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Eccentric isometric lower body workout for divers

It is important for divers to maintain lower body strength during this time away from the pool.

Our lower body is responsible for a significant amount of the power generated in the take off part of a dive, whether this be on springboard or platform and on a standing or hurdle/platform run take off.

What are eccentric isometric exercises?

Eccentric isometrics are a lifting technique involving a slow negative portion of a lift, followed by an isometric hold in a stretched position, and then finished with a fast concentric movement.

City of Leeds Diving Club coach Aston Queeley has provided three levels of eccentric isometric lower body conditioning workouts to help maintain your strength.

Warm up

You should never start a workout before warming your muscles up properly.

Before these eccentric isometric workouts, try some forward, sideways and reverse lunges, performing five on each leg, and two sets of each type of lunge.

Remember to keep a tall back, your chin neutral, and perform steady, controlled lunges.

Choose your level of workout

You can find instructions and videos for three levels of eccentric isometric lower conditioning workouts below.

Start with level 1, watch Aston’s video, then give it a go at home. Once you are comfortable with the level 1 workout, then progress to the next level.

This kind of workout is challenging and shouldn’t be undertaken every day. It is important during this time to work all the different parts of the body as well as ensuring your body has time to rest.

Eccentric isometric lower body conditioning – Level One

Perform three sets of each exercise, with a short break in between each set, before moving on to the next exercise. Then repeat the full programme another three times.

Watch the video below for examples of how to do each exercise.

  • ½ Squat – Slow Down with 3 Sec Pause; 15 reps
    Ensure feet are hip width apart. Place your hands on your hips. Keep chin neutral and looking forward not up or down. Lower and raise with control and ensure your back is kept flat. To make harder try with your hands above your head.
  • Wall Sit – 30 secs
    Keep your back flat against wall and your knees at a right angle with feet hip width apart.
  • Ankle Lowers – 3 secs down/fast up; 20 reps
    Make sure you do this exercise on a raised surface such as a bottom step. Focus on having good posture with your hips turned under and chest in. Keep your knees locked out.
  • Sitting Pike Leg Lifts – 10 sec hold/10 pulses; 10 reps
    Keep a flat back with your chin in a neutral position. Legs locked out with straight knees and toes pointed. Align hands next to knees. Paced controlled pulses.

Eccentric isometric lower body conditioning – Level Two

Perform three sets of each exercise, with a short break in between each set, before moving on to the next exercise. Then repeat the full programme another three times.

Watch the video below for examples of how to do each exercise.

  • Full Squat – 5 sec down/fast up; 10 reps
    Ensure feet are hip width apart. Place your hands on your hips. Keep chin neutral and looking forward not up or down. Lower and raise with control and ensure your back is kept flat.
  • Wall Sit – Heels Raised; 30 seconds
    Keep your back flat against wall and your knees at a right angle with feet hip width apart. Ankles should be fully raised.
  • Single leg Ankle Lowers – fast up on 3 seconds down; 10 reps per leg
    Make sure you do this exercise on a raised surface such as a bottom step. Focus on having good posture with your hips turned under and chest in. Keep your knees locked out.
  • Sitting Straddle Single Leg; 10 seconds hold or 10 pulses
    Keep a flat back with your chin in a neutral position. Legs locked out with straight knees and toes pointed. Straight back with hands place either side of knee. Full leg line.

Eccentric isometric lower body conditioning – Level Three

Perform three sets of each exercise, with a short break in between each set, before moving on to the next exercise. Then repeat the full programme another three times.

Watch the video below for examples of how to do each exercise.

  • Full Squat – 5 sec down/Fast up > Jump; eight reps
    Ensure feet are hip width apart. Place your hands on your hips. Keep chin neutral and looking forward not up or down. Lower and raise with control and ensure your back is kept flat. Toes pointed out of jump.
  • Wall Sit – Ankle up/downs; 30 seconds
    Keep your back flat against wall and your knees at a right angle with feet hip width apart. Slow controlled movement in ankles keeping locked together.
  • Ankle Lowers – Single Leg. Fast up/3 sec lower; eight reps per leg
    Make sure you do this exercise on a raised surface such as a bottom step. Focus on having good posture with your hips turned under and chest in. Keep your knees locked out.
  • Sitting Straddle – Both legs; 10 seconds hold or 10 pulses
    Keep back straight as possible. Place hand in the middle just short of knees. Lift toes up keeping complete leg tension. Legs shouldn’t turn inwards.
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