How to Improve Swimming Stroke

A swimmer should be knowledgeable enough when it comes to the right position of hands, fingers and arms throughout the stroke. Injuries of the shoulder are often caused by a swimmer entering his or her hand into the water too far or too close to the so call “midline of the body”.

 

Swimming Stroke

 

Postures such as Downward Dog in yoga is a big help in improving one’s stroke, because it teaches the shoulders to properly support the body. By practicing the posture, a swimmer will know at what angles their shoulder hurts. In addition to that, another integral part in stroke technique is the proper rotation about the spine, while still using the arms to paddle through the water.

Downward Dog – while lifting one leg to the sky – is another pose that, if practiced correctly, will teach you to elongate the arm opposite the lifted leg, thereby strengthen the trunk and spine. This is the same position that is needed through the rotation of a free style stroke.

When doing this in the water, your position will make the stroke more efficient, and will also help in endurance, since a fuller breath can be taken. Furthermore, fatigue is lessened, since energy is not wasted due to inefficient breathing and poor stroke technique.

Reduce Post Workout Stiffness

Yoga postures focus on the suppleness of the spine, which helps in reducing stiffness in the spine. Excessive stiffness can be because of a number of reasons, especially faulty alignment of the body, and poor balance. Endurance training only worsens the stiffness of the vertebral column thus shortening the ligaments. Think of someone training for an Ironman who cycles near 250 miles, and runs 30 miles, or who swims 4miles each week.

Unfortunately, it is not enough to simply exercise for hours to loosen the spine. The three movements involved in triathlon:  swimming, biking and running are all linear motions. Swimming involves a greater range of motion than biking and running.  However, it still remains as a linear motion. The strokes involved do not provide the stretch, twist, bend and elongation that is necessary for the suppleness of the spine.

Proper breathing

Just like any other sports, proper breathing is essential during an athletic performance. There are many misconceptions with breathing and, one of the wrong common beliefs is that breathing harder and faster will help in getting more oxygen into the blood, thus generating the energy needed in sustaining the physical activity.

If you are out of breath, it is not because you are not breathing in enough but rather, it is because you are not breathing out enough. The reason why this happens is because ordinary breathing squeezes out very little volume of air from the apex of the lungs, leaving the base of the lungs almost inactive.

In yoga, proper and efficient breathing allows an athlete to experience a new level, and explore deep laces within them through their practice. Similarly in triathlon, if the athlete incorporates proper breathing techniques, he or she will discover new secrets in athletic practice and lead them to becoming more efficient athletes.

Proper Relaxation

There are a lot of people who practice yoga for relaxation purposes. Whatever is learned not only aids in everyday life but, also, in improving athletic performance. Relaxation is also essential for efficiency, recovery and rejuvenation of an athlete.

Sufficient rest is needed by any athlete to recover and become stronger. Tight muscles, emotional fatigue, and other detrimental effects are caused by too much training without enough rest. Relaxation can be done by taking a day off training or by a 30 minute meditation session or a nap.

Overall, yoga allows us to learn how to act, rather than be acted upon. We get control of our internal environment through a proper diet, proper mental state [through meditation], and relaxation. Proper posture, together with breathing and relaxation, will work hand in hand with proper diet and meditation/ positive thinking, and allow anyone to achieve more as a yogi and consequently, as a triathlete.

Yoga opens the doors and allows one the ability to fulfill and/or achieve his or her full potential.

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