Friday, December 23, 2016
Experiment With Rotating *Less* When You Breathe
The correct amount of rotation in the freestyle stroke is 45-60 degrees through the shoulders and hips:
Here's Brad doing just that:
Unless you’ve been heavily focusing on rotation in your stroke (e.g. trying to “swim on your side like a fish”) it’s unlikely you’ll be rotating much more than 45 degrees, at least on a normal stroke.
However, breathing tends to drive more rotation into that stroke making it much more likely you’ll be over-rotating (to beyond 60 degrees) when breathing. Here's Brad again rotating out to 76 degrees when breathing:
The problem rotating this far is that it causes you to lose balance such that the legs scissor apart creating a lot of drag:
Over-rotating also harms your stroke rhythm and is likely to cause the arm to swoop across the centre line under you body causing you to snake down the pool.
Try Rotating Less
So the next time you swim run a little bit of an experiment and focus on rotating slightly less than normal when you go to breathe. Become aware of what your shoulders and hips are doing on breathing and non-breathing strokes, and try and keep the amount of roll about the same.
Since rotating further takes longer you might notice your breathing stroke takes less time and that your stroke rhythm becomes more consistent on breathing and non-breathing strokes. That’s a sign
that over-rotation when breathing is an issue for you and is something to address in your stroke.
If you only ever breathe to one side when you swim (unilateral breathing) then over-rotation is even more likely to have developed in your stroke. If you feel the benefits from reducing your rotation when breathing then make introducing bilateral breathing every 3 strokes a priority to help balance out your stroke.
As we outlined in our previous blog post here, you may notice that rotating less far to breathe means you have less time to inhale such that it should feel like you're just getting a 'sneaky' breath between strokes. That's how good breathing technique should feel: a long smooth exhalation into the water and then a sneaky breath in.
Here’s wishing you a huge Merry Christmas from everyone at Swim Smooth! Enjoy a well deserved break over the holiday season, don't eat too much Christmas pudding and come back strong in 2017!