exercise has many benefits, including positive outcomes for those
of us who are comfortable in deep water and for those of us who
would rather have our feet touching solid ground. Deep water
exercise is good for the body and the mind, so perhaps it's time to
reconsider our "shallow tendencies."
Let's first discuss the types of exercise that can be performed
in deep water. Deep water environments provide a full range of
non-impact exercise challenges. Deep water is the perfect
environment to create a total body workout because a participant
can move freely in a three-dimensional space. Deep water exercises
can be performed with or without flotation equipment. Don't worry
if you prefer to use flotation devices during your workout; wearing
a flotation belt and/or flotation arm cuffs can substantially add
to the effectiveness of a deep water workout by allowing
participants to concentrate on muscle toning rather than on keeping
their heads above water. The safest alternatives for flotation
assistance in deep water consist of flotation devices that attach
to one's body, such as a belt, a vest or arm/ankle cuffs. Other
handheld alternatives are functionally appropriate to use, such as
flotation dumbbells, noodles or foam logs; however, some
participants who are hesitant about their swimming skills may
prefer to use flotation equipment that won't accidentally drift
away from them during the course of their exercise program. Deep
water exercise environments are ideal for circuit training,
interval training, and continuous aerobic training. Deep water is
most excellent for mind-body exercise programs because exercising
in deep water allows participants to focus on increased postural
awareness and body-alignment skills.
Let's next discuss the physical changes that occur in the body
as a result of deep water exercise. Core muscles strengthen nicely
over the course of consistent deep water training due to the
increased muscular action required to maintain "neutral buoyancy."
Neutral buoyancy is obtained when neither your upper torso nor your
lower limbs diverge from the straight line of your body when
suspended in the water. In order to maintain vertical alignment,
participants have to engage core muscles to prevent themselves from
"tipping" frontwards or backwards. Participants who consistently
perform deep water exercise also often experience a reduction in
low back pain. Two factors influence this phenomenon. The
first is that increased abdominal muscle strength helps to keep the
torso lifted and reduces strain on the low back. Participants who
perform consistent deep water exercise strengthen their abdominal
muscles over time and hence have greater control over maintaining a
lifted torso over longer time periods throughout the day.
Additionally, underwater suspension without a "floor" (a.k.a.
performing exercises without having your feet touch the pool
bottom) reduces spinal compression and tension. Deep water
programming is ideal for individuals who experience back strain;
however, always be sure to talk to your medical professional before
beginning a new exercise program to make sure that it will be safe
for your body.
Let's not forget that deep water exercise isn't for every person
and that a participant should never feel pressured into performing
exercises that don't support his or her comfort level, body, or
fitness goals. For instance, deep water exercise with a flotation
belt may not be recommended initially for participants who
experience respiratory discomfort. Some participants find that the
pressure of the flotation belt prohibits comfortable breathing
during deep water exercise. In such cases, participants might be
more comfortable in shallow water or might choose to wear arm or
ankle flotation cuffs. In general deep water exercise is
appropriate and beneficial for the majority of participants. If you
are concerned about your ability to participate in deep water
exercise programs, ask your medical health professional(s). Aquatic
fitness is about enjoyment, health, and safety. Always participate
in programming that feels right for you! That being said, make it a
point to try "new-to-you" avenues of aquatic programming and/or
other types of exercise programs; you just might find your new
favorite routine and style!
As potential hip surgery patients are made well aware,
post-surgical rehabilitation will require patience and dedication.
While your surgeon will provide you with the proper recommended
schedule of exercises to get you on the road to recovery, we've got
a few tips to help speed recovery from hip surgery, with your
doctor and physical therapist's approval, of course.
Did you know that exercising regularly before hip surgery may
actually aide you in your recovery? While your surgeon will surely
place emphasis on your post-surgical rehabilitation, to the extent
that you are able to be physically active prior to surgery, regular
pre-surgery exercise will give you a head start on your recovery
Stretch cord resistance training bands are useful as a
low-impact workout tool. Resistance bands will allow you to
maintain movement in the hips without too much weight and strain on
your already compromised joint. Regular exercise band workouts also
help strengthen the supporting muscles. Having these muscles
already in shape will get you back on your feet much sooner and
with less effort than not having them prepared for rehab.
