Why Squatting Can Help You Swim Faster with Carl Reader

The podcast that helps you improve your swimming, love the water and live a better life.


Our guest for today’s episode is Carl Reader who is a Functional Movement Coach and a Biokineticist (Exercise Therapist). He’s been helping athletes and clients move and exercise better through functional movements. Join us as we discuss warm up, squats and functional movement.

00:28 Carl Reader’s Background
2:29 What Can Swimmers Do As Warm Up.
4:44 The Other Shoulder Swing
06:21 Shoulder Press Exercise
09:05 What Are The Changes and When Do You See Them.
11:07 The Importance of Squat
12:14 Mistakes People Do When They Squat
16:06 Posture
17:04 Symmetry And Sequence Of Muscles
18:46 Core Strength
22:07 Working Functionally
23:23 Engaging The Core
27:07 Bracing
31:42 Getting In Touch With Carl Reader












Intro:                                     Welcome to the Effortless Swimming Podcast, the show that helps swimmers and triathletes love the water, become a better swimmer and live a better life. Here’s your host Brenton Ford.

Brenton Ford:                    Welcome to the Effortless Swimming Podcast. This is episode number 123. And my guest today is Carl Reader, who’s a Functional Movement Coach and exercise physiologist from Cape Town in South Africa. Carl, welcome to the podcast.

Carl Reader:                       Thanks Brenton and thanks for having me.

Brenton Ford:                    Now your background is more in the sort of medical side of things, but you’ve also got a lot of experience in the more sort of functional movements for athletes and swimmers in particular. Can you give the listeners just a bit of background on where you got to, you are today and how you sort of how would it help swimmers with reducing the risk of injury and improving mobility and other things we’re going to talk about today.

Carl Reader:                       Yeah. Having a background in the medical side and dealing with actually rehabilitating some shoulders and the injuries and across the board when it comes to sports. I kind of looked at the exercises we were doing and what we were prescribing to help the athletes. And I realized that a lot of the methods and the exercises that were being prescribed, weren’t functional or resembling natural movements. And we’re actually putting the bodies in awkward positions. And so I sort of moved away from the traditional conventional methods and started to really look at what are the body’s natural and functional movements? So what I do now instead of just giving you my athletes and my swimmers or even patients exercises, I teach them how to move correctly and functioning. And so that’s making a big difference. And it’s yeah, it’s saved a lot of painful treatments.

Brenton Ford:                    Yeah. I mean you see a lot of shoulder issues, particularly for younger swimmers, but certainly there are for adults and as well. And I see it, you know I work with all ages in clinics. We sort of started about 12 years of age up to I think the oldest person has been maybe in their 80s, but. Oh yeah. All the way through and you see to start often that decline in mobility, particularly through the shoulders and for triathletes who I coach a lot too often very stiff through the shoulders, just from the running and the riding. And that’s something I experienced myself when I started to do more of that too. What are the few examples of what swimmers can do as part of their warm ups and functional movements that can help them I guess better prepare for the training session, but also just reduce the chance of injury?

Carl Reader:                       The thing is, the most important thing is that they’ve got to, it’s got to get their posture right. So that’s the work we do outside the pool. But in terms of warmup exercise it’s all about positioning the body again, postures. So when they’re standing up on the side of the pool and they’re warming up their shoulders, if they’re standing just with their legs, you know, it’s just a normal posture. If their posture is not right, then they actually can actually strain their shoulder or they don’t get the optimal warmup. So what I normally advise my to swimmers to do is they’ve got to try keep a upright relaxed posture. We find with people with they tend to or and I had this, and they’re so scared of slouching, they go into this thing where they pull their shoulders back and they stick their chest out, which is a complete opposite extreme.

Carl Reader:                       So it’s to really just get the guys into that upright relaxed position and then to soften their needs. And what that does is it takes strain out the wood, I don’t know if you listeners are a little familiar with what they called the posterior chain. It’s all the back muscles and the fascia, which is the medical term for what I call like the body being clean racked. But you then proceeded into your stretches in that position. So you’re actually have retaken all the tension in the body and allows the swimmers to then start their warmup. So we can go on a sort of a warmup exercises just now, but that would be the first thing is to actually position them correctly before they start warming up.

