Three Contrarian Ways to Improve Your Swimming

I preach endlessly about practicing drills and improving your technique – I know, I know, I’m like a broken record.

I understand though that there are days when you want to switch off your brain and just go for a swim. Maybe you’re tired after a day at the office, or you don’t feel well. OK, OK I’ll let you off this once. No drills today!

What are other quick and easy ways you can improve on the swim?

1. Core strength. Don’t even get in the pool! Do some yoga or pilates. Do abs and back exercises. Do body weight exercises. A strong core will help every part of the stroke, from maintaing streamlined body position to being able to drive yourself through the water.

2. Practice the other strokes. Triathletes tend to stick to freestyle only since it is race-specific. The other strokes are not irrelevant however. I prefer a holistic approach and the other strokes provide benefits, one of which is saving your shoulders from the wear and tear of a single stroke. Breaststroke and backstroke may also be useful in a race. I like to do a few breaststroke strokes at the end of the swim to wake up the legs. Do them in the warm up and cool down. If nothing else the variety will keep you interested and break up a long workout.

3. Breathing – or do not breathe! I also bang on my “breathe easy” drum a lot, but for this tip the idea is NOT to breathe. This will strengthen your lungs and increase workout intensity. Reduce the number of times you breathe per length on longer aerobic swims (breathe every 3 strokes, every 5, every 7) . Build it into fast 100m’s (do not breathe on last length). Remember to keep your form nice and relaxed.

Implement these tips and you will see the results across your triathlon.

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