Light water exercises are an ideal way to provide aerobic and
strengthening work while easing strain on your hips. Our
Strechcordz Kick Trainer is a resistance tool that can be used in
the water during your water training to stabilize the hips while
adding resistance to the legs and abs.
Exercising on a regular basis prior to your surgery will help
you establish a healthy routine and habit, which will be vital in
sticking to your post-surgical rehabilitation regimen.
Hip surgery patients understand they will face weeks of
post-surgical rehabilitation. There are ways you can help your body
recover faster from hip surgery. In addition to your doctor's
recommended/prescribed exercises, strength training with resistance
bands can help you speed your recovery time. When your
physical therapist and surgeon indicate you're ready for a little
more action, resistance band training workouts can work to enhance
your physical therapy.
Elastic exercise bands are beneficial during post-surgical
recovery workouts in that they offer low impact exercise. The use
of physical therapy exercise bands can be done at any time, on your
own schedule and even while in a sitting position. Our Modular
Bungie Cordz and Medicordz Kits are used by physical therapists and
their patients to help increase range of motion, increase
flexibility, strengthen supporting muscles and help to prevent
future injuries. Strengthening your supporting muscles safely is
key to traveling quickly on your road to recovery from hip
If your doctor has suggested hip flexor strengthening workouts,
the Strechcordz KickTrainer has been found to be helpful for a
low-impact hip flexor exercises. The Strechcordz resistance
training tools reduce your chances of injuring yourself during
exercise and can be used both in and out of the water.
As always, you'll want to check with your physical therapist and
surgeon before you attempt to implement any new exercises and
tools. Always follow a doctor's orders and consult with your health
care provider before you begin a new exercise
Resistance band training is a great way for swimmers to improve
power, stroke and medley times. Swimmers looking for swim training
aids will use both dryland and in-water resistance bands to improve their
If you are looking for resistance bands to assist with your swim
training and have questions contact the professionals at NZ
Manufacturing. We distribute both dryland and in-water
resistance bands which are used by both novice and professional
swimmers. Give us a call today, toll free at 800-886-6621 and
we would be happy to assist you with any of your resistance band
or Out - It Doesn't Matter
What is so unique about the water? We sometimes think of
how chlorine dries out our hair and skin or how indoor pools can
become humid and smelly. Even though these characteristics of the
aquatic environment are realities that we learn to accept and
modify, the water provides an optimal environment for direct,
positive impacts on the physiological and psychological functioning
of the submerged individual. Water immersion studies date back to
as early as 1938 and include two general categories, which
areface-in immersion(as in swimming) andface-out immersion(as in
vertical exercise). It is noteworthy thatface-in immersionis not a
pre-requisite to enjoying the physiological and psychological
benefits of the aquatic environment. For those of us who are
uncomfortable with submerging our heads or faces under the surface
of the water, there is no need to worry! The following advantages
are applicable to all water exercise participants regardless of
where individuals place their heads in relation to the surface of
the water. Participants experience:
These benefits and many more are waiting for all who choose to
take the plunge! Follow along with my blog to learn about aquatic
exercise, pool safety, and fitness equipment options endorsed by
AEA (Aquatic Exercise Association), which is the primary leader in
aquatic fitness research and practice. Until next time, stay cool
and go with the flow…the flow of the water that is!
The Water Woman
"As a professor emeritus of
biomechanics and kinesiology, I've always been interested in human
movement, and in particular, how it related to athletes. I started
working with athletes in the 70s while I was teaching at California
State University Fullerton, and in the late 80s, I decided
to open my own sports training company.
