Have you ever noticed those swimmers that just seem to drive every stroke with so much power, causing them to glide through the water. As you might already know, in swimming the propulsion comes mostly from your pull. However the propulsion could be enhanced even more by the rotation of the body. And that's exactly why those swimmers are producing such powerful strokes. The powerful strokes they produce takes work, and if you aren’t interested in putting in the work to improve your rotation, then that's your loss. However if you are willing to put in the work, then read along to understand how it works and how to incorporate it into your future sessions.
A well timed and executed body rotation has the ability to increase propulsion tremendously when swimming freestyle or backstroke. Body rotation by itself produces no propulsion whatsoever, however when connected to the propulsive forces it will make them extra powerful. A baseball player for instance rotates the body and swings the hips forwards to hit the ball with more power. Motion in one part of the body is carried over to other parts of the body. The same holds true for swimming. The rotation of the body during each pull-through puts the body into motion and drives the force that is carried out with each pull. The faster the body rotation, the greater the drive, and the stronger the pull-through.
How it works
To improve your body rotation, you should initiate the motion with the hips and rotate the shoulders, torso and hips all together as one. The entire body rotates up to 45 to 60 degrees to the side, while keeping your head neutral and still. You have to start the rotation when one hand enters the water and when your other hand starts the push-off. During this rotation you should keep your core tight to keep the shoulder, torso and hips connected as one for it to drive the push-off. Execute this correctly, and it will increase your power significantly, however there is a price to pay: hard work.
Putting it to work
Body rotation makes us swim faster, however not everybody makes use of it due to the fact that it requires work. It’s much easier to swim without the rotation force, however you’ll swim slower. To swim faster, you will have to put effort into the body rotation, but it must be coupled with the pull-through, to have the desired effect. The best way to master the body rotation is to incorporate specific drills and combine them in your swim session. At SwimGym we have many drills that will help you master the correct timing and the execution of this body rotation. The Body Roll and the Alternating Sidekick are just two examples. Use them in your upcoming sessions and just appreciate the feeling of flying through the water.
Written by Saskia Postma