Active Health Blog

Water Polo: Throwing mechanics and associated injuries

By Asha Read

Water Polo is a pool-based sport, with a combination of swimming, throwing, and physicality. Water Polo was the first team-based Olympic sport – introduced in 1900 for men, and 2000 for women. It has re-emerged post-earthquake in Christchurch as a result of an increase in pool space and young athlete interest.

Due to the physical nature of the sport, it is important for an athlete to have a balance between strength, mobility, and agility, especially in the shoulder joint. There is a high, repetitive demand on the shoulder in both swimming and throwing, which makes it a common injury area for these athletes. Therefore, the coach’s role in technique development is key, and there are some important considerations regarding early specialisation.

Throwing Mechanics

There are 4 Phases of a Water Polo throw:

1.Wind up: combined with the Cocking phase, makes up 80% of the throw. It establishes the rhythm of the throw, and allows for power to develop from the lower half of the body.

2.Cocking: positions the legs, trunk, and shoulder to allow for full contribution to ball propulsion. Repetitive positioning (especially in the extremes) can result in shoulder laxity.

3.Acceleration: very explosive with high demand on the stabilising muscles of the shoulder. If these stabilising muscles are weak, it can result in poor technique and shoulder pain.

4.Deceleration: contraction of the shoulder stabilisers slows down the throw. Trunk position is also important in this phase to reduce the load on the shoulder.

It is important for your coach to pick up any bad throwing habits, such as poor body positioning, to prevent any overuse injuries from occurring. There are also a range of potential contributing factors such as thoracic mobility, poor scapular coordination, and muscle imbalances that can affect an athlete’s ability to throw efficiently. In saying this, an athlete’s adaptations to a sport may allow them to perform better in a task, injury-free – it is all dependent on the person.

If you are having any issues with these, Active Health physiotherapists can assess and treat any of these problems, or any others that may arise as a result of sport. If you had any further questions, feel free to get in touch.

Phone: (03) 383 6290

In clinic (once the lockdown is over):
– 545 Manchester Street, St Albans, Christchurch
– 15 Durham Street, Rangiora, North Canterbury
– 105 Thomas Road, Huntington, Hamilton
+ other locations listed on the website.

Workout of the Week – Cardio

New workout for this week – Cardio 😊

  • Go for 20 reps each leg
  • Exercises using 2 legs go for 40 reps (20 each side)
  • Try 2-3 rounds, or 4-5 if you need more!

Use, share, enjoy!

Pelvic Health Online Classes with Susan Larson

What is it? A physiotherapist-led education, and beginner through intermediate level mat based exercise class for women to improve pelvic health knowledge and strength, concentrating on the pelvic floor and abdominals.

Who is it for? Any woman over 18yrs old who would like to improve the strength and function of her pelvic floor and core in a safe guided environment. This class will build knowledge and strength to enable the flow after this class into community-based fitness or exercise classes, including Yoga and Pilates. Women with conditions such as ongoing back pain or bladder leakage during coughing or exercise (stress incontinence) will find this class especially helpful, as will women during and following menopause years, or following childbirth.

Max 10 participants.

Who is not appropriate? Women who have pelvic pain conditions, are within 6 weeks of childbirth or pelvic surgery, or in the last trimester of pregnancy.

Who is the instructor? Susan is a physiotherapist with Active Health who has advanced training and skills in Pelvic Health Physiotherapy.

When is it? Starting on Wednesday April 29th at 12.30pm, live online 45min classes will be held via Zoom Meetings weekly for 6 weeks, and all participants will receive access to an online recording of the class to enable a second session each week. There will be time available after the class for Q&As. If a live class is missed, participants will be emailed the recording for the class they missed.

All participants must attend an individual 45min Telehealth Pre-Class Physio Assessment prior to attending the class, unless they have visited Susan previously for Pelvic Health Physiotherapy.

How much is it? $120 for a 6-week course of classes, plus $75 for the Pre-Class Physio Assessment.

How do I book? Please call Active Health Canterbury on (03) 383 6290.

Training during Isolation – How does it work for me?

How should I train during isolation? 
Cameron Andrews (Physiotherapist at Active Health Canterbury)

There is a lot of information going around on social media about the best home workouts & home workout plans, so I have put together some thoughts about how we can optimise our training during a period of inactivity, injury or otherwise lack of equipment 

For a lot of us, we won’t be able to maintain our usual training loads, which is very disheartening when we have worked months (or years!) to create adaption and gains for our sport or goals. 

