Swimming is one of the most soothing exercises there is to do. It is also one of the most efficient workouts in term of burning calories and fat. But what’s the point of sports if you are not competitive enough, right? Even though swimming is fun, it doesn’t mean we can’t try and be a little faster. On that note, here’re the ten simple to help you swim faster:
1Decrease the Drag
First of all – What is a drag? Drag is your body’s resistance against water. And that obviously slows the swimmer down. So it is important to focus on decreasing the drag and not just try to force your way through the water as soon as possible.
There are a few ways to reduce the drag (Unfortunately we do not have F1’s Drag Reduction System (DRS) in swimming). Two best ways to do so is improving the balance or swimming taller. What are those two things?
2Improving the balance
It is essential to keep as horizontal position as possible during swimming in order to improve your balance. The simple way to achieve that is by keeping your legs straight and making sure they do not bend at any time. By doing so, the amount of water that gets in your way reduces, thus reducing the drag.
The horizontal position is most important for freestyle swimming where the swimmer has to make sure he/she does not lift their heads too much. Raising the heads disrupts the swimmer’s balance, forcing them to kick harder to compensate for that.
This one is a no brainer, just ask Michael Phelps. But what exactly does swimming taller mean? It’s not like we can increase our height.
No, we can’t. But what we can do is make sure our hands and legs are being efficiently used. To do so, it is crucial to keep your legs as stretched and as straight as possible during swimming. And it is vital to stretch your hands as further as possible before it goes in the water. This way, not only are you reducing the drag but also covering more distance in one act. Just think of it as taking long steps while walking.
It is important to keep your kicks shallow during swimming. While more forceful and deeper kicks will splash more water, making you believe you are speeding up, but that is nowhere near the truth. But in fact, more shallow and straighter the kicks the faster you go.
One thing every swimmer should know is that just 10% of his/her speed comes from legs. The rest 90% speed comes from the movement of the swimmer’s arms. So it is important to use your hands smartly in order to try and propel harder.
6Use your sides
Make sure you use your back muscles and shoulder strength by rolling from side to side during swimming. Although it is not a straight-forward task to master, one can get there with proper training and practice. By using your sides, you can get more command or your speed and strength.
7Using Core Muscles
The back, hip, abs abdomen and torso muscles make the core of our body. It is essential to use these muscles while you are rolling from side to side. Although these core muscles are difficult to use, keeping the body straight and putting more emphasis on them instead of just legs and arms will help you increase the speed.
8Anchoring the arms
Before you try to push your body through the water, it is important to make sure the hand and forearm are aligned and facing backwards. This will help you use your arms like a paddle through the water. It is also important to keeps elbows above your heads in order to properly anchor your arms.
9Spreading the fingers
Not the first thing that comes to your mind when you are swimming, right? But fingers do play a considerable role in swimming. Want to know how? Try this experiment. Keep your fingers together and try to force them on the water surface. Now do the same by spreading the fingers a little. Answer – Palms will quickly enter the water when your fingers are spread. This is because you are not resisting the water surface when your fingers are spread.
Using the same technique can help you exert 53% more force during swimming. This doesn’t give you a very massive advantage for swimming but certainly helps you in putting more power with little fewer efforts.
10Neutral Head Position
It is very crucial to keep your head centralised during swimming. This is important for two reasons – Swimming in the given direction and reducing the drag. The head should be such that you will be looking down and not up or forward. With the head down, the body keeps its horizontal shape, which helps the balance and thus the drag reduction – See, our very own DRS!