Improve Your Swimming Technique
Swimming is one of the best ways to get fit. For one, it’s low impact, works on almost every muscle in your body and, if you can find a heated indoor pool in your area, you can swim all year round. If you’re really good, you may even want to swim competitively.
Have you ever looked at swimmers in a pool? If you have, you can definitely see a difference in how effective different swimmers are with their technique. Some look like a powerhouse in the pool, while some swimmers look like a cat flailing about in a barre.
To get the most out of your aquatic work out and enjoy all the benefits of swimming, you need to improve your swimming technique. The idea is to make every stroke count, without finishing up gasping for air. Learn how to improve your swimming technique and get the most out of your time in the water.
1. Learn From The Experts
We all had to learn how to walk before we could run. With swimming, you should focus on technique before speed. Once you get the technique right, then you can work on your speed. Instead of fumbling around in the water on your own, take lessons from a swimming instructor at your local swimming pool or fitness center. Almost everyone knows how to swim, but the experts know how to swim correctly. This doesn’t mean you need an intensive learning program. You may only a few lessons to get your swimming technique right.
2. Use A Pull Buoy
A pull buoy is a piece of foam that looks like the figure eight. The swimmer puts between their thighs or ankles. The pull buoy forces you to keep your body in the correct alignment for swimming. Understanding the correct alignment will ensure you dart through the water, instead of ineffectively wiggling about. The other benefit of the pull buoy is that you can switch your focus to your arm technique.
3. Don’t Look Up
While you’re doing your laps, you may find yourself looking up and forward to breathe. Looking up and then to the side may result in the lower half of your body drooping. Instead, lift your head to the same side as the arm you are raising. Once you take a deep breath and get you head back in the water, exhale in a steady, continuous breath until it’s time to come up for air again.
4. Bend Those Elbows
A good, solid technique does not mean you need to straighten and stiffen your arms. The only time you should be straightening your arms is when your arm comes out of the water and reaches forward to complete another stroke, and even then, you should not be extending too far forward. As your hand hits the water, keep your elbows loosely bent and use your hand to push the water, similar to a paddle. This movement will push you forward as you kick.
5. Plunge Your Recovering Hand
To avoid a washing machine like movements in the water, you should not extend your hands and arms too much. You reaching hand should plunge or cut into the water just in front of your head. Not only will this movement make you a more efficient swimmer, but you’ll also avoid unnecessary shoulder strain.
6. Swim To The Beat
Short, fast-swimming races do better with a six-beat kick. That entails kicking your legs three time each while completing one full stroke. The two-beat kick does better when swimming longer distances. The two-beat is also a lot better at conserving oxygen so you won’t need to take a breath so often.
7. Focus On Each Part Of Your Stroke
Part of improving your swimming technique is breaking down each part of your stroke to understand where there is room for improvement. Focus on your breathing, hand entry, how your arm glides overhead and your arm’s recovery. One little flaw can undermine an otherwise perfect stroke, so understanding how each part of a stroke needs to be executed will improve your swimming technique in leaps and bounds.
8. Get Wet
You can’t expect to improve your swimming technique if you only visit your local swimming pool on a rare occasion. Improving your swimming technique takes time and effort so if you own a swimming pool at home, get in there as often as you can. If not, invest in a membership at your local fitness or swimming center and perhaps go for a swim on the way home from work every evening.
9. Hit The Surf
Part of improving your swimming technique will involve getting a stronger upper body. That means challenging those muscles to make them stronger. You can hit the gym and use free weights, but why not make it a fun work out and swim against the waves at your local beach.
You can also lay flat on a surfboard or bodyboard and work on your arm technique. The board will keep you buoyant so you can completely focus on your arm work.
10. Develop Good Breathing Techniques
All the body techniques in the world will not amount to much if you don’t learn the correct breathing techniques when you are swimming. Just imagine this scenario, you’ve learned all the technique you need to effectively complete the strokes you need to swim like a pro, but you missed the lesson on breathing technique. You swim to the end of the pool and feel like your lungs are about to explode. Learn how to expand your lungs with breathing drills and how to best use them when you are swimming. The more you can breathe, the better you can swim.
One of the most important things you will need to improve your swimming technique is patience. It may be difficult to perfect your technique at first, and this may cause a diminished enthusiasm on your part. Don’t give up. The more you keep working on your technique, the better you will do and it won’t be long before you are swimming with nothing more on your mind than completing your race or distance. When you reach that point, every stroke will be automatic, without you needed to focus so hard on getting it right.