KAATSU Aqua Guidelines for Coaches and Athletes

  1. What is KAATSU Aqua?
  • KAATSU Aqua enables KAATSU exercise to be conducted in the water using the standard KAATSU protocols and is based on the same principles for dryland KAATSU.  KAATSU is not occlusion training or tourniquet training.

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  1. KAATSU Aqua Equipment and Band Sizes
  • The KAATSU Aqua Bands come in 3 different sizes: Small, Medium, Large
  • The KAATSU Aqua Bands come in 2 different types: Arms and Legs.
  • The Arm Aqua Bands are thinner and shorter than the Leg Aqua Bands.
  • In order to set the proper pressure for the KAATSU Aqua Bands, a KAATSU Air Bladder and a KAATSU Nano (or KAATSU Master) are necessary.
  1. KAATSU Aqua Pressure
  • First identify the User’s proper Base SKU value and the Optimal SKU value on either the KAATSU Nano (or KAATSU Nano).
  • Use this same Optimal SKU value on the KAATSU Aqua Bands.
  • Use the KAATSU Air Bladder to find the equivalent KAATSU Air Band pressure on the KAATSU Aqua Bands.
  • As the first step, place the KAATSU Air Bladder inside the KAATSU Aqua Bands.
  • Connect the KAATSU Air Bladder to the translucent Connector that is attached to either the KAATSU Nano (or the KAATSU Master)
  • Manually tighten the KAATSU Aqua Bands to the User’s Optimal SKU value.
  • Mark the Optimal SKU value tightness with the Yellow Marker.
  • The Yellow Marker will indicate the Optimal SKU value for the User in the water.
  • Most Users prefer to use a slightly less Optimal SKU value in the water compared to their Optimal SKU value on land.  This is perfectly acceptable.
  • Fatigue may come sooner in the water with the KAATSU Aqua Bands on compared to fatigue with the KAATSU Air Bands on land.

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  1. Key Points
  • Start off conservatively. That is, apply less pressure on the KAATSU Aqua Bands than the Optimal SKU on the KAATSU Air Bands, especially for the first few KAATSU Aqua sessions.
  • After the third session, Users can start to increase their KAATSU Aqua Bands to tighter pressures.
  • Do KAATSU Aqua Training at the end of the User’s workouts.
  • Limit KAATSU Aqua Training to 15 minutes per workout on the arms or 20 minutes per workout on the legs.
  • Less than 10 minutes per workout of KAATSU Aqua Training are most reasonable over the long term.
  • Users can do KAATSU Aqua Training every day, but 3-4 times per week is probably ideal.
  • Always remember: Coloration and Pulsation. That is, KAATSU is not occlusion training or tourniquet training.  Blood flow must always be maintained to the limbs and KAATSU Aqua Bands must not be used as tourniquets.
  • Users and coaches must always conduct a visual check of the User’s limbs so pinkness (or redness) always appears in the User’s palms and fingers (or on their legs and feet.
  • Users should always feel a pulsation under the KAATSU Aqua Bands.
  • Users never want any type of whiteness in their limbs while doing KAATSU.
  • Do not rest more than 20 seconds between each swim, although Users may need to release the pressure of the KAATSU Aqua Bands between sets.
  • Users should learn how to properly place the KAATSU Aqua Bands on their upper arms and upper legs.
  • Alternatively use KAATSU Aqua Leg Bands and Arm Bands in workouts.  Never use the Leg Bands and Arm Bands together at the same time.
  • Use KAATSU Air Bands for dryland training no more than 3 times per week.
  • KAATSU Aqua Bands can be used with hand paddles, pull buoys and fins.

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  1. Going to Failure
  • The most important goal for KAATSU users is to ‘go to failure’ while doing KAATSU.
  • Users should swim short distances (25 – 50 yards) until the User’s stroke technique becomes poor or they cannot stand the discomfort of lactate build-up.
  1. KAATSU Aqua Swimming Workout Examples
  • KAATSU Aqua Workout #1a (with arms bands) or #1b (with leg bands):
    ~ 4 x 50 with “light pressure” KAATSU
    ~ 4 x 50 with “medium pressure” KAATSU
    ~ 8 x 25 with optimal pressure KAATSU
    ~ 8 x 25 with optimal pressure KAATSU and hand paddles (for arms) or fins (for legs) KAATSU Aqua Workout #2a (with arms bands) or #2b (with leg bands)
    ~ 3 x 100 with “light pressure” KAATSU
    ~ 5 x race starts with “medium pressure” KAATSU
    ~ 16 x 25 with optimal pressure KAATSU, 4 of each stroke
  • KAATSU Aqua Workout #3a (with arms bands) or #3b (with leg bands)
    ~ 200 with “light pressure” KAATSU
    ~ 2 x 100 with “medium pressure” KAATSU with hand paddles (for arms) or fins (for legs)
    ~ 12 x race-pace breakouts, 4 of each stroke with optimal pressure KAATSU
    ~ Vertical kicking to failure
  • KAATSU Aqua Workout #4a (with arms bands) or #4b (with leg bands)
    ~ 8 x 50 stroke drills with “light pressure” KAATSU
    ~ 8 x 50 easy-hard with “medium pressure” KAATSU
    ~ 8 x 25 all-out with optimal pressure KAATSU
    ~ Vertical kicking to failure