Brenton Ford:                    That’s good. We sort of teach posture at the start of our clinics where the posture you generally when swimming is to swim toll and to swim proud. And it’s exactly the same as that, the upright relaxed posture. But I like that. I like that phrasing. I like that term because when you watch really good swimmers, they’re able to essentially maintain that posture while staying really relaxed and as soon as a swimmer starts to tense up, they’re working against themselves in a way. So let’s say a very good phrase to use, I like that. And well, to kind of going on from there, what would we say a one exercise or one movement that people could just start to do before they swim to then help them get into that process of working on it?

Carl Reader:                       Well, I call it the other shoulder swings, it’s where you lift your arm up in front of you had rotate it behind you. And what we see some much tends to do is they tend to keep looking straight ahead. So they take that arm up while they’re swinging their arm behind them and they keep looking straight ahead or they keep the upper body still in an attempt to try to increase the shoulder mobility. But they’ve got it actually as they’re swinging their arm, it’s really important to turn the upper body almost to 45 degrees, that keeps the shoulder and the body in a good plane. And so it actually is a natural movement. Again, that’s sort of what I’m trying to bring across to the swimmers is you want to keep it as natural as possible. And also rotating that upper body lifts and rod as you swing your left arm, as you wing your right arm, it actually improves thoracic, which is your upper back mobility, which again is important to be mobile or you know, to be functional.

Carl Reader:                       So we see that. Just to go over that again, we see that a lot of swimmers, especially beginner swimmers tend to keep their upper body still while they swing their arm behind them to try and improve shoulder mobility.

Brenton Ford:                    Yeah. That’s a particularly from being desk bound. You know, a lot of the guys I coach they work in an office, they’re sitting down all day and that can really just tighten them up through the thoracic spine. So with that sort of exercise, where would you progress from there?

Carl Reader:                       I like to do the shoulder press exercises, a nice warmup, so with no weight. So you gain you in your soft upright position, knees soft and you’re sort of punching up with … If you can imagine doing a shoulder press like in gym but not with your shoulders. What’s the way to direct it to the side slightly in front of you. So your elbows are slightly in front of your shoulders and you’re punching up towards the sky. And the most important thing there is that you look slightly upwards. We find that a lot of the guys, and we’ll touch on that with the gym program and when they’re doing shoulder press exercises again, they’re looking straight ahead and that causes a lot of strain in the upper neck and the nerves that exit the neck. So just looking a little bit like 45 degrees up in front of you and then punching up and down as maybe for 10 to 30 seconds just to get that rotator cuff in their shoulders to be more mobile.

Brenton Ford:                    I’m glad I have got a camera on this because I’m just going through this now as you’re talking just through [inaudible 00:07:22]. You mentioned in the emails before he jumped on the call. We have some videos for some of these exercises?

Carl Reader:                       I do yeah. I’ve got a few especially for the squats and for the warmup exercises, but I’ve still going to make a video for that one.

Brenton Ford:                    Yeah. Cool. That’d be great. I think, for the people who are listening will, I’ll put this in the show notes, put a link to your side Carl so people can get this plus a few more exercises [crosstalk 00:07:49] yeah, to include. Because it’s just, it’s a really important part of swimming. And we were about to go away in a hell week camp, which is over in Thailand. We run a week long swim camp over there and the first time I got introduced to this more sort of functional movement was a couple of years ago when, the coach over there he had. I think it was that the Dutch Physio. So the Dutch swim team physio. He took all of the swimmers over in Thailand through the basic. It’s like a 40 minute functional movement training program.

Brenton Ford:                    Now they sort of shunned it, obviously not going to do that before every session, but he took them through this full program and then they basically talk about a dozen of those to include in their warmup. And then we started to include that as part of our warmup, which was a little bit different than the very basic like arm swings and leg swings and that sort of thing that, we used to do. Like just, obviously evolves over 10 and 20 years. Yeah. So it’s quite different. It’s a bit more controlled now and it’s more, a lot more functional. And that’s really where it’s all starting to move. So what sort of things do you say when people start to include these types of exercises, what changes do you see happen and what timeframe do you see them happening?

