Swimming seems like such a technical sport doesn’t it?
There’s so many components to try to get right when it comes to technique – breathing, body position, kicking, arm position, elbow height, rotating far enough, the list goes on!
But did you know that most of these technique issues are created by an underlying mobility problem?
Let’s take rotation for example.
Poor rotation comes from an inability to move the chest independently of both the arm and the hips due to tight, short muscles around the ribcage (including the armpit).
When this area of the body is stiff, it leads to a huge variety of swim technique problems:
1. Arm Crossover
If the chest cannot move independently of the arm, when the chest starts to rotate to one side, the arm follows, making the arm cross the centre line during the stroke. In order to stop this happening, the body can compensate by pulling the arm back the opposite way, which not only creates more drag (slowing you down) but also puts excess strain on the back of the shoulder, leading to fatigue and pain.
2. Short Stroke/Low Elbow
If the muscles down the side of the ribs are tight and short, the arm is restricted in how far it can reach forwards, creating a short stroke, causing you to lose power and in most cases, making your arms turn over faster creating early fatigue. In the same way, the arm is restricted in how high the elbow can come out of the water, which increases the strain on the top of the shoulder, leading to pain.
3. Lateral Leg Swing
If the ribcage and hips cannot move independently of one another, as you reach forward in your stroke, the hip is pulled upwards towards your hand, causing your legs to be dragged sideways. This is repeated as you change arms, creating a sideways (lateral) leg swing which massively increases drag and makes to whole activity of swimming much harder than it needs to be!
4. One Sided Breathing
If you have more stiffness down one side of your body than the other, you’ll find it much harder to rotate far enough to breathe on one side than the other. This will lead you to avoid bilateral breathing, as your body chooses to breathe to the side with the least chance of inhaling water rather than oxygen!
5. Ineffective Kick
If the stiffness around your ribcage and core is significant enough, then as your chest rotates to one side, your hips will also rotate to that side rendering your kick ineffective. Your legs may end up crossing each other as you swim, or at the very least, you’ll stop kicking every time you breathe, which reduces your forwards movement, slowing you down.
Fortunately, since all these technique problems are stemming from the same mobility issue, it’s much easier than you’d think to fix all of them in one go! All we need to do is focus our attention on lengthening the muscles around the ribcage and all these problems will magically disappear!
You see, improving your swim rotation isn’t about doing endless drills, or consciously swinging your hips while you swim, it’s about your body having the capability to move how you want it to.
If you want to HUGELY improve your swim technique – quickly, then I’d like to invite you to follow along with the videos in my FREE Easy Breather Video Playlist, for just 5 or 10 minutes, every day for a week and see what difference it can make to your swim!
I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised!