Propulsive efforts tiring you out?
The word Propel is defined as to drive or push something forwards.
We are hard wired to pull on our limbs, to pull and kick to move us forwards. The energy waste that is created during this limb churning means we can’t always move forwards for very long without needing a rest. Energy is wasted moving water around rather than moving through the water.
Propulsion is often where we think we need to improve, but effort applied here can translate into unnecessary wasted effort. It is important to remember that you cannot provide power from an unbalanced and unstable platform.
Balance, stability, drag reduction and our ability to fuel ourselves with efficient and easy breathing are our first and on-going priorities.
No matter your level of swimming we are never far away from these essential fundamentals of swimming. Along with stroke timing issues, these fundamentals will give you far greater gains in efficiency and economy of movement than trying to apply power and put in greater effort during a swim.
To apply any strategic pressure on the water with your hand and forearm (NB: the word press within ‘pressure’, we should not think pull), you need to have your arm in the most advantageous position. This is first addressed by the foundational skills of balance, stability and stroke timing.
To apply any strategic pressure on the water with your legs, they need to connect to our most economical source of power, the weight shift, to do this you need to have your body and legs well-connected and in the most advantageous position. This is first addressed by the foundational skills of balance, stability and stroke timing.
We are greater than the sum of our parts, co-ordinated whole body propulsion comes from our core, our centre. To pull and kick with our limbs is tiring and in-effective. Time spent organising our body and limbs to work as levers and pivots that connect to the weight shift and channel energy forwards is a worthwhile game changer. To set the body up to swim this way….is first addressed by…you guessed it…the foundational skills of balance, stability and stroke timing.
We are a weight, a mass, trying to balance horizontally on the unstable medium of water. Our weight distribution needs to be addressed. Gravity no longer holds us down, we are unstable, our stability needs to be addressed.
Our limbs connect into our trunk, we are connected from our toes to fingers, understanding how to move as a connected seamless whole, rather than separate independent parts that push and pull against each other will change how you move THROUGH the water.
To watch any great swimmer they will demonstrate these essential fundamental structures.