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Proper body balance can improve your efficiency in the water
Finding the right balance in the water is one of the most important, yet underrated, aspects of swimming. Although we constantly focus on elements such as technique and strength, efficiency in the water through proper body balance may actually be the easiest and smartest way to improve your stroke. Quite simply, you can have the best technique in the pool or be the strongest person on deck, but if you can’t find a way to be efficient in the water through proper body balance, then you’ll never be able to reach your full potential.
Watch the Best
When you watch some of the best swimmers in the world, one thing you likely notice is how high they ride in the water. Michael Phelps, Janet Evans, Anthony Ervin, Matt Biondi, Katie Ledecky all have one major thing in common: They float high on the surface of the water. Notice how much of these swimmers’ bodies you can see as they move through a race. By sitting high on the water, these athletes are able to maximize the efficiency of their stroke and decrease drag.
Stu Kahn, Matt Biondi’s legendary coach, is the head coach of one of the largest Masters teams in the country: Davis Aquatics Masters. His swimmers range from beginners to lifelong swimmers, but he says that regardless of ability, it all begins with body balance.
“Because most Masters swimmers didn’t swim as kids, they need, first and foremost, to learn proper body position,” Kahn says. “I use the FINIS Posture Trainer on nearly every new swimmer we get.”
Coach Kerry O’Brien of Walnut Creek Masters is famous for his techniques in teaching people of all different ages how to swim. And the basis of that technique is focusing on proper body position.
“Body posture is the true weight scale of stroke mechanics—only when properly balanced can one truly measure one’s strengths and weaknesses,” O’Brien says. “I use the FINIS Swimmer’s Snorkel because it allows the swimmer to take their time and focus on perfecting their body balance.”
How Can FINIS Help?
Our mission at FINIS is to simplify swimming through technical development, high-quality products, and a commitment to education. As the worldwide leader in technical swimming development, we pride ourselves on creating products that truly simplify swimming. These FINIS products can help you improve your body balance in the water:
The Axis Buoy takes a modern twist on a traditional product. The dual-function design of the Axis Buoy improves body position while building upper-body strength and engaging the core muscles. With ergonomic keyholes and a contoured design, the Axis Buoy can function as both an ankle float and a leg buoy. The lightweight EVA foam is lightly textured for a more secure grip and allows swimmers to easily transfer the buoy between ankles and legs. Because the buoy moves the center of balance down to the ankles, swimmers are forced to activate their core consistently while swimming.
The Posture Trainer is one of the best immediate feedback tools a swimmer can use. It promotes correct head and spine alignment, which is critical to an efficient swim stroke. When secured to the back center of the head, the device should be undetectable until the swimmer exceeds the recommended posture range. Keeping the head in the proper position throughout the entire swimming motion corrects spinal alignment, which elevates the hips, leading to a decrease in drag and an increase in kick propulsion.
Every swimmer should own a Swimmer’s Snorkel. The Swimmer’s Snorkel allows swimmers to focus on stroke technique without the interruption of turning the head to breathe. The center-mount design accommodates a full range of motion and eliminates the need to turn the head to breathe. This allows swimmers to relax in the water, maintain body alignment, and improve stroke efficiency. By eliminating the rotation of the head, the spine stays in a stable position to increase each stroke’s efficiency.