Enhancing performance in professional water polo players: Dryland training, in-water training, and combined training

Document Type

Journal Article


National Strength and Conditioning Association


Faculty of Health, Engineering and Science


School of Exercise and Health Sciences




This article was originally published as: de Villarreal, E. S., Suarez-Arrones, L., Requena, B., Haff, G. G., & Veliz, R. R. (2015). Enhancing Performance in Professional Water Polo Players: Dryland Training, In-Water Training, and Combined Training. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 29(4), 1089-1097. Original article available here


We compared the effects of 6 weeks of dryland, in-water-specific strength training and plyometric training combined with a water polo (WP) training program on 7 sport-specific performance parameters. Thirty professional players were randomly assigned to 3 experimental groups: combined training (CG), in-water-specific strength (WSG), and plyometrics (PG). The program included 3 weekly strength training sessions and 5 days of WP training per week for a total of 6 weeks during the preseason. The 10-m T-agility test, 20-m maximal sprint swim, maximal dynamic strength (1 repetition maximum [1RM], bench press [BP] and full squat [FS]), in-water boost, countermovement jump (CMJ) and throwing speed (ThS) were measured before and after the 6-week training period. There were no significant differences between the groups for any of the tested variables before the initiation of the 6-week training period. After 6 weeks of training, significant improvements (p ≤ 0.001) were found in the PG group for the CMJ (6.1%) and in all groups for the in-water boost (4.4-5.1%) test. The 1RM BP (7.6-12.6%) and FS (11.5-14.6%) significantly (p ≤ 0.05) increased in all groups. Additionally, ThS significantly increased in all groups (11.4-17.5%), whereas the agility test was significantly decreased (-7.3%) in only the CG group. Combined, in-water-specific strength and plyometric training produced medium to large effects on most WP-specific performance parameters. Therefore, we propose preseason WP training should include a combined training program that contains dryland and in-water-specific strength and plyometric training to optimize the WP preparation for competition.