Carl Reader:                       If it’s done regularly, you can see it in two to three weeks. We start to see big changes, but it’s again, it’s an unrealistic thing. So we got like if you’re desk bound it’s sort of counterproductive. So that’s a good instruction to the guys who do work, is to really try and look at their posture, get them moving because that will slow down the results or the progressions. But yeah it’s two to three weeks, you start to see good results.

Brenton Ford:                    And what about … And when would you recommend doing them? Is it just before swimming or is it something that the people should do it at other times as well? Like waking up or before bed. When would you think would be the optimum time to do this sort of stuff?

Carl Reader:                       Yeah, I do it when I wake up and obviously before in a dynamic warmup stretches before I start my exercise programs, but it doesn’t have to be too long. You’re not trying to be … Actually it’s good. I mean this is obviously your area, but just to get them in the pool, get the guys to … If it’s golf get them doing a few golf swings. If it’s a soccer players, get them kicking a few balls, you can’t really beat the actual natural action. You’re going to be performing as a warmup.

Brenton Ford:                    Yeah, that’s right. We normally include the [theraband 00:10:31] work before swimming and I’ll just say if you do five minutes before every session, that’s going to make a big difference compared to doing it non end. Everyone’s got five minutes to include that sort of stuff. So yeah, certainly doesn’t need to take long at all.

Carl Reader:                       Sorry, yeah, there’s a thing where you can do also take like a cannibal and you can apply strength training before your sessions as well as to really build up that strength and get the muscles activated. But that’s getting more specific to the swimmer and the needs and the [inaudible 00:11:05] he’s trying to achieve.

Brenton Ford:                    And what about this kind of goes into it, what about gym or strength exercises and what sort of things can people change or do to build up their strength as part of swimming? ‘Cause we’re not looking to get bulky, we’re just looking to get strong. But also, I mean it’s really about functional strength when it comes to the strength training and swimming together.

Carl Reader:                       Well, it’s a great [inaudible 00:11:37] brands and nothing. I think the number one functional, it’s sort of at the foundational functional movements is the squats. And that’s something that I see performed in my opinion incorrectly very often. And so it’s an area that needs a lot of attention and the benefits of squatting functionally have, I mean I can keep you in for two hours and then … It’s incredible for the lower back. For swimmers it’s a wonderful way of listing out, specialties and [inaudible 00:12:05]. It really helps to improve posture. So if you’ve got those desk bound swimmers, squats are for me a fundamental to get right and I’m happy to share a few pointers or areas that the guys do tend to make when they squat.

Brenton Ford:                    Yeah. What, what would they be?

Carl Reader:                       Well, we’ve been taught through the squats to is because so many people have hurt their backs, to keep that back straight. And so the first mistake or thing I find when guys are squatting is it got this sort of military uprights, with a sort of upright chest. And the other thing we find is they are looking straight ahead at which you’ll find it when you … The whole point of squatting is to actually go down and pick something off the ground or to bend. So by actually getting into squat and to relax the upper back. So I’m not saying there must, obviously they must round their lower back. We find that sort of whole proud to stick their chest out look straight ahead position actually switches off the core muscles. So looking down about a meter in front of you it’s okay and the same when you’re swimming. You’ll notice when you swimming, if your heads up it’s difficult to contract the core. If you put your head down a little bit, you’ll find the core switch it on automatically. And it’s the same principle with the squat.

Brenton Ford:                    I think that’s where I … I’ve never really done squats as much before because I’ve always had issues with my lower back in that the kind of lowest point in the squat. And I think it’s because … I think I looked too far forwards when I do it. And it’s exactly what you’re talking about, chest in chest out, shoulder, the scapula is really retracted back.

Carl Reader:                       Yeah. You don’t want to do that.

Brenton Ford:                    So that’s the main mistake that you see people make?

Carl Reader:                       So that’s the first. Yeah the second thing is their knees go to far forward. So we find that often an instructor’s don’t even use go posture toes. I always instruct the guys that’s still too far forwards. We’ve got to let the knees just be in the middle of the foot. So what I call the soft knee position. So it’s just keeping those knees relaxed as they go down. People tend to then go, as they go down, they tend to let the knee go almost in line with the toes and they think that’s. They say, well that’s fine. My knee is not going past the toes. But that’s still too far forward. You’re going to find in that position their quadriceps and the hamstrings a slogan and dominate the movement. And even though they are working in the squats, your power muscle is your cores which is your abdominals and your gluteus. So that’s a big mistake I find.

