How should a lifeguard train? We are going to analyze the methodology that is recommended to follow if we are looking to prepare for lifeguard tests or if we are already one. 

How should a lifeguard train?

In this article, we will analyze what parameters should be part of the training of a professional aquatic lifeguard training, especially those related to the development of physical condition and the most specific technical aspects of their profession.

The aquatic lifeguard

First responders play an important role in public safety. Their physical condition has a highly relevant direct impact on their ability to perform rescues efficiently, whether they work in aquatic facilities or natural aquatic spaces.

An adequate Physical Training Plan adapted to the needs of your profession and carrying out appropriate eating strategies will be essential for maintaining good physical condition.

Drowning Process

Before beginning to list the most relevant aspects of lifeguard training, it is important to detail how drowning by submersion occurs:

Physical condition of the aquatic lifeguard

The aquatic lifeguard, especially those working in natural aquatic spaces, is exposed to changing weather conditions day after day. Due to all this, the lifeguard must consider in their training a comprehensive development of all physical capabilities (Palacios, 2008). In addition, the lifeguard must adapt all aspects related to strength, speed and endurance to the demands of his profession.

Strength Training

Strength training will be essential since the lifeguard must swim medium distances at a high intensity and must also be able to mobilize drowning victims both inside (controls, turns, traction, grips) and out of the water (extractions and victims). The lifeguard’s training, within the force, will focus on Developing Dynamic Strength, being able to turn, pull and lift a victim.

Speed ​​Training

The aquatic lifeguard is not usually immersed in speed tasks, per se (explosive tasks of 5-10 seconds) That is, the shortest rescues carried out in natural aquatic spaces usually occur 30-40 meters from the shore. In addition, the lifeguard can cover a surveillance zone 100 meters wide, so said rescue could last an average of 50-60 seconds between the lifeguards running to the incident area, entering the water, swimming to the victim, controls and transfers it to the shore and extracts it to dry land.

Resistance training protocols in aquatic lifesaving

From a training point of view, water rescue (between 200-400 m) would be defined as a medium-duration resistance test (RDM) , such as the 400 m freestyle test in swimming or even the 200 m test if the swimmer’s performance is less than 2 minutes.

If we want to improve the aerobic capacity of the lifeguard, continuous and interval training at intensities close to VO2max will cause an increase in the ability to maintain high work intensities without entering a state of acidosis.

If we focus on an aerobic power zone, interval training at intensities of VO2 MAX or slightly higher stimulates aerobic and anaerobic metabolism to the maximum and has been shown to improve VO2 Max and anaerobic capacity simultaneously.

On the other hand, lactic anaerobic training aims to use anaerobic glycolysis as an energy supply route.

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