The way you hold yourself and your alignment in the water has a significant impact on your swimming experience. If you get it right, you’ll be able to move more efficiently, reduce your drag, and reduce your chances of injuring yourself. For those whose posture in the water could use some work, there are a few different exercises you can try.
This exercise lets you work on developing a balanced kick and your overall positioning in the water. It helps you keep your spine straight and your hips and shoulders parallel. To do this exercise, pick a side and swim with that arm extended, hovering about 3-4 inches below the water and keep it pointed in the direction you want to go. Keep your other arm by your side. Twist your body so that you are facing away from the side of the arm you have extended (if you extend the left arm, face your right side, or vice versa).
Rotator kicks encourage you to keep your core engaged. For this exercise, keep your arms at your side while you swim. Start facing down, and then use your hips to roll 90 degrees to one side after six kicks. Lead with your hips, not your shoulders. After six kicks on your side (which is also your opportunity to breathe), rotate back to face down. Alternate the sides you roll to. By keeping your core engaged during this exercise, you keep your hips up. This makes it easier to both rotate and breathe.
You don’t have to be in the pool to work on improving your posture in the water. Pallof presses can help too. To do a Pallof press, you’ll need a cable machine. Grab the cable and step away from the machine. Turn 90 degrees so one of your shoulders is pointed at the anchor point. Hold your elbows close to your sides, bent at a 90 degree angle. Your hands should be close to your stomach or solar plexus. From here, push your hands away from your body while holding the cable, and then return them to their starting position. You should feel the machine pull you sideways. Resisting the pull and pushing your hands out straight instead is the whole point of the exercise. Be sure to do it on both sides so you can stay balanced.
There’s more to getting better at swimming than just hopping in the pool and taking off. Improvement takes work and deliberate practice. Use different exercises both in and out of the pool to make targeted improvements in different areas. You’ll be a better swimmer before you even know it.
Want to improve your endurance swimming? Read this next: Best Exercises for Endurance Swimming.