Carl Reader:                       Another mistake people do is when they push up they actually they stand up instead of pushups. So they actually lift up from the lower back muscles instead of pushing through the ground, which activates the core, the glutes and the abdominal muscles. So there’s quite a number of this, you know, there’s quite a number of mistakes that the guys make a with the core. And also if you’ve got postural problems or you’re not in a great posture, squatting can be really difficult. So it’s important to realize, you know, that’s part of the work that I do online is to help the guys identify where their restrictions are and how they can reduce that or work around that.

Brenton Ford:                    What’s the process that you would typically go through with an athlete to build up to that? So let’s say someone hasn’t got the right posture or they, you know, there’s a few things in place that would stop them from being able to squat properly. Where where would you start first? What’s the very first thing?

Carl Reader:                       Yeah well get them just to see, to squat and feel where their limitations are, and they might say they feel their hamstrings are tight, or they fill in backs working or they don’t feel their core or where they feel tension, where they feel limitations. And then we then go back. So often you’ll find with people, especially the desk bound, their hamstrings are tight and the other muscle that takes a lot of strain is the hip flexes, in the front of the body. And so we work on releasing those through doing specific exercises that helps to release those muscles.

Carl Reader:                       And you’ll find with posture, especially squats. And I’m going, digressing a bit, but there’s a big move now to with the myofascia, the muscle that [inaudible 00:16:16] was talking about and also with stretching. But when it comes to posture, if you actually, if you actually get the right muscles firing in the right sequences, those muscles automatically release. And that’s really encouraging for people who’ve been struggling with stretches for a long time because you get this foam rolling and it’s quite painful. It’s very effective, but if you can, again, I’m going on about this. If you can really get the muscles firing in the right sequences, those muscles can release quite quickly, which is very encouraging. For swimmers and people have been battling with flexibility issues.

Brenton Ford:                    So you’re saying that in order to help just increase mobility and the flexibility of certain muscles, just being able to use them properly by doing the squats. That’s a big part of actually losing them.

Carl Reader:                       Absolutely. And it releases the lower back. I mean you’ll find people to do [inaudible 00:17:11] stretchers they find their laps are tight and often is one side stronger than the other side. You will notice a symmetry in swimmers. But it’s more than just the symmetries. You see the thing with those, the symmetries is they will say well your one side is weak, the other side is tight, you need to stretch the tight side, you need to strengthen the weak side. And that does have benefits to it, but you’re not addressing why is actual assymetry, you’re not actually addressing what is their assymetry in the first place.

Carl Reader:                       And so that’s sort of where we dig in to work out and that’s because often they’re using the muscles in the wrong sequence or they’re disconnected. Which is one of the big causes of disconnect is actually, I don’t know if it’s an Australia quite popular, but here in South Africa people tend to squeeze muscles or suck in muscles or they’re bracing and they’re not actually connected to how their body is actually working. And we can go into that. Maybe a segue into core strengthening.

Brenton Ford:                    Yeah. Just before we go into that. So a lot of people will sort of, as in like they use tape or they’re wrapping muscles to kind of move through there or to make sure that they don’t sort of fall apart when doing exercises, but it’s actually working against them. Is that what you mean?

Carl Reader:                       Yeah those taping just sort of is helping to try and activate those muscles. They’re trying to stabilize the joints, but if you’re in the wrong position, then as you said, so in a good way to put it. Well, you’re working against it. You’ve got to position the body correctly for those muscles to automatically work.

Brenton Ford:                    Yeah. Got you. Yeah core strength. What some key things to build in core strength ’cause it’s what we were doing 15 years ago was your basic sit ups and it’s certainly changed from there. So what are some of those key things that you’d like to look for or teach when it comes to core strength?