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KAATSU and KAATSU Aqua were recently featured in the July 2015 issue of the Open Water Swimming Magazine, which is published monthly by WOWSA, the World Open Water Swimming Association.

Click here to download a complimentary copy of the special feature, and learn why Roy Burch, a world class swimmer from Bermuda, decided to use KAATSU.

  1. KAATSU Aqua Water Polo Workout Examples
  • 21 different types of KAATSU Aqua exercises can help improve the User’s speed, stamina, agility, reaction time, eggbeater vertical height and flexibility:
  • For shooting (Arm Bands for field players)
    ~ KAATSU Aqua Workout #5: Shoot with accuracy and intensity.  The athletes may not be able to shoot more than 10 times as failure will quickly be reached.  When failure is reached, remove Aqua Bands and continue shooting if time permits.
  • For passing (Arm Bands for field players)
    ~ KAATSU Aqua Workout #6: Pass with accuracy.  Start passing 3-5 meters apart and then increase distance until failure is reached.  If time permits, pass with non-dominant arm too.
  • For shooting (Leg Bands for field players)
    ~ KAATSU Aqua Workout #7: Shoot with accuracy and intensity.
  • For passing (Leg Bands for field players)
    ~ KAATSU Aqua Workout #8: Pass with accuracy.  Start passing 3-5 meters apart and then increase distance until failure is reached.  If time permits, pass with non-dominant arm too.
  • For eggbeater vertical height and strength (Leg Bands for field players)
    ~ KAATSU Aqua Workout #9: (a) Eggbeater for 10 seconds with hands down in water followed by 10 seconds with hands out of the water followed by 10 seconds with elbows out of the water. (b) Rest 20 seconds and eggbeater for maximum vertical height 3 – 5 times or until failure is reached.
    ~ Repeat set as possible.  This will be difficult in the beginning and especially at Optimal pressure.
    ~ KAATSU Aqua Workout #10: Have 2 athletes (of nearly equal strength) push against one another for 10 seconds, rest for 10 seconds, repeat.
    ~ KAATSU Aqua Workout #11: have 2 athletes pass under heavy defensive pressure by egg-beatering up and then passing.
  • For eggbeater lateral movement (for goalies)
    ~ KAATSU Aqua Workout #12: Eggbeater in cage and alternate moving quickly to left side of cage and then right side of cage.  Repeat until failure is reached.
  • For swimming speed and stamina (Arm Bands for field players)
    ~ KAATSU Aqua Workout #13: 8 x 25 sprints @ 30 second interval with push off the wall.
    ~ KAATSU Aqua Workout #14: 8 x 25 sprints head-up with no push off the wall @ 30 second interval.
    ~ KAATSU Aqua Workout #15: 9 x 25 alternate butterfly, backstroke and freestyle @ 30-40 second interval.
  • For swimming speed and stamina (Leg Bands for field players)
    KAATSU Aqua Workout #16: 4 x 25 sprints @ 30 second interval with push off the wall.  Eggbeater during rest period.  Ask athletes to kick hard.  Repeat if possible.
    ~ KAATSU Aqua Workout #17: 8 x 25 sprints head-up with no push off the wall @ 40 second interval.  Ask athletes to kick hard.  Repeat if possible.
    ~ Vertical kicking to failure (3 sets)
  • For lateral movement and explosiveness (Leg Bands for field players)
    ~
    KAATSU Aqua Workout #18: Start in middle of pool.  Swim 5 quick strokes forward, pivot 180° and return to start position with 5 strokes.  Rest 10 seconds and repeat until failure.
    ~ KAATSU Aqua Workout #19: Start in middle of pool.  Swim 5 quick strokes forward, pivot 90° right and swim 5 strokes.  Rest 10 seconds and repeat by swimming 5 quick strokes forward, pivot 90° left and swim 5 strokes.  Repeat until failure.
    ~ Vertical kicking to failure (3 sets)
  • For lateral movement and explosiveness (Arm Bands for field players)
    ~
    KAATSU Aqua Workout #20: Start in middle of pool.  Swim 5 quick strokes forward, pivot 180° and return to start position with 5 strokes.  Rest 10 seconds and repeat until failure.
    ~ KAATSU Aqua Workout #21: Start in middle of pool.  Swim 5 quick strokes forward, pivot 90° right and swim 5 strokes.  Rest 10 seconds and repeat by swimming 5 quick strokes forward, pivot 90° left and swim 5 strokes.  Repeat until failure.
  • For leg recovery (Leg Bands for any post-workout athletes)
    ~ KAATSU Aqua Workout #22: Walk 8 lengths of pool in waist-high water.  Bring knees as close to surface as possible.  Rest and then jog if possible.  Rest when necessary.
    ~ KAATSU Aqua Workout #23: Stretch in the water by stretching calves, quadriceps and hamstrings against the wall.
  • For arm recovery (Arm Bands for any post-workout athletes)
    ~ KAATSU Aqua Workout #24: Scull back and forward with or without hand paddles in waist-high water.  30 seconds on followed by 20 seconds rest.  20 seconds sculling followed by 10 seconds rest.  10 seconds sculling and rest.
  • For core strengthening (Leg Bands for all athletes)
    KAATSU Aqua Workout #25: Tread water in deep part of pool.  Stretch both arms out to the side.  Keep legs straight (i.e., no knee bend).  Keeping the hands and arms outstretched to the side, bring both feet and legs forward up to the surface of the water without bending the knees.  Then keep both arms stretched out to the side and move both feet and legs back until the feet are positioned behind.  Repeat as possible.
    (Note: This is extremely difficult.)
    ~ KAATSU Aqua Workout #26: Tread water in deep part of pool.  Stretch both arms out to the side.  Keep legs straight (i.e., no knee bend).  Keeping the hands and arms outstretched to the side, bring both feet and legs up to the surface of the water on the left side of the body without bending the knees.  Then keep both arms stretched out to the side and move both feet and legs to the right side until the feet are positioned on the right side of the body.  Repeat as possible.
    (Note: This is extremely difficult.)
  1. KAATSU Aquarobics Examples (for individuals of all ages & abilities)
  • KAATSU Aquarobics Workout #27 (with Leg Bands on): Walk in shallow water, bringing knees as high up as possible.  Start off slowly and gradually increase the pace.
  • KAATSU Aquarobics Workout #28 (with Leg Bands on): Hold onto wall with both arms outstretched and back facing wall.  Bring knees up to chest and repeat. Then bring legs without bending the knees up to the surface of the water.  Repeat as many times as possible.
  • KAATSU Aquarobics Workout #29 (with Arm Bands on): Pass a ball back and forth with a teammate in shallow or shoulder-high water.
  • KAATSU Aquarobics Workout #30 (with Arm Bands on): Stand in shoulder-high water and move both hands in the water back and forth for a few minutes.
  • Vertical kicking, eggbeater or treading water to failure (1 – 3 sets)

