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Swim Drills - The Key to Efficiency

By Karen Buxton - UltraFit.com

Now is the time to focus on technique to develop a more efficient swim stroke. Below is a list of drills to incorporate into your swim sessions.

These drills, which focus on pull, recovery and feel for the water, can be part of your warm-up or cool-down and if done consistently, definitely make a difference.

Single arm: Keep one arm in front while you stroke with the other. Think about reaching over a barrel bent elbow in the beginning to initiate a powerful pull.

Fist: Swim with your fingers closed into a fist. This drill helps promote elbow bending in the beginning of the pull.

Catch-up: This is an alternating single-arm drill. Wait for your hand to meet the other in front before pulling (touch and go) with the other arm. This drill works on your pull and rotation.

Finger-tip drag: On your recovery, drag you finger tips lightly across the water before entering for the next pull. This works on high elbow on the recovery.

Scull: On your stomach, with arms stretched out, place your palms together and thumbs up. Rotate hands so that thumbs are down and push water out just past shoulder width. Rotate hands to thumbs up and push water back in (almost a figure 8.) Feeling the water pressure with your hands and arms should move you forward in the pool. Keep your face in the water during the drill, raising your head to breathe while kicking.

Kicking to improve body position

The following drills not only help develop your kick, but improve your rotation and body position as well.

These dills are easily incorporated into your warm-up and cool down and should yield good results if done consistently. Remember, if good technique were easy to come by, everyone would have it.

Discipline yourself this winter to make these drills a part of your regular swim regimen.

Kick on side: Kick on your side with both arms at your side. Play with head position and see how that affects how your hips ride in the water. (Think "downhill" head pushing down and out and help your hips ride high).

Kick on side with rotation: Same as above, except after a six-beat kick, roll to your other side, initiating the rotation with your hips and core (the shoulders and upper body will follow).

Kick on side arm out: Lie on your side and kick a length of the pool with the bottom arm extended and the top arm at your side. Concentrate on feeling long.

Kick on side, arm out with rotation: Same as above except after a six beat kick take a pull and recover (one stroke cycle) and roll over to your other side. Lead the rotation with your hips, not your shoulders.

Karen Buxton coaches triathletes, duathletes, cyclists and runners and can be reached at kbuxton@ultrafit.com

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