Carl Reader:                       Well, I think maybe just a brief overview would be helpful for the audience is we had the whole moving [polatis 00:19:11] where we had the sucking in of the drawing in the navel to the spine. There was research showing how getting that inner core muscle, the transverse abdominis to activate was helpful. And then we’ve now moved in a sense, some professionals that moved to this whole idea of bracing. Where you contract, what if you contract the muscles as hard as you can while you perform the action? My approach is that both those approaches are natural, but only in certain situations. So if you look at sucking in your tummy, that’s natural if you’ve got to get into a tight pair of jeans or if you are literally running for the toilet, you know, that’s a very natural action, but it’s not a natural action for swimmers or for golfers or for sports men.

Carl Reader:                       You’ve got to focus on so many other things and then trying to draw your navel to your spine. Then the other thing is the bracing is a really natural action if you’re going to take an impact. So if someone’s going to punch you in the tummy or if you’re going to fall off a bike or if you’re going to anticipate a heavy load. My only thing with bracing is the bracing is exactly bracing. So it’s actually not facilitating movement. And I think you shared this on one of your videos and you said in efforts to increase in speed. You’ve got to be in an almost relaxed position. And let the body sort of work functionally and I find with bracing. Although you are contracting in the core muscles. You’re sort of disconnected to what the arms and legs are doing. I hope that makes sense.

Carl Reader:                       So for me it’s really about teaching people with core strength. When you position the body in the right position, and this is where posture plays a major role, your core should automatically respond and it will respond according to the load. So you know, when you’re in that cast position, you have to pull back strong with the arm and get the lats working. The core should be firing in. But as you then roll into the next stroke there should be a bit of a relaxation happening and it’s, it’s Kind of … So it’s not bracing the whole time. I hope that makes sense.

Brenton Ford:                    Yeah. Absolutely. And it’s quite a difficult thing to teach because we do a lot of video analysis and one major thing that I see with as soon as those hips and legs are dropping is there’s this big arch in their lower back and there’s not much alignment through the spine. And a lot of that to me is obviously the core is not working in the right way. It also can be, they can be tight through the hamstrings and hip flexes and so on. But what would you or how do you like to teach? I guess engaging the core because it’s quite a difficult one to explain. And also I guess to teach, really get them to be able to use it in the right way where they’re not wasting effort and energy by bracing the core and sucking it in ’cause it’s that fine line between engagement and relaxation.

Carl Reader:                       So the engagement should be as I said automatic. And that’s what I teach is, and this is out of the pool obviously you’re going to correct the technique in the pool. But out of the pool squats are your number one core exercise. I’m not saying there aren’t other exercises that challenge core but just from a functional position. So if you squat correctly with a Kettlebell or just even if you’re in your 70s, you will get absolutely you’ll get wonderful core workout. And the differences in the olden days when you did the sit ups, you would do like, you know, 200 sit ups and you could barely breathe. I don’t know if you remember doing that and lifting your legs up in the air and you’d really feel the burn in the core muscles and that was Kind of the whole sort of approach was get that burn.

Carl Reader:                       But when you work functionally, when you work the core functionally with the glutes and the lats and the perks and the hip flexors, everything working in a beautiful sort of pattern, and then you don’t get that horrible … You don’t get that burn in the core. So often my clients will say to me I don’t feel my core working. But when I touch my muscles, it’s rock hard and when I’m swimming or if I’m playing a running, I just feel like my whole body’s been curved by the core, but I don’t really feel it. And I said, that’s exactly what you want to feel. You don’t want to feel this burn in the stomach. You’re not isolating muscles.

Brenton Ford:                    Yeah that’s a good distinction. I had someone email me about two weeks ago and they asked … They said look. I don’t really feel my core when I’m swimming. And it’s like, well if you are feeling your core, then you’re tensing it way too much because that’s … I mean you might feel it if you’re doing back to back sprints or if you’re doing like a timed 200 if you’re really working you, you might feel it a bit then. But that’s the thing, it should just be switching on to the point where it’s just working, but it’s not something that really stands out like you’ve done. You’ve done 50 leg lifts or anything like that.

Carl Reader:                       I’ll give you a quick example here if you … I’m not sure, are you sitting at a desk?

Brenton Ford:                    Yes. Well I’m standing up but I can sit down.