Because I focus on the biomechanics and kinesiology of human
movement, I'm able to work with any kind of athlete. I create a
specialized technique analysis for each individual. For example,
after watching a video of an athlete engaged in his or her sport, I
can analyze movements and look for ways to increase effectiveness
and efficiency. Then, I develop exercises that require the same
speed, motions and neuromuscular pathways to accurately duplicate
the movement (skill technique) the athlete needs to execute during
This training isn't about how strong you can get in a gym.
It's about how much better you get on the field. The exercises have
to be specialized and tailored to that particular athlete, and they
require the right kind of equipment. I created the design for
Active Cords to use with these specific exercises and collaborated
with NZ Manufacturing to develop them. With these cords, I can
duplicate the movements the athlete needs. I can't do that with
dumbbells or anything else in a gym. I need equipment that
generates resistance and allows me to use it in different
Initially, athletes might use the lightest resistance levels
to train. As they grow stronger, they move through the resistances.
Some even get to the highest resistances, which are the blue and
black levels. The cords can be used in various combinations because
they easily snap on and off, allowing me to get the exact
resistance I want for an athlete. There's nothing else like this in
the market. It makes workouts quicker, more specific and more
We've been working with NZ for nearly thirty years, nearly
as long as my company has been in business. Over the years, NZ has
modified the Active Cords to accommodate my specific needs. The
products work well and stand up to serious training. Regardless of
what the resistance level is, these athletes are pushing the cords
to the limit, and the cords hold up extremely well."
Editor's Note: Dr. Yessis is the president of Sports Training.
He is a professor emeritus of biomechanics and kinesiology at
California State University.
We're always thrilled to see our products being
used to create positive impacts. One of our customers, Willie
Caldwell, has been doing exactly that for the past 10 years. From
collegiate athlete to soldier to inventor, he has spent his life
giving his all to every endeavor he pursues. In his current
profession as a physical trainer he's improving the lives of
individuals with physical disabilities. Check out his story
"Mobility Fitness Institute began as Mobility Fitness
Studios nearly 10 years ago. It was mostly a spinal cord injury
recovery program at the time. Since then, we've expanded to work
with clients who have Parkinson's disease or cerebral palsy as well
as amputees and stroke survivors.
Because of the wide range of resistance levels offered by
MediCordz®, I can do serious strength training with clients, even
those who have lost considerable strength from disease, illness or
injury. If we get a person who just got out of the hospital and he
or she can only lift one pound, we can begin with the resistance
level. I've seen people go from the lightest to mid-range cords in
six months and perform their exercises better.
Using the cords is more effective for clients. It stimulates
the nervous system and muscles better than just lifting weights.
The cords provide tension throughout the movement - both coming in
and going out. While they're performing that motion, they're also
I approached Maureen years ago to create the cords in
certain sizes that would be compatible with a machine I developed.
It was designed to meet the needs of any of our clients. Someone in
a wheelchair or motorized scooter can use it just as easily as
someone standing. In fact, all of our strengthening machines use
the cords that NZ created for us.
At our facility, we work one-on-one with all of our 50
clients anywhere from one to five times a week. It's rewarding to
see people using something that I built with my hands, and for that
machine to be changing their lives. Sometimes we get clients who
have already been through physical therapy and haven't gotten the
results they want. They come here and see a whole new realm of
The durability and versatility provided by NZ's cords are
directly connected to our work. We don't push them to the limit,
but we get the resistance we need out of them. Everyone who comes
through the door uses the cords. They are the backbone of our
Editor's Note: Willie Caldwell is the founder, owner and
president of Mobility Fitness Institute. He has been working with
the disabled community as a certified personal trainer for the past
This year, NZ will celebrate its 29th anniversary in
business. While it isn't a typical milestone anniversary, staying
in the game for nearly 30 years is a pretty significant
accomplishment. Think about it, we survived '80s hair bands,
parachute pants, side ponytails and so much more. See what Maureen
Petrasko, President and CEO of NZ Manufacturing had to say about
the company during the Q&A session below.
Q. How did NZ begin? Who founded it and what
inspired them to do it?
