this is the continuation of “How to Swim Faster?” from the first part. If you just dropped in, please go to “How to Swim Faster” Part 1
Principle #4: Swimming More on Your Sides
The first way to improve propulsion is to roll more from side to side with each arm stroke. Rolling more on your sides allows you to better engage the large back muscles in addition to the shoulder muscles. However, spending more time on your side is unusual at first and needs some getting used to.
Principle #5: Using Your Core
This is another secret of how to swim faster. You should engage the large back, hip and torso muscles while rolling from side to side. The synergy between your core muscles and arm muscles allows you to apply more force to your swim stroke.
It is a little bit like a baseball pitcher when he throws the ball: first his body twists backward, then his hips initiate a rotation forward which is channeled through his upper body into his shoulder, arm, hand and finally into the ball, with an acceleration at each step.
Once you have integrated this technique, you will be able to swim longer and faster and tire less quickly, as your core muscles have more endurance than the ones in your shoulders and arms.
Principle #6: Anchoring Your Arms
This is the last piece of the puzzle on how to swim faster with less effort. Before applying any force on your propulsive arm, you need to make sure that your hand and forearm are aligned and facing backward. You can then effectively move your arm backward like big paddle.
This swimming technique is often called the “high elbow catch” in the freestyle stroke because you need to keep your elbow high in relationship to your wrist to be able to successfully do this.
Hope you have enjoyed the two part series of the “How to Swim Faster”
Swimming Faster is a fascination for many, I just finished a swim yesterday after a month of no activity due to my feet injury and also because race season is over. I felt funny not to train after so long but I am sure definitely out of breath swimming my usual 3 x 500m in the pool yesterday (no more races till 2013)
I have always wondered how to swim faster, Have you been wondering how to swim faster for months or even years without ever finding a satisfactory answer? If this is the case, well, you are in good company.
This article by enjoy-swimming.com describes six principles that will allow you to swim faster without becoming exhausted too quickly.
Swimming Smarter not Harder
For many coaches, swimming faster is the result of gradually increasing the length and intensity of swimming workouts so that the general fitness level increases.
While conditioning has its place, this is not all there is about how to swim faster, because swimming is a very technical sport. There are a few gifted swimmers that instinctively learn how to move efficiently in the water. Given enough time and practice, they will always improve. (this for me have not been the case..but I believe so)
But most of us only have a vague sense about our efficiency in the water. Remember, we are land animals! Because of this, swimming lots of lengths will often only make our bad habits more permanent, while our swimming technique only improves slowly or even not at all.
So what do we need to do? In fact, to learn how to swim faster and better with less effort, we need to swim smarter, not harder. Specifically, we need to work on two facets of our technique:
- We need to decrease drag in the water.
- We need to improve propulsion in the water.
The importance of swimming with the least amount of drag is often neglected. However, this is an area where we can greatly improve our efficiency in the water.
Water is much more dense than air. Drag in the water increases by the square of the speed at which we swim. So there is quickly an upper limit on how much force we can apply against the water to increase our speed.
On the other hand, reducing drag requires SKILLS rather than force. So there’s a lot of room for improvement there. That’s why it should be the top priority of learning how to swim faster.
Principle #1: Improving Your Balance
The first and most efficient way to decrease drag is to improve your balance. This means that you try to stay as horizontal as possible while moving through the water. When you do this, you disrupt the least amount of water molecules on your path, which translates into reduced drag.
As an example, while swimming freestyle, swimmers often lift their head to breathe or look ahead. When they do this, they lose balance and their hips and legs drop. Their body is less streamlined and generates more drag while moving through the water. Additionally, they need to kick harder to keep those legs up. Needless to say, a lot of energy is wasted while doing this.
Note that being as horizontal as possible is especially important for the freestyle and backstroke. For the breaststroke and butterfly, things are a little bit different because a body undulation occurs during the stroke cycle.
Principle #2: Swimming Taller
The next way to decrease drag is to make yourself as tall as possible in the water. The theory behind this is that for the same mass, a long tapered object moving through the water creates less turbulence than a short compact object. In fact this principle has been used by naval engineers since hundreds of years. I have learned to walk tall but I believe this
To swim taller in the freestyle stroke, you enter your recovering arm early in the water once it has passed your head. You also make sure to completely extend your recovering arm forward underwater before starting the down sweep and catch.
Principle #3: Compact and Efficient Kick
In world-class front crawl swimmers, the kick contributes for up to 10% of propulsion, while the arm stroke contributes for the rest. So an efficient kick is important for fast swimming, but less than what is commonly believed.
What is equally important is a compact kick, meaning that it should neither break the water surface nor move too low below the body line. Otherwise unnecessary drag is created which will only slow you down.
Once you have reduced drag to a minimum, you can work on improving your propulsion. Again, this is mainly done by improving your swim stroke mechanics, not by building bigger muscles.
to be continues in the part 2…
“pull buoy or leg float” – is a figure-eight shaped piece of closed-cell foam used in swim workouts. Swimmers place the buoy between the legs in the crotch area to provide support to the body without kicking the legs; this allows the swimmer to focus on training only their arms
Seriously, Swimming has not been my forte and I do suck at it, maybe cause of all the blubber that is sticking on my sides of my waist, (and people say it makes you float easy) yeah right.. those fats do weigh something and it contributes to you sinking in water.. *ok that’s not true* its simple because of our body positioning and (more…)