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  1. KAATSU Cycle (with the KAATSU Master or KAATSU Nano)
  • Do the KAATSU FULL CYCLE with a mild pressure (i.e., lower than Optimal SKU) before a game, competition or race as a form of warm-up.
  • Do the KAATSU FULL CYCLE with Optimal SKU after a game, competition or race as a form of recovery.
  • The KAATSU Cycle is a series of Pressure On – Pressure Off.
  • The FULL CYCLE is 8 cycles.  The HALF CYCLE is 4 cycles.
  • Pressure on continues for 20 seconds.  Pressure Off continues for 5 seconds.
  • If an athlete is recovering from injuries, the KAATSU FULL CYCLE can be extended to 1 minute of Pressure On followed by 20 seconds of Pressure Off for 5 – 6 cycles.  Please consult with your KAATSU Specialist for more information.
  1. KAATSU Care
  • KAATSU Aqua Bands should be laid out flat or hung out to air dry.
  • KAATSU Aqua Bands do not need to be machine washed.
  • KAATSU Air Bands can be wiped clean with a damp cloth.
  • The KAATSU Master and KAATSU Nano should not be immersed in or sprinkled with water.
  1. KAATSU Aqua Band Positioning
  • Position the KAATSU Aqua Bands as high up on the arms and legs as possible.
  • Place the buckle on the outer (harder) part of the arms and legs so the KAATSU Aqua Bands do not chafe the softer skin on the inside of the arms and legs.