A. Chris Hughes, a mechanical engineer for
Boeing and a master swimmer, founded the company in 1985 after he
noticed a need for resistance products for in-water training. As
time went on, swimmers began making recommendations about existing
products and suggesting possible new products, helping the line
evolve and grow. Chris saw opportunities for the new products in
other markets and expanded the lines to include MediCordz® and
Q. When did you first become involved with NZ?
A. I had just started a consulting
business, and Chris was one of my first clients. During the period
of time that we worked together, I was offered an opportunity to
acquire the company. I decided to go for it, and it turned out to
be a great decision and an even better adventure.
Q. What was one of NZ's greatest successes?
A. Fifteen years ago, we introduced the
Drag Belt Tow Tether, and that really took us by surprise. It was a
hit from the beginning, and it's still one of our Best Sellers in
the StrechCordz® line.
Q. Have the products changed much over the
A. Adding the Safety Cord to some of our
products about 15 to 20 years ago was a significant change. This
addition provided an extra element of safety to coaches and
Q. What are NZ's plans for 2014?
A. We started moving into other markets
last year like water aerobics and water fitness, and we found that
our products fit well in those markets. This year, we'll be looking
at adding more products that can be used for applications like
water-resisted walking or running.
Q. Why have you kept the products "Made in the
A. When you're working with athletes, you
want to be sure that you have high quality products that won't fail
on them. You lose some of that control over the product when you
Q. Can you describe a time when NZ overcame a challenge
and exceeded expectations?
A. Every Olympic year, we are inundated
with orders to fill. We make it a point to never back order
anything. Since we handle the entire process from manufacturing to
shipping at our headquarters in Tallmadge, we're able to live up to
Q. What has been most rewarding for you as the owner of
A. I can't name just one thing. I've
been able to go to amazing places and meet amazing people, from
Olympians to professional football players. But, it's really
rewarding to see everyday users take our products and use them to
accomplish a dream like swimming the English Channel. It's a
privilege to be a part of that, even if it's only in a small
NZ has big plans for 2014. We're jumping headlong into our
thirties by introducing new products, attending new conferences and
keeping our customers, our company and ourselves in great
"Dr. Nicholas Romanov, my father and the
founder of the Pose Method®, has been coaching athletes of all
levels since 1974. Whether he is working with
amateurs or Olympians, he uses the Pose Method® to optimize
The Pose Method® teaches athletes a key Pose or several key
Poses that are repeated throughout the movement. In essence, it's a
way to develop the proper form or technique to optimize movement
and avoid injury. Elastic bands are at the core of many exercises
in his books, and over the past 15 years, StrechCordz® have been
Dr. Romanov's resistance training tool of
I have been working alongside my father for many years now,
and I know he prefers to use StrechCordz for a few different
reasons. He likes the resistance they provide and their quality.
Both of these factors need to be considered as Dr. Romanov often
trains Olympic athletes. The tubing needs to provide adequate
resistance to be effective for that level of client, and it also
needs to offer consistent resistance over a period of extended
An important indication of quality is the durability of the
product. I can't remember one ever breaking on us. We've found that
other products made from cheaper materials tend to fall apart. It
becomes a very dangerous matter when an athlete is doing resistance
exercises and a tube snaps, so durability is a key
Dr. Romanov most commonly uses the StrechCordz with Leg Straps
because of the product's versatility. When teaching athletes the
Pose Method® for running, he places the straps around their ankles
and has them stand in the Running Pose. This requires them to stand
on one leg, the support leg. The other leg is in the figure four
position alongside the support leg. The tubes pull against their
legs, making them more keenly aware of their body positioning to
prevent them from overreaching and leaving the foot behind the
body, both very common technique errors in running.
He also uses the product during technique coaching for
swimmers. He puts the leg straps around their wrists to provide
resistance while they're practicing their strokes. This subtle
resistance helps promote optimal form while reinforcing proper
motor patterns as well as building their sport-specific
StrechCordz with Leg Straps provide athletes with just the
right amount of resistance to promote a certain level of awareness
that is conducive to their success in implementing the Pose
Editor's Note: Severin Romanov is the Chief Executive Officer of
Pose Method, Inc.
