all five Great Lakes in 2020.
For these and his other clients, Pommier plans on continuing their Endless Pools training. "We're going to continue to use it. I think it's adding to the training. The recipe works, why change the recipe?"