As you've probably realized, your IQ drops when you exercise, and nowhere is this more true than when you're trying to swim faster. So while reading a treatise on the biomechanics of a proper swim stroke may be simple when you're sitting at the kitchen table, once you've jumped in the water and are huffing and puffing, you can barely remember anything you read or learned. This is where some weird words come in handy.
I've created a few simple phrases that I can learn the meaning of when I'm outside the pool, then, then when I'm swimming, I can simply pull these phrases into my head without having to focus too much on big sentence and paragraph-based swimming cues. So, without further ado, here are weird words that will make you swim faster!
Swim Faster #1 - Press Lung:
Ideal buoyancy in the water is achieved when the lungs, your body''s natural life preservers, are pressed down towards the bottom of the pool. This is the foundation of downhill swimming and the position that allows for a more streamlined body. Think of your body as a teeter-totter, with the hips as the fulcrum. Pressing the lungs down brings the legs up, and vice versa. If the legs are down, they simply act as anchors, producing drag against the water that slows the rest of the body. Whether in the front or side swimming positions, always focus on pressing the lungs down towards the bottom of the pool. Once this becomes natural, you'll conserve enormous amounts of energy and see massive increases in speed.
A proper and full stroke should bring the thumb to brush against the thigh at the end of the pull phase. Too many swimmers cut their pull short, for the simple reason that it makes swimming easier. I guarantee that if you practice a full pull phase, you will feel horrible during your first few swims and the muscles will be completely fatigued by the end of the swim. After practicing for a few weeks, however, your body will adapt and your speed will skyrocket. One of the keys is to achieve the thumb against thigh position by using the powerful lat muscles underneath the armpits, not the relatively weaker biceps and forearm.
Swim Faster #3 - Boil Feet:
The feet should be "boiling", just below the surface of the water. Feet that are submerged far below the surface are simply acting as drag-producing anchors, while feet that kick and splash above the surface are wasting too much time kicking in the air. We all know that the air produces no resistance, so this is wasted energy. Think about making tiny bubbles with the feet as you kick. While triathletes should not be wasting precious muscle glycogen stores in the legs during the swim portion of the race, a low-medium effort kick will be enough to keep those foot-anchors up.
Swim Faster #4 - Hide Head:
If you are in a proper downhill swimming position, just a sliver of the head will show against the water. As you practice ³Press Lung², a natural consequence should be that the head ³hides² below the water. If your head/torso unit is high, your feet will drop. Once again, buoyancy is a crucial key to efficient swimming.
*Please come back for part 2 tomorrow
Ben Greenfield has been coaching athletes for over a decade.
If you found these swimming faster tips and cues helpful, then be sure to check out http://www.rockstartriathleteacademy.com, where there's even more practical tips just like this, along with videos, audios, forums, and more!