The first thing we need to do is ask ourselves why we are training – having some clear-cut goals & direction will be essential to putting together a sustainable routine. For the athletes amongst us we are wanting to maintain (or make) as much progress as possible and set ourselves up in a position that we can make a quick return to normal training. For others (with less defined goals) we may just want the novelty of movement to help break up the monotony of inactivity.    

Regardless, we want to find things to do that will give us long term benefits, below there are a few ways in which we can accomplish this. 

1:Increase our variability – variability is the opposite of specificity (duh) and it is often something that is lost as we become more focused on a single sport or activity. Whenever we train or create a program, we need to consider the link between these two factors and how they interlink. Naturally the body will adapt to the specific activities we do, and as a result we lose “options” for movement. You could call these imbalances, but I prefer to think of it as sport specific adaptation (as these adaptations do make us better & more proficient for our specific task). 

Adding variability needs to be individualised depending on your current training history. A simple example would be changing a sagittal plane movement (front/back) like a squat, to a fontal plane movement (side to side) like a lateral lunge or step up.  

2:Tissue specific exercises for current (or past injuries) – it is well known that a very important risk factor for injury is previous injuries. Now is the perfect time to build some comprehensive capacity to these at-risk areas (no more excuses for pulling your hamstring or calf when you return onto the field!). This is a key area for your physio to come in and help you find ways to comprehensively rehab a troubled area. 

3:Build work capacity– work capacity dictates how much “work” (our training stimulus) we can perform, recover and adapt positively to. A high work capacity will enable a higher training stimulus, which will ultimately lead to more gains (during a taper). Building work capacity is often an essential part of an effective offseason training, to enable a more successful peak. 

We can increase our work capacity by simply adding more total volume (this doesn’t necessarily have to be recoverable volume)- by means of adding reps, sets, frequency or decreasing rest (to name a few). 


Leading from these 3 points, we also need to consider how we can progress our training. If we are doing a different training program every day, then we won’t be able to create progressive overload or monitor and modify our training stimulus. For this reason, I think it is still valuable to have a consistent program & training routine in place.  

In summary I think applying these three concepts to our isolation based training, will mean we can add to our training base and potential, allowing us to hit the ground running when we eventually return to our normal routines.  


Important Update

Active Health is now offering telehealth consultations for all Physiotherapy, Podiatry and Osteopathy appointments.

Due to the current Covid-19 pandemic we are unable to see our patients face-to-face. We are now utilising specialist rehabilitation software so we can continue to work collaboratively with you, to achieve the best possible outcomes for your health and well-being.

If you have used this sort of technology before, then this will be a breeze. We can easily talk to you about this process prior to your appointment. It is a very simple way to keep on top of your injury management. It is an exciting new way for us to work together and support you.
How does it work?
You can contact us on:

03 383 6290
via email on 
or book online at 

The day before your appointment we will send you a text reminder and an email with a link to telehealth services (ensure you check your junk mail). Click the link at your appointment time and your clinician will be there to discuss your needs. If you are using your mobile or tablet you can download these apps ahead of your appointment for better interaction with your clinician –

We can share tailored exercise videos, set you goals and routine alerts, discuss your injury and management plan and recommend ways you can utilise everyday items at home to keep you moving and progressing in a positive direction.
What services can we continue to provide?

Private and ACC Physiotherapy, Initial and Follow-up consultations.
Podiatry Consultations
Pain Management Services
Cancer Rehabilitation
Pelvic Health Physiotherapy
Osteopathy Consultations
Nutrition Assessments
Working From Home Ergonomic setups
Physical activity and Fitness programmes
Mental Conditioning and Wellbeing Consultations
Vocational Rehab Services – SAW/BTWOnline
Pilates Classes and 1 on 1 – please contact

What is the cost?
We acknowledge the very difficult circumstances for all New Zealanders at the moment and wish to offer prices reflective of that for the Alert Level 4 period.

Our team has worked hard to provide a package of care that will continue to serve the Active Health community. Our mission statement and commitment to you as always is to provide quality holistic health care in a supportive, professional, fun and successful environment.

The Active Health Team

Gym Support

During the isolation period, gyms are closed. This is really tough for those of us who use the gym as a means of feeling better mentally and physically- or even just for a little me-time.

To help keep you moving while you’re at home, I have put together some workouts for you to do at home, these will be rolled out over the next few weeks.

Today we start with an upper body at home workout- click the link to see the technique and tips on how to perform the moves well at high and low intensity options.

See the work out instructions too- Happy moving 😊

DOWNLOAD at-home-workouts-upper-body