Thursday, December 28, 2006

Swimming Using Body Core Strength

Last night we had a fairly easy practice as we all recovered from the rigors of Christmas. Because of the typically low attendance at practice during Christmas break Coach Brad decided to schedule some individual stroke instruction with video for those who were interested. After viewing my effort he offered three critiques: one my breaststroke kick was not properly connected with my pull; the next my second kick in my fly was occurring before my hands started my recovery stroke and was therefore too early; and lastly, my hips in backstroke were swinging out rather than rotating around my body’s axis. Now I’m well aware of the flaws in my dolphin kick, it being a work in progress, but I’ll concentrate a little bit more to better time my second kick with the start of my recovery stroke. The other two critiques; my breaststroke kick and swinging hips in backstroke, are a result of not using my body’s core properly. Coach Suzanne has also noted this problem with my swimming, but then the fact I have a problem with core strength and posture isn’t a particularly well kept secret, it being the very reason I’m writing this blog. I’m confident between yoga, regular stretching, and lots more practice and strength training I’ll eventually overcome but until then I’ll just have to keep it in mind as I swim. One excellent exercise for the timing of my breast stroke kick was a new drill I also learned last night, where your hands are clasped behind the back as if they’d been handcuffed; all while doing the breast kick and trying to breathe. I’ll start using this one right away as it really does emphasize the correct timing involved. I could definitely feel the effort in my hips and lower back.


Isis said...

I'm interested to try that breaststroke kick drill: that is a new one to me, and I am always looking for ways to switch things up.

Were there specific drills for the backstroke?

Scott said...

The ‘handcuffed’ breaststroke drill concentrates on your core strength and back flexibility – the aim being to bend the entire body at your middle while concentrating on drawing back your legs with minimal drag. Ideally you find yourself breathing at the point of maximum compression of your back (like the bow position in yoga). I hope you find it helpful. As for the backstroke drill we used the standard one arm drill so nothing new there. I’m looking forward to trying out the ‘hockey puck’ drill (this is Canada remember) where you swim balancing an object on your forehead, and especially some interesting underwater dolphin drills aimed at improving my rollover turns, but that’s for later.

Isis said...

Whoa: balancing something on your forehead sounds tough. I hope you'll explain that one when the time comes. Thanks for the explanation of the breaststroke drill.