Core Strength: How It Helps Your Swimming
You may have heard your coach tell you to tighten or squeeze your core muscles while you’re swimming. Maybe you hear this at every meet, or whenever you do a certain stroke in practice, but what exactly does it mean to ‘engage your core’ when you swim?
The ‘core muscles’ as they are commonly referred as, are the muscles situated near the ‘center’ of your body, your abdominal, lower back, hips, ect. Essentially the muscle groups centered within your torso. As you swim, it is important to not only rely upon the strength of your limbs for propulsion in the water, but to use your core muscles as a sort of base that your pull and kick extend outwards from. Doing this provides balance and stability in the water as you swim, which can improve body position in the water, not only reducing drag and wasted energy, but also boosting the strength of your stroke and kick, allowing you to have better propulsion in the water with less effort than without utilizing those core muscles.
Here’s what it should feel like when you engage your core:
Take a deep breath and slowly exhale As you are breathing out lean your shoulders slightly forward and flex your stomach muscles to make it feel like you’re bracing your core Your stomach should feel firm to the touch, and you should feel the surrounding muscles tensing as well Remember to breathe while your core is engaged Doing this effectively can take practice.