Body Position


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Head and body positions are always the first thing that I look at when doing stroke analysis for swimmers and triathletes. If you’re sitting low in the water it doesn’t matter how good your pull or kick is you will be using a lot of energy to move through the water. The first step of improving your body position is by adjusting your head position so it is looking down or slightly forward so your head is in line with the rest of your body. We cover this in more detail in the head position module just before this video.

The next step is to straighten your body and your legs. The common thing I see a lot of is bending at the hip which means the swimmers legs are being dragged through the water and there is a lot of resistance on the front of their legs and on their quads.

How do you fix it? Well the fastest swimmers will squeeze their gluts together and push their hips slightly forward; this locks their core on and straightens their body. It brings their body to the surface so they are sitting on top of the water and not below the surface. This is how swimmers glide through the water and travel further with each stroke. It means you can travel faster without kicking harder.

In your next session try squeezing your gluts together and pushing your hips slightly forward. Feel yourself gliding on top of the water and travelling further with each stroke.

In Effortless Swimming’s Membership Program we go into more detail and take the next step on body position; which is how to swim faster for long races and sets without kicking. You save energy and you keep more in the tank for when you need it.

In the Mastering Freestyle program we cover drills that will help you sit higher in the water and be better with your body position so that you can swim easier and faster for longer periods of time.

In the next video we look at a few simple changes that will increase your speed with your kick and make your kick more effective.

Body Position in Freestyle – The 3 Steps to Achieving Correct Body Position in Freestyle

I wanted to share something with you that I learnt on the weekend from Australian swimmer Sam Ashby. He came along to our Saturday training session and assisted with the coaching on the day. He ran through a number of drills which focused on one hugely important part of freestyle. I worked on this one thing during my own training session tonight and was swimming 2-3 seconds quicker per 100m than usual without increasing my energy output. I’m not kidding, so I had to write this for you ASAP!

Want to get the right body position in freestyle swimming? Body position is vitally important to a smooth and effortless swim stroke. It’s a key ingredient for swimmer who wants to take their speed and times to the next level. A greater improvement in overall swimming will come from correcting body position more than increasing fitness. Each training session work on swimming with the correct body position rather than exerting more effort in the pool. You will not only feel better in the water, but your technique will come more naturally and your times will improve with less effort. The are 3 steps to achieving a killer body position in swimming which will blow your competitors away:

1. Lengthen your body – The reason many swimmers hit a plateau is because they get too ‘caught up’ with where they should be pulling with their arms, how hard they should be kicking and many other ‘minor’ issues compared to their body position. The swimmers which focus too much on the other things usually aren’t lengthening out there body. The longer your body is in the water, the quicker it moves and the less resistance it creates. Think of your body as a long yacht which glides effortlessly through the water, and avoid being a big wide barge which is slow and cumbersome.

2. Rotate your shoulders – To move more easily through the water in freestyle, you must rotate your shoulders. No doubt you’ve been told to rotate in the water, but too often swimmers are told to rotate the entire body as they take each stroke. This is incorrect. Elite swimmers work on keeping their hips relatively still with only minor rotation. This allows the hips to generate a powerful kick and provides a strong core for the upper cody to leverage from. The shoulder should rotate to the point where the shoulder is out of the water as it is taking a stroke. This reduces frontal resistance and allows for a high elbow recovery which is a key part of freestyle.

3. Stay flat to the water – Resistance increases exponentially as you get faster. This is why it’s important to reduce your total resistance created by your body. Keep your body flat to the surface or slightly raised at the front, but don’t allow your hips and legs to sink. This creates resistance on your lower body and makes it difficult to swim faster. Remember, the easy way to swim faster is to reduce your resistance.

In your next session, why not focus on improving your body position by lengthening your body, rotating your shoulders and keeping your body flat to the surface. This will help you swim faster, smoother freestyle. Discover how to master freestyle technique and turn even the ugliest of strokes into smooth and efficient swimming. Sign-up right now Brenton Ford’s FREE online newsletter to find out exactly how to do that – Go here: http://www.effortless-swimming.com

  • Reg.Gunthorpe

    How do you ‘get flat’? I press my chest down,arch my back, pull my stomach in, with minimal results – so frustrating! I can feel the drag from my lower half with every stroke I take, any more suggestions?

  • @Reg – Work on staying high in the water, so rather than being ‘in’ the water you’re sitting ‘on top’ of it. Once you make this shift mentally swimming will become much easier.