Struggling to swim faster for longer? Get lower back pains from swimming? Want to improve your technique and swim more efficient? Core training can be the answer to it all. There is no better time than now to work on your core strength. And to fully convince you, we have some reasons why a strong core makes you a better swimmer.
Core vs Abs
Let’s get this one out of the way. There definitely is a difference between your core and your abs. They are not one and the same. Abs are your abdominal muscles, or your six pack. Your core is so much more. The core also includes your pelvis, hips, lower back, and oh wait, also your abs. Just working on your six pack will therefore not help your core in the long run.
So why is your core so important for swimming?
1. Body position improvement
The goal of any swimmer is to reduce their drag. We do this primarily by having a kick-ass body position and lying as high on the water as possible. A strong core will make it possible to achieve this body position in the water and to maintain it longer. A strong core stiffens the body from head to toes and makes the body more like a stiff kick board than a sagging towel in the water.
Dropping the body in the water exposes us to a lot of frontal drag which is much more tiring, we can assure you, than training your core on a regular basis. The core is a muscle group that resides under the oblique muscle group and wraps around the spine to stabilise the trunk. Its official name is Transverse abdominis or TA.
2. Stronger core = more control
If you watch elite swimmers, you will notice two things. One, they look very relaxed in the water. And two; they look very stable. They have their stroke under control. That control comes from a strong core. The core stabalises them in the water and allows them to rotate through their longitudinal axis without moving from side to side. A strong core controls and manages the bodies rotation which reduces sideways movement decreasing frontal drag considerably, allowing one to swim longer and better.
Learning to control one’s body in the water is paramount in swimming. It’s all about control, whether it’s your core, breathing or pacing. Control is key in swimming.
3. All about that stability
As mentioned above, the stronger the core, the stiffer and more stable our bodies become in the water. The core muscle group is not a flashy or sexy muscle group. As explained earlier, a strong core is not just having a six pack and so partially remains hidden under muscles and skin and cannot fully be seen on the outside.
However, the stability won by a strong core is key to swimming better. It enables us to move through the water as one solid piece and not in stages, like an accordion. By improving your stability in the water, you will be able to increase your body control and awareness, which will greatly improve your swimming technique.
4. Injury prevention by core
That lower back pain and stiffness are problems that can come with a weak core as we are arching our back as we swim, also called ‘hanging’ in our lower back. This arch is problematic for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, it disturbs a good body position. Second, it means that the power transference from the legs stops in the lower back, instead of pushing us forward. And finally, it places unnecessary strain on the shoulders and neck which may result in injury as the meters pile up.
The core to become a better swimmer is, well – the core. It’s easy to train your core in small confirmed spaces. Need inspiration? Watch the core workout video above and look through our blogs on SwimGym.com!