Training Distance Runners in an Aquatic Environment

Presented By: Hugh Blocker, MS, ATC, Assistant Athletic Trainer – Men’s and Women’s Cross Country and Track & Field, Liberty University

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The advantages of aquatic therapy for rehab after an athletic injury are commonly understood, but increasingly the benefits of an aquatic environment are being utilized to train healthy athletes. As sports medicine and strength training professionals look for safe and challenging ways to improve both rehabilitation of injuries and athletic performance, water is moving to the forefront.  Hydrotherapy is becoming a widely used tool to enhance athletes’ performance, whether recovering from injury or healthy. 

In this webinar, presenter Hugh Blocker, Assistant Athletic Trainer for Men’s and Women’s Cross Country and Track & Field at Liberty University, will share the various ways that he uses aquatic training to improve the performance of his long distance runners. He will describe a typical aquatic-based training program and will share strategies used for several purposes including pulling out muscular imbalances, correcting gait mechanics, injury prevention and post-injury rehabilitation when necessary. To illustrate these strategies, Hugh will use pictures and short videos of specific exercise demonstrations.

Learning Objectives:

  • Utilize aquatic techniques to pull out muscle imbalances
  • Employ strategies to correct gait mechanics in the water
  • Apply specific aquatic exercises to enhance distance running performance


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Hugh Blocker is the assistant athletic trainer responsible for providing care and coverage for Men’s and Women’s Cross Country and Track & Field at Liberty University. Blocker returned to Liberty in September 2014 after spending the previous two years at The College of William and Mary.

Blocker is certified through the Board of Certification (BOC) and holds memberships with the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA), Mid-Atlantic Athletic Trainers’ Association (MAATA) and the Virginia Athletic Trainers’ Association (VATA).

Blocker had previously served as a Graduate Assistant at Liberty from 2009-2012, where he completed his M.S. in Sports Management and Administration.  Blocker completed his undergraduate work at Cedarville University (OH), earning a B.S. in Athletic Training.

He has been involved with the international sports ministry Athletes in Action since his time at Cedarville, having travelled on summer tours to Mexico and Guatemala with a multitude of teams. Blocker has also been member of the National Ski Patrol since 2003, currently volunteering on weekends at Wintergreen Resort when he is able.