Carl Reader:                       So if you’ve got a desk in front of you, if you sit with this upright posture. So what I mean by that is you sort of got the proud chest, you’re looking straight ahead and you put your fist, you make a fist and you put that on the desk and you push your first into the desk. You’ll tend to notice that your elbows and your arms and neck are doing the work.

Brenton Ford:                    Yup.

Carl Reader:                       And now if you just relaxed that upper back. So in other words, just drop the chest, I’m not suggesting you go into slots position, but just relax that upper back and now push down. You should notice the tummy automatically engaged.

Brenton Ford:                    That’s interesting. Yeah I can feel that difference. And you’ve probably got about, you’ve probably got a couple of people who are in the car or at their desk who are trying to do the same thing as well. That’s interesting.

Carl Reader:                       So what happens is if I say to you now, I want you not to push the arm into the desk, but just brace. You just like you make your tummy like really strong or you brace it. You can see the disconnect. There’s no effort coming from your arm yet, your body is now bracing and it’s like if you were to pick up a pencil, you’re bracing, lower this energy, but the pencil weighs nothing. Where now as you increase the pressure through the risk, you’ll know that the core will respond accordingly and that’s the same in any sport. You’ve got to learn how to get the core to adjust or respond according to the workload.

Brenton Ford:                    So a big part of that, at least through that exercise, but I’d say also for swimming is keeping that good posture but really relaxing through the back of the shoulders.

Carl Reader:                       Correct. And the upper thoracic spine that getting that spine. And what I do with some of this is when they do the core exercises and we can talk about it just now as well, the pulling and pushing exercises. Because that’s also really very good for your abdominal muscles actually are more efficient, work more efficiently in rotation, actually than doing some simple flexing exercises. And you’ll see that, so that works in that really well.

Brenton Ford:                    I like that. That’s quite helpful because it’s always, it’s something that I’ve always taught with swimming in terms of you need good posture to be able to swim well. But finding that right balance of engaging the core but not so much not bracing, that’s really helpful. So I appreciate you sharing that. That’s excellent. And I think you’ve made a pretty good point for why, I guess sort of talking about why you shouldn’t, you don’t need to brace it. And why you should just let the core kind of do its thing. What would be the argument that someone who believes it should really brace the core, particularly if you’re squatting and that sort of thing? What would be the argument that they would make against it?

Carl Reader:                       Against what I’m suggesting?

Brenton Ford:                    Yeah.

Carl Reader:                       I think that if you’re going to be a bodybuilder and you’re going to be lifting lack 100 kilograms and you’ve got a risk of injury in the shoulder and you don’t want to hurt your shoulder the idea is that you brace super hard like that, then you will be able to protect those joints. But you know, for me as a functional, I’m not designing, I’m not prescribing massive strength building exercise. I’m trying to improve mobility through joints and strength, functional strength as opposed to again, like I said lifting 100 kilograms or if you were here listening.

Brenton Ford:                    Yeah, that’s good.

Carl Reader:                       There’s a few things, so sorry to interrupt you. There’s a few things at the bracing that I would want to share. Number one is your diaphragm. Your breathing muscle is attached to your hip flexors, so when you brace, you kind of that whole, those internal structural muscles they lock so that it doesn’t facilitate good movement and it actually, ironically, it doesn’t produce good spinal mobility while you’re trying to do the movement.

Carl Reader:                       The second thing with the bracing is most people don’t know how to breathe, so they actually, they kind of like hold their breath when they’re bracing so that’s, we know that’s not functional, especially for some of those you need to. There’s the whole buoyancy with the breathing with the buoyancy that plays a big role. And the other thing is it’s one thing to brace for a few seconds to take an impact, but to brace over a long period of time. I can’t prove this but my logic and my sense is telling me it’s not good for the inter abdominal pressure on your organs and on your cardiovascular. So it’d be interesting to look at how the heart and blood pressure response to bracing as well.

Brenton Ford:                    Yeah. Plus, it’s it’s a pretty tiring this to do as well and most of the people listening to the podcast are, a lot of them are doing swims at least over a kilometer long. So it’s taking at least yeah, 10, 15, 20 minutes or more. So yeah, it’s a long time to brace for. So with your online program that you’ve got what sort of … How does that work? What sort of structure does that follow? Like if someone was to join, what would be the process that they go through to become, to become more mobile and eventually better swimmers. ‘Cause to me it’s such an important part of the stroke and when we do testing as in mobility testing, there’s quite often, I’d say there’s probably a 75, 80% correlation from sort of mobility to the speed and the technique of the summer.

