Swimming leaving you exhausted?
Swimming can be overly tiring, even for fit individuals with good endurance levels. Sound familiar?
Water is an unstable medium and needs to be approached differently to how we move and exercise on land.
Our energies are best spent addressing and reducing the main causes of energy waste, if you want to see real improvement anything else is simply a waste of energy.
THE SIX MAIN CAUSES OF ENERGY WASTE
- Humans are heavier than water
A human body achieves equilibrium with only 5% of the body above the surface. Our Primal instinct is to lift our head, this causes the legs to sink and your strokes are more for survival, this has an emotional costs as well as physical. Our Head is 8% of body mass and it’s position in the water directly impacts the rest of the body.
- We’re unbalanced
We are designed for vertical balance on firm ground, where gravity keeps us firmly on the ground. A hollow upper torso, which holds 6 litres of air, our hips and legs are densely packed with bone and muscle. As we swim gravity pulls down our lower body, while buoyancy pushes up our lungs. Changes in weight distribution are essential to achieving a balanced, near sense of weightlessness in the water.
- We’re unstable
Maintaining stability while stroking and breathing are exceptionally rare. Feelings of instability can induce a sense of panic. Instability is further magnified when we lift parts of our body from the water. Sensing instability the body is only capable of steadying actions, these actions will not contribute to balance, streamlining or propulsion.
- Water is a wall
Water is nearly 1000x denser than air, drag will simply sap your energy. Water resistance increases as we move faster, eg 5% faster increases drag by 25% (100m 2:00 down to 1:54). Swimming a little faster takes a lot more effort. ALL actions should be to reduce resistance.
- Moving parts
Aquatic mammals have a UNIBODY, they can maintain an unchanging streamlined shape. Humans have many moving parts, we change shape constantly, increasing drag. Vessel shaping, dramatically increases the distance you travel per stroke, this allows for fewer shape changes. Cut 25m stroke count from 25 – 20 = 25% fewer shape changes, reducing drag further.
- Breathing is a skill
Choking is a primal fear, so breathing to new swimmers can make them feel anxious and panicked. It is rare for a skilled swimmeret exhibit seamless breathing, many still have survival habits that will negatively impact on their balance and stability, even among elite swimmers. This will cause a moment of deceleration in every breathing cycle.
A swimmers priority is to REDUCE drag and eliminate those skills that cause drag. Our goal is to conserve momentum and move THROUGH the water, we do not want to move the water around.
Always aim to be:-
BALANCED – well supported, even weightless
LONG – you travel more than the length of your body right and left
SLIPPERY – low drag profile while stroking and breathing
INTEGRATED – swimming with your whole body
RELAXED – never strained, even while swimming at pace
By addressing these universal problems and taking away the moment of deceleration, we strive for perpetual motion.