Since water is around 800 times denser than air, your body position should be as high and horizontal as possible in the water to reduce your resistance. Some most asked questions are why our bodies or legs sink in the water? How can you improve your body position? We’ve got the answers for you.
WHY DOES MY BODY SINK WHEN I SWIM?
Heavy muscles sink. Our legs are mostly muscle and bone. They are less buoyant than fat. Fat contains water and oil and is less dense and therefore floats well. Also your upper body will float better and for longer because your lungs contain air which helps keep your thorax afloat whereas your legs will be the first to sink.
Centre of gravity
Also the centre of gravity is different in men and women and this is why we also see different levels of body position proficiency between men and women. Women’s centre of gravity is in their hips and men’s a little higher up in the navel which means that men are more unbalanced in the water and their legs are more likely to sink. That is why a lot of good male swimmers look disproportionate; they have a longer torso and shorter legs.
So really body position is about balancing our bodies in the water to minimise form drag. If we can learn to balance our legs and torso so we lie as flat as possible on the water, then we have achieved a great step towards swimming more efficiently.
HOW DO I IMPROVE MY BODY POSITION?
Your head position helps to determine your body position and so like in life, your head is pretty important. It is important not to lift your head up out of the water when breathing as this pushes your hips down in the water and if you have ‘sinky’ legs, it will just make it worse. It’s best to swim with a head position that’s as fixed as possible. You should not be staring straight ahead when you swim. Your neck should be relaxed, not tense, and your gaze should be downward. When you inhale, the water line will hit at the halfway point of your bottom eye.
The amount of core tension that we are able to create in our body will support our swimming state. Streamlining and stretching through the core helps to create and teach our bodies to apply this tension. This is why it is very important to push off from the wall in a streamline position and stretch through the torso while swimming. Don’t under estimate the effect streamlining can have on your swimming.
And lastly we mustn’t forget kicking. Kicking is great for improving our body position because it activates and strengthens the core muscles and helps us to balance our centre of gravity so that we lie flatter in the water. Always incorporate kicking into your swimming as a great way to improve your line, balance and posture.
Keep working hard and use drills to break down your stroke and work on your body positioning. Our Body Position Course is a great way to get started.