Are you generating energy and power in your stroke? Most people are, but the energy is not helping them move forward in the water. Think about how much energy you are using to rotate your body. How much energy are you using to take your breath? Can you re-purpose some of that energy to power your stroke forward?
To push as much energy as possible in a forward motion, you need to first remember that the power for the stroke is emanating from the core and the hips. That core power travels down your legs and up your arms. The core also stabilizes your body so you don’t over-rotate.
Control your Body
Control for the stroke rotation starts with the core and travels out in both directions to the rest of the body. Rotation in freestyle and backstroke should be at a 45 degree angle. If you feel your body is over-rotating, first check to make sure your core is engaged by pulling your belly button into your spine without arching your back. You should feel your body get taller. Next, check to make sure you are stretching from your finger tips to your toes to further engage the core.
In all strokes, your body should move as one unit with the legs staying in the body line. In freestyle and backstroke, the body rotates as one, and in breaststroke and butterfly, the arms move together and the legs move together. This symmetry reduces drag and allows you to harness the power of the core and push that power forward.
Breathe Close to the Water
Some swimmers are losing power when taking their breath. If the breath is too far away from the water, the stroke and the body are working too hard to take your breath. In freestyle, the eyes should be looking right over the water and the mouth should be as close to the top of the water as possible. For breaststroke and butterfly, the chin should rest on the water with the head pushing forward into the breath instead of reaching up to the ceiling.
Each time you reach forward with your arms in freestyle, breaststroke, and butterfly, make sure your core is starting the reach. Imagine your hands grabbing a rock in the water that isn’t going to move. You have to pull your body past your hands to propel your body forward. Envision all that power your core can generate really moving you forward in the water. With backstroke, your arms are going to reach back as you rotate to grab that rock. Grab on, give that rock a hug and push your body back in the water.
In the end, you want to visualize all the power your body can generate travelling from your core to the arms and legs to push you forward in the water. Check your rotation and your breath to make sure you aren’t losing power in those areas and remember to focus forward. If I can do anything to help you with this topic, email me at Carolanne@WinningSwimming.com
Posted February 27, 2017