The Underwater Torpedo League—currently eight teams large—is based on the West Coast, but ad hoc games are popping up across the U.S. Newbies will need high baseline fitness, including sport-specific prep. But this demanding pool routine, created by Hall, is effective for anyone looking to level up their fitness. Try it once a week, and unless you’re a strong swimmer, do it under the watchful eye of a lifeguard.
BUILD LUNG CAPACITY: FREESTYLE BREATHING LADDER
Perform 2 rounds of the following, with a 30-second rest between rounds: 100-meter freestyle swim, breathing every 2 strokes for the first 25 meters, 4 strokes for the second 25 meters, 6 strokes for the third 25 meters, and 8 strokes for the last 25 meters. Focus on efficiency, using a relaxed and methodical stroke rate the whole time. As you get stronger and more comfortable, add more rounds, up to 5 at a time.
FOR EXPLOSIVE POWER: BURPEE BOTTOM OUT
Stand at the edge of pool’s deep end. Step into water, body forming a straight line, to sink to bottom of pool. Land in a squat and touch hands to bottom. Push off hard through feet to propel to surface as quickly as possible. Climb out of pool and repeat for 9 reps. As you get stronger, add reps until you reach 20.
STRENGTHEN UPPER BODY: GUTTER-UPS
Jump into deep end, then paddle to side and grip pool edge. Maintaining grip, take a deep breath, and go under water, locking out arms so body is parallel to pool wall. In a swift movement, pull chin up to the ledge, then hoist torso out of water like you’re getting out of the pool—hands on the pool deck, arms locked out, shoulders over hands, belly touching pool edge. Gently lower into the water for 1 rep. Repeat up to 30 reps total or until fatigued.
IMPROVE VO2 MAX: UNDERWATER DUMBBELL CARRY
Drop a heavy (30 to 50 pound) dumbbell into deep end of the pool. Take a huge breath, inhaling through mouth, then continue to inhale through nose to open the diaphragm and fill entire chest. Step into water, toes pointed, sweeping arms above head to propel to bottom of pool, and grab dumbbell. Lean forward and walk along pool bottom for as long as you can (as shown). Release air little by little to extend time underwater, and drop dumbbell and surface when necessary. Rest up to 5 minutes and repeat. Start with 2 reps, building up to 4 reps. On the last rep, walk dumbbell to shallow end to remove from pool. ■