Swimming blog - It's time to improve your body position

Have you ever pulled a kickboard through the water in any other way than flat? You’ll immediately notice what a tiny angle does to the resistance. If a small kickboard creates that kind of resistance, imagine how much resistance a human body experiences when it’s not in a horizontal position. Getting out of position will definitely drag you down. Here is what you should do about it. 

Before diving into the theory we would love to put a spotlight unto one of our favorite online courses: the body position course. It’s fastest and most effective way to improve your body position. Now let’s resume the story. 

Your legs will always be the first to sink. Legs are mostly built out of muscle and bone, which is less buoyant than fat. Your upper body on the other hand will float because your lungs contain air which helps keep your thorax afloat while your legs are sinking. 

The amount of sinking however, depends on how fat is distributed in the body. Fat distribution is different for men and woman, and this is why you see different floating abilities between genders. Women store most of their fat in the hips and men more around the belly which means that men are more unbalanced in the water and their legs are more likely to sink. 

Luckily you can influence your body position in the water to minimize drag. You can learn to lift your legs to lie as flat as possible on the water, which will be a great step towards swimming more efficiently. 

The first step to finding your balance in the water and improving your body position is to find your natural floating position and see how much the legs sink. From what we just said above, it may be a little or a lot, remember, each person and their body type is different and certainly no one size fits all. Floating outstretched on the water is a great way to get good feedback on our ability to float and balance. We have a few great ways to do that, like some of our floating drills. 

Next up is your head. A neutral head position creates a favourable body position. A neutral position is where the head is floating on the water and you are looking down into the water. Just play around with your head positioning. It’s like the steering wheel of the legs. The deeper you place the head, the more the legs will come up. If your legs are still sinking most likely you’re not placing your head deep enough.
Looking up while swimming will produce the opposite effect. This puts undue pressure on the spine and sinks the legs. For the same reason it is important not to lift your head up out of the water but use split-screen breathing.

Core tension is also very important to maintain balance and body position. 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 every time from the wall in a streamline position and stretch through the torso while swimming. Don’t underestimate the positive effect streamlining can have on your body position. 

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 balance and posture and this is why it is so popular at SwimGym.