Carl Reader:                      Yeah. So the first thing is just to get them look at … I get them to send through what they are doing. So are they doing squats, are they doing shoulder presses? So what their exercise program looks like and it’s really helpful for me if they can get a video of them doing it so often from a side view, especially for the squats or the exercise they’re doing. So I can actually look at their techniques. So for me it’s just really improving their techniques or even cutting out exercise and saying don’t, a lot of people doing that pull downs with their arms behind them or they’re just not in the right position. And I will say just get a video of yourself doing the leg pull down or give me a video of you doing a pushup and just changing the position of the elbows, of the arms. And they find it very beneficial because it’s often, as you know it’s these small 1% changes and the technique that makes all the difference.

Brenton Ford:                    Yeah, definitely. I mean, that’s exactly what we do with our online coaching, with our membership where people will send in videos normally once a month and we’ll make these small adjustments over time and I’ll give them say one or two things to adjust and it’s just kind of adding up and all these little things really make a difference. Where in the course of six to 12 months, 24 months, they really turn themselves into really effective swimmers with their technique by just having someone who’s got an eye for that stuff. ‘Cause the way I say it, like if I was to look at someone squatting or doing a press or anything like that, I wouldn’t know the nuances of it. But with technique, I’ve looked at it for 12, well closely for 12 years and really closely for about five years. And you can really see those little one percenters if you’ve got that trained eye.

Brenton Ford:                    So I think having someone like yourself do that, it a can make a difference. And I’m just thinking like, I’ve never really done squats just ’cause of my issues with the lower back, I think because of a couple of those things that you’ve mentioned. So I think that’s really helpful. So for those people listening, where’s the best place to get in touch with you and find out more about what you do?

Carl Reader:                       It’s go to carlreadercoaching.co.za and that’s Carl with a C, and I’ve got my just able to obviously read or learn more about me there on my websites. I don’t offer a membership as yet. It’s something I’d like to in the future with the videos but I do offer 60 minute consultations and again I like what you’re saying, I don’t initially need the people to be coming weekly but just to come maybe two, three weeks and we just get them on their techniques, they go away, they practice that, they come back and we take them to the next step.

Brenton Ford:                    Fantastic. I’ll make sure that they’re on our website at effortlessswimming.com so people can link to there. So that’s a South African web address for those that are listening. You’re probably the second South African. I had a guy [Roy Buck 00:32:35], he’s a swim coach from South Africa but living in Dubai. But it’s been great having you on and I appreciate you sharing all of that. I’ve got got a lot out of it and it’s something that I think is super important for athletes of any age, particularly as we get older. You know I’m 31 now, but I feel like I’m about, you know, 50 with just picking my two kids up and down and just probably being at a desk a bit more than what I used to at the moment.

Brenton Ford:                    So just making sure that I stay mobile, keep moving and maintain strength as well is really key. So thanks so much for joining me on the podcast. I think it’d be good to do a maybe a YouTube video down the track as well where maybe we go through like a console just like you’re talking, just so people can sort of see some of those things that you do ’cause I think that’d be really helpful for them. So Carl, thanks so much for being on the podcast and no doubt I’ll get you back on again soon.

Carl Reader:                       Thanks Brenton. Thanks for having me.

Outro:                                   Thanks for listening to the Effortless Swimming Podcast. If you’d like us to help you become a faster more efficient swimmer, go to effortlessswimming.com.


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Amazing swimming and fitness podcast

Love, love, love listening to Brenton and his guests. Always learning something new to add to my swim sets with drills or training sets. Also very motivational guests with great tips to add to your fitness routine. I love the stories of the longer distant swims and what’s involved. I’m always smiling after listening to these podcasts!! Thank you so much !!!!



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Brenton and Mitch were great to work with at the clinic, Good to get video analysis to work on straight away, practice some new drills and go home knowing what you need to work on.

Alex McFadyen