As a company, NZ Manufacturing is always looking for new ways to
address the needs of our existing customers and to broaden the
range of customers that we serve. Recently, we re-evaluated one of
the best sellers in the StrechCordz line, the Drag Belt Tow Tether.
Seeing the great demand from swimmers, coaches and trainers for the
product, we explored ways to reach others who might benefit from a
few minor alterations to the current chutes being
The result was a larger chute (30 in. /76 cm) for use during
in-water resisted walking and running. This additional size makes
the Drag Belt Tow Tether a useful tool for those participating in
aquatic fitness and rehabilitation programs. Beyond that, the
larger chutes also provide training advantages to triathletes and
lifeguards. Both groups need to pass through water that is too
shallow for swimming, and they need to do it quickly
Just as the 8-inch (20 cm), 12-inch (30 cm) and 16-inch (40 cm)
chutes increase endurance and strength in swimmers, the 30-inch
chute improves these same areas for users as well. Training with
the additional resistance provided by the larger chute will allow
triathletes and lifeguards to get through shallow water more
quickly and with less fatigue. This one tool simultaneously
addresses timing and endurance, two vital factors for the sport and
occupation that can determine overall success.
The larger, 30-inch (76 cm) chute for the Drag Belt Tow Tether
is in the process of being developed and will be released soon.
to see a video of a sample 30-inch chute in use. To learn more
about this new chute size and the Drag Belt Tow Tether, email email@example.com.
Click here to view all of the current chute
Editor's Note: The 30 in (76 cm) chute will be available
November 11 for purchase on www.nzmfg.com.
"True Athlete Performance has created a reputation in the
athletic training industry for working efficiently with large
groups and full teams for any court or field sport. In fact, this
summer we'll be working with 18 high school football teams
throughout the northern Virginia and southern Maryland
We primarily run preseason and offseason training clinics
where we teach athletes to move efficiently by focusing on drills
that improve running technique, first-step explosiveness, change of
direction and power.
Since 2009, we've been using NZ Manufacturing's TurfCordz®
products, including the padded waist belts and 8-foot safety cords,
for athletic training. The cords are perfect for large group
settings because they can be transferred easily from one athlete to
the next. We don't want to waste a lot of time standing around
because we want to keep the athletes moving throughout the session.
Because of their transferability, we can run a great training
session for a full team with as few as six cords.
The cords offer a different approach from other training
equipment such as sleds that require pushing and pulling but don't
focus on technique. TurfCordz not only provide the specific type of
resistance needed to improve technique, but they also keep a
consistent level of resistance throughout their length. They don't
tighten up in certain spots like other cords sometimes do.
From the athletes' perspective, it's an effective training
tool. When we're working with a team, we motivate athletes by
telling them that they'll be using cords in the next session. The
athletes know the workout with the cords will crush them and
they'll be exhausted at the end, but they also like to feel
themselves getting stronger and more powerful. Other equipment we
use involves jumping over objects or developing coordination in
other ways, but the only way to build power is to work against
resistance. That's exactly what TurfCordz offer.
A few of our drills using TurfCordz include resisted
running, where one athlete, wearing the belt connected to the cord,
attempts to run as a partner walks behind and provides resistance.
Another type of drill is when both athletes wear belts and are
connected by a cord. One holds his ground, while the other runs or
shuffles out five yards and controls his movements back to the
After we complete the athletic training of a team, we often
recommend the TurfCordz products we used during the sessions to the
coaches. We can't speak highly enough about the quality of the
equipment, and we know that the athletes will benefit as they
continue to work with the TurfCordz to improve their explosiveness
and develop power."
Editor's Note: Matt Diener is the Vice President of Operations
for True Athlete Performance and is a Certified Strength and
Conditioning Specialist. He has a background in basketball,
baseball and football, including playing as a defensive back on two
NCAA Division III National Championship Football teams at Mount
Union. See videos of True Athlete Performance training groups using