In this monthly series of articles, Mike will discuss the science and practice of physical training for Water Polo. Strength, flexibility, Water Polo science, rehab and other areas of interest with respect to the physical development of the Water Polo athlete will be covered.
Halos is a mobility drill for your shoulders that has been part of past articles I have written for Water Polo Planet.
This article is going to completely focus its attention on the Halos and highlight some variations of this relatively simple exercise that can be used to warm up, improve mobility and even strengthen the shoulders.
The name of the exercise originates from the path it takes around your head, like it is following the path of a Halo that is hovering above your head.
You can do this exercise with no external load or with a light weight (e.g. 15-25lbs). The movement takes your shoulder into common ranges of motion (ROM) that will be lacking in a lot of individuals particularly where the arm is close to the head.
This will be a typical problem area for many athletes.
Key points on performing Halos correctly is to stabilize the rest of the body while only the shoulders, mainly the Glenohumeral Joint and Scapulae, move to draw a Halo around your head. You neck should stay in a neutral position and not move. If someone is very restricted through the shoulders then you may see them moving the head and neck which may initially make it appear that they are doing the exercise well with good ROM. The rest of the body should also be very still. Excess movement else where in the body other then the shoulders indicates less then optimal shoulder mobility. With each revolution, regardless of direction, the upper arm should brush against your ear. Again, if shoulder mobility is lacking then this position may not be initially attainable. I highly recommend to not go into positions of pain.
Halos: notice upper arm brushing ear/side of head.
Variations in your stance can be used to challenge not only your mobility but also your stability. As an example, you can hold the split squat position and then perform Halos or even a deep squat which would be very challenging.
I hope this helps you on your quest to becoming a better Water Polo Coach and Athlete. If you have any questions, please post them on the forum.
[Click Mike Reid's name at top of page to learn more about his
strength training & conditioning